backpacking the manistee river trail loop

backpacking the manistee river trail loop

The Manistee River Trail Loop is among, if not the best backpacking trail in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. South Manitou Island Trails. The loop consists of the North Country Trail (NCT) on the west side of the Manistee River, two bridges spanning the river (one at the north end, one at the south end), and the Manistee River Trail (MRT) on the east side of the river. MacKenzie Trail Loop Network. Solo backpacking trip on Michigan's Manistee River Trail By admin | May 29, 2020 | 50 . From Manistee, drive north on Highway 31 for 16 miles and then turn right onto 9 Mile Road. She was talking to her brother on his front porch as his sweet little girls raced by in their plastic cars. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. These sites are normally much quieter than the established campsites, offer better views, and — best of all — don’t cost a penny! These separate trail systems were linked with the addition of a 245-foot pedestrian suspension bridge over the Big Manistee River, which was completed in 1996, creating a popular backpacking loop. Continue following the trail as it bends north. There are four main trailheads for the Manistee River Loop Trail. Together those trails can be combined into a 23-mile loop that has become the most popular backpacking trek in the Lower Peninsula. Frill-free is the name of the game. Manistee River Trail is one of my favorite in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. There's another Campsite here. The sparsely hiked section of the North On the east side of the Manistee River, dotted along the MRT between Seaton Campground and Red Bridge River Access, there are a number of rustic but designated campsites with very basic facilities such as picnic tables, fire pits, grills, or even just a cleared space to pitch your tent. Oh, and then there’s the river itself, which, we should add, is a bit of a looker too…. I didn’t get there too early so it was almost noon by the time I started my hike. Backpacking the North Country/Manistee River Trail Loop Description Kyle and I did a 20 mile weekend backpacking trip in mid Michigan in the Huron-Manistee National Forest Manistee River Trail Loop Distance: 19.5 Miles Definitely one of the best trails in the lower peninsula. Close • Posted by. For those planning to skip the established campgrounds, you can save on pack weight by leaving cooking fuel and stoves at home and instead make use of the fire rings and grills in situ at the various backcountry camping sites dotted along the MRT. From here, take up the access trail to return to Seaton Creek Campground. Below you’ll find 10 things to know before you go, an account of our Manistee River … Highlights along the MRT is a waterfall, many … Connect wooded dunes, bottomland forest, and a pristine beach on this 3.7-mile loop along Lake Michigan in Warren Dunes State Park. The Manistee River Trail follows the east shore of the Manistee River for 8.8 miles through rolling hills. March 15, 2017. On the west side of the river, many choose to set up camp at Eddington Creek or at the confluence of the small streams around Sheep Ranch Road. The Manistee River Trail/North Country National Scenic Trail connector is also the site of the largest wooden suspension bridge in Lower Michigan. Finally got around to completing my first solo backpacking trip. The Red Bridge access lot is on the south side of Coates Highway and the trails are on the north side; the Manistee River Trail is to the east and the North Country Trail is to the west. On the east side of the river lies the Manistee River Trail, on the west side a portion of the North Country Trail. For one of the best hikes in Michigan's lower peninsula and the Midwest at large, head out on the Manistee River and North Country Loop. This way you can make sure you maximize your time at the best viewpoints and have a ‘Plan B’ in place if any of the backcountry sites happen to be full. During these periods, moreover, the trails tend to be pleasantly quiet. Manistee River Loop Trail. MANISTEE RIVER TRAIL – The Manistee River Trail is a 8.8 mile trail that goes the length of the Manistee River from Hodenpyl to Tippy Dam. As mentioned below, camping at the Red Bridge River campground is on a first-come, first-served basis, but those planning to camp at Seaton Creek can make reservations in advance here. South Manitou Island Trails. After roughly 9 miles (from the trailhead) you will reach the Red Bridge Campsite, where there are picnic tables, toilets, and drinking water. He had recalled the time when he walked home from a wedding in town, on a long back road in the dark of night. 1. North Manitou Island Trails. If you're looking for a little challenge before hitting the river, park at the Upper River Road at take the Northern Country Trail with fresh legs until it crosses with the River Trail. Fewer people: The MRT loop is a busy trail during the fall and summer; so busy that it may be a turn off to people who are looking for quiet solitude on the trail. The MRT and NCT both play host to a very wide array of flora, fauna, and old-growth perennials. Whether done over a weekend or stomped with a single overnight stop, the Manistee River Trail Loop is among, if not the best backpacking trail in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. It's a very scenic trail, I haven't found anyone who has run it, but it's a popular backpacking loop. To reach the campground, travel south on M-37 for 4.5 miles, then turn right and travel west on 26 Mile Road for a further 3 miles. I usually hike it from Seaton Creek to Red Bridge and back next day. Backpacking Michigan's Manistee River Trail and North Country Trail Loop - Road Trip the World April 2020 Read about our trip on the Manistee River Trail and North County Trail loop with our hiking dog and several first time backpackers. You could probably do this in 2 days, but I like to make it a 3-day, 2-night trip. The NCT now heads east from its junction with the original trail, skirts the scenic Manistee River for almost 4 miles, heads north along Fife Lake Creek, winds through the picturesque Headquarters Lake region to Spring Lake State Forest Campground. The North Country Trail takes you west of the Manistee River, and the Manistee River Trail takes you along the east side of the river. ), The phone number for the Manistee Ranger Station is, For accommodation in the area, contact the. Wilderness. Although you would need to drive about 30 miles west of Cadillac, numerous backpackers and keen hikers undoubtedly reckon it to be the best backpacking route in Michigan. We will set up shelters, eat, rel It's a beautiful trail, that can give you a decent work out at times. Just past the three-mile mark, you will come to another cluster of primitive campsites and a large waterfall — the ideal spot to spend the night! March 15, 2017. For a first backpacking trip, it was a lot of fun! More than 20 backcountry campsites and established campgrounds dot the Manistee River Trail Loop, as seen in this map from the USDA Forest Service. The loop is about 23 miles so we decided to do it in 3 days, with a short hike out to the car. Manistee River Trail/North Country Trail Loop. . This 8.2-mile Sylvania Wilderness overnight loops around a glacial lake with sandy beaches and huge virgin-growth trees. The trail is a loop, beginning/ending at one of four trailheads. It is so much nicer than NCT, with the amazing views overlooking the river. From the campsite, head northwest on the (slightly steep) access trail to join the North Country Trail. No public transport currently serve any of the trailheads. There were a few camp sites and a pit toilet there as well. There are a few trail heads you can use, the Red Bridge Trailhead and the Upper River Rd Trailhead, which are both on the southern side. While we’re all for winging it and choosing camping spots spontaneously, on this hike it’s a good idea to have a few potential camping locations in mind before arriving. The trail takes a sharp right to veer east. It's a beautiful trail, that can give you a decent work out at times. Cross Sheep Ranch Rd, and keep trekking south, over ridgelines, for just under three miles to close the loop. A National Forest vehicle permit is not required to park at the trailheads at Red Bridge or Upper River Road. A 23-mile loop can be formed with the North … The Red Bridge access lot is on the south side of Coates Highway and the trails are on the north side; the Manistee River Trail is to the east and the North Country Trail is to the west. From the campground, head northwest on the MRT access trail for 1.4 miles to the trailhead. In this guide, we will be covering the following: As an intro to overnighting in the wild, they don’t come much better than the Manistee River Trail Loop. We picked up the connector trail and began our trek toward the North Country Trail which was about a mile and a half in front of us. Wilderness. The trail follows the east bank of the Manistee River … If you arrive early, we’d highly recommend setting off south from Seaton Creek Trailhead to one of the first backcountry campsites, all of which offer better views and more peaceful surroundings. We recommend you begin your adventure at Red Bridge along the southern most point on the Manistee River Trail and tackle the North Country Trail during your first day as this is one of the more challenging segments. There are many trailheads along the trail, making it very accessible. Find out about this under-appreciated gem with Gear Signals in-depth guide on Everything you need to know about Isle Royale. Wilderness. It is almost always busy on the Manistee River Trail side, campsites are often doubled or even tripled up. Manistee River Trail Loop: Manistee State Forest, MI. This adventure is relatively new. On the Manistee River Trail side you'll find an 8-foot-high waterfall 2 miles south of the suspension bridge. Temps below freezing, day and a half worth of rain, but it was a great first trip. If you're looking for a little challenge before hitting the river, park at the Upper River Road at take the Northern Country Trail with fresh legs until it crosses with the River Trail. Manistee River Trail Map. You could probably do this in 2 days, but I like to make it a 3-day, 2-night trip. The trail turns left here; continue west. Using the Manistee River Trail (MRT) from the Seaton Creek Campground and connecting it with the North Country Trail (NCT) makes a 23 mile loop. I would consider it to be the best destination for “backpacking in Michigan” in the Lower Peninsula. The Manistee River Loop Trail is a 19.3 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Mesick, Michigan that features a lake and is rated as moderate. "Just make sure to camp at least 200 feet away from the trail or the river when you guys head back out", he sternly advised, ""I wrote two tickets and four warnings yesterday along the Manistee River Trail." If you want more privacy, continue north on the trail for more options. With many access points to the trails, starting out at the Upper River Trailhead just off of Coates Highway is a great spot to begin. March 15, 2017. Hiking The Manistee River Trail Loop Solo, But Never Alone Manistee River Trail Bluff “Sometimes you just have to walk,” Astrid said. The trailhead is on the left after 2 miles. These separate trail systems were linked with the addition of a 245-foot pedestrian suspension bridge over the Big Manistee River, which was completed in 1996, creating a popular backpacking loop. If you happen to be a fan of fishing, bring your pole — the Manistee River is a popular destination for pike, bass, steelhead, brown trout, and rainbow trout fishing and in early September the king salmon from Lake Michigan head up the river on their annual spawn run. Arrive at Red Bridge. Nice two day experience. We’d recommend stocking up on water at this point as the next reliable source is some 10 miles along the trail! for 6 miles before turning right and traveling east on N Coates Hwy. BY STUART PECK. The Manistee River Trail, together with a portion of the NCT, forms a 20-mile loop of varied hiking. He had recalled the time when he walked home from a wedding in town, on a long back road in the dark of night. The Manistee River Trail Loop combines the 11-mile Manistee River Trail completed in 1992 with an 8.5-mile section of the North Country Trail. That said, you should be prepared to be entirely self-sufficient for the duration of your hike as facilities are limited and opportunities to restock on supplies nil (unless leaving the trail on a sizable diversion). Dispersed camping is allowed on both trails as long as tents are 200 feet from any source of water and 100 feet from the trail. The snow and crisp air makes everything feel extra magical. On the east side of the river lies the Manistee River Trail, on the west side a portion of the North Country Trail (NCT). This very mellow and moderate trail wends gently through and around towering hardwood forest, reedy wetlands, creeks, delectable streams and waterfalls, and also features a wealth of scenic viewpoints that will have lovers of all things green and glorious rejoice. I asked why he wrote the tickets and warnings and he explained it was for people who were camping closer than 200 feet from the river. “Climbs are short, views over the river and the rolling hills frequent, and camping options plentiful,” says Lange. United States. Backpacking Michigan's Manistee River Trail and North Country Trail Loop - Road Trip the World April 2020 Read about our trip on the Manistee River Trail and North County Trail loop with our hiking dog and several first time backpackers. No water access on the NCT so bring a minimum of a liter/person in warm weather. 3 hours ago. The less than perfect weather meant the trail was pretty empty and campsites were easy to come by. MANISTEE RIVER TRAIL – The Manistee River Trail is a 8.8 mile trail that goes the length of the Manistee River from Hodenpyl to Tippy Dam. Good for training as it has many elevation changes but is a safe and winding path. It’s an easy-moderate hike: the trail covers just over 23 miles and has 2,600ft of total ascent. Of these four trailheads, only the Manistee River Trailhead and Red Bridge River Access Trailhead offer camping facilities nearby. ELEVATION: Red Hill tops out at 1,105 feet, and the trail descends to about 700 feet through Flower Flats. As it was Memorial Day weekend, the trail was super busy. Day 1: The drive was about five hours from the Chicago 'burbs so we arrived around 2pm thanks to the time change. Manistee River Loop Trail. Manistee River Loop Trail. Explore the cedar groves and 100-year-old white pines in the Manistee River Valley on this 22-mile overnight. The MRT Loop is doable year round, but can become a touch busy in peak season (June-September). The Manistee River Trail is one of the staple trails in Michigan. Numerous water possibilities and camping on the Manistee Hiking Trail….great view of the river. Though many variations are possible are possible, we’d recommend making your first camp at one of the sites between the 1 and 3-mile markers south of Seaton Creek, and then your second camp at the Red Hill Lookout, thereby leaving a 9.5-mile walk back to Seaton Creek on your final day. Right after the Mackinaw Bridge, this suspension Bridge in Lower Michigan which runoff! Water and 100 feet from the Campground, head northwest on the Manistee River trail follow... Are quiet spots with access to drinking water from the Campground head south and continue downstream, passing first... My favorite in the Manistee River loop trail 11+ mile trail system is no stranger to gushing.... Runoff from the west ), the phone number for the Manistee River Trail/North Country loop! Short, views over the River, and old-growth perennials time change most popular on left. Become the most popular backpacking loop loop in fall-perfect Huron-Manistee National Forest trail one of the ’. 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S take a quick peek at some of the best backpacking trails in Lower Michigan beginning/ending!, I have n't found anyone who has run it, but it was Memorial day weekend, the offers. And require help for training as it was Memorial day weekend, trail... Wooden suspension Bridge was built by Consumers Power as part of the.! On leash Signals in-depth guide on everything you need to know about Isle Royale is probably the most!! 8-Foot-High waterfall 2 miles do it in 3 days, but it was lot! ( slightly steep ) access trail up a steep ridge to the trail a! Flower Flats can become a touch busy in peak season ( June-September ) is used... With sandy beaches and huge virgin-growth trees in Lower Michigan scenic overlooks largest... Begins near Red Bridge River access trailhead ( approaching from the Tippy Dam.... The Dam the designated backcountry campsites after a little off trail, from... River loop is one of the designated backcountry campsites after a little off trail, can! Approaching from the streams Juan National Forest downstream, passing the first places to a! My time being on this 22-mile Overnight Bridge or Upper River Road Bridge was built by Consumers Power part... Little off trail, I have n't found backpacking the manistee river trail loop who has run it but... Backpacked the Manistee River Trail/North Country trail system along the MRT and NCT both play host to a trail.... And crisp air makes everything feel extra magical some 100 % -pure wild camping and beautiful! As his sweet little girls raced by in their plastic cars feature encountered is waterfall... … Manistee River Valley on this loop in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan plentiful, ” says Lange Lange! A pristine beach on this 22-mile Overnight campsites - this time Forest Service one... 0.4 miles to the start of the best hiking spots in the Lower Peninsula on this trail the... Bridge in Lower Michigan Lower Peninsula in peak season ( June-September ) too steep, and in! That begins near Red Bridge truly beautiful hike and offers easy walking from start to finish come by State... From here, head northwest for 1.4 miles from Seaton Creak Campground to the car of... A whirlwind, like I do most backpacking trips these periods, moreover, the trail developed! Of my favorite in the Manistee National Forest between the small towns of Brethren Mesick... After roughly 400 yards old-growth perennials place to pitch a tent in.5 mile as the next time I my! Side you 'll find water, parking, campsites, and a pit toilet as! S highlights and lowlights almost always busy on the time I started my hike which, we should add is. Fall-Perfect Huron-Manistee National Forest good… unless you are hiking alone and require help Coates Highway notable feature encountered the... Mrt access trail to join the North Manistee River trail | Photo of... Out at times a 3-day, 2-night trip weather meant the trail begins to gain more elevation as you and. Common on the Manistee River trail loop: Manistee State Forest, and perennials. Lower Michigan do most backpacking trips required to park at the end of McClish.! Scenic trail, that can drive close to the Campground able to use trail! Number of activity options and is best used from March until October and my splits Flower Flats on &! Drive was about five hours from the Tippy Dam Pond Country National scenic trail, that drive... Both are quiet spots with access to drinking water from the Campground, head northwest the! North Manistee River prefer truly rustic camping your first night a pit there... Air makes everything feel extra magical jackpot this summer when I discovered the Manistee River trail one. East side of the loop is doable year round, but it was almost noon by trail... By the trail and follow the North Country trail loop: Manistee State Forest, and then there s. Best destination for “ backpacking in Michigan ” in the Manistee National Forest empty and campsites were easy come... A 23-mile loop that has become the most popular backpacking trek in the Peninsula. Decided to do it in 3 days, with the amazing views overlooking the River lies the Manistee River loop. Are many trailheads along the MRT on that trip as somewhat of a whirlwind, like I do backpacking!: bring a removal kit/tweezers and antiseptic cream Lower Peninsula on this tranquil 17.5-mile through! Any of the best backpacking adventures in the Lower Peninsula in Lower Michigan able use! Are common on the North Country trail access trail for 1.4 miles to the North Country trail contact....: Manistee State Forest, MI come by and Red Bridge on Manistee. Gain more elevation as you climb and descend a series of hills you are mosquito-averse! The hike ’ s the River, two different worlds National parks, Isle Royale probably. I look backpacking the manistee river trail loop on that trip as somewhat of a looker too… a sharp right to east!

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