Manistee River Trail w/NCT loop 

This is a scenic but surprisingly easy hike that skirts the river in the Manistee National Forest. A new footbridge across the river allows hikers to combine the trail with a segment of the North Country Trail to form a 20-mile loop and one of the best backpacking adventures in the Lower Peninsula.

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Author: Troop1032
Date: 5 Nov 2009 1:08:23 PM
Activity: Backpacking
State: Michigan (MI)
Distance: 16.58 mi  (Change units)
Survey Elevation: Total Gain: 2816 ft
Total Loss: 2713 ft
Net Change: 102 ft
Difficulty: 1 / 10
Tags: Brethren, Harrietta, Michigan, NCT, North Country Trail, Upper Manistee
Rating:   3 rating(s) Rate it

Located in a section of the Manistee National Forest with-in Manistee County; the Manistee River Trail is approx. twelve miles of pure hiking and camping enjoyment. Running along the east bank of the Upper Manistee River many exctitng and breath taking views will have you in awe and wonder the entire trip. While you hike you will experience many different and distinct forest types such as cedar swamps, hardwood stands, lush backwaters, wide fields and just about every Pine known in Michigan. Make sure to keep an eye out for the old White Pines that are over a hundred of years old.  As you make your way up and down the hillsides, crossing crystal clear creeks, keep an eye out for Whitetail Deer, Blue Heron and all the squirrels and birds your eye can catch!! What?!?, a waterfall in Michigan, come see if you can find what everyone asks about! 

One of the best features of the Manistee River Trail is the fact that it runs the east side of the river while the amazing North Country Trail dominates the west side making for one of the best backpacking loops, about twenty miles, in the state. The two trails are joined on the north end just shy of the Hodenpyl Dam by what is know as "The Little Mac".  This suspension bridge is by far one of the most amazing foot bridges of any hiking trail, a must see!!!  With many disperesed, rustic campsites vehicles are hard pressed to get into the area, this is a little piece of backpackers paridise. The Upper River Road Trailhead, located off of Coates Highway, west of the river and Red Bridge, along with the Marilla Rd. Trailhead to the north,  service the entire MRT - NCT loop perfectly. If a maintained rustic campground is your thing, no problem, check out the spur that runs out of Seaton Creek Campground for a great day hike oppertunity. With potable water at Seaton Creek CG and more at the Red Bridge CG, you can't go wrong making a day, night or even a weekend of this magnificent area and all it has to offer. Remember leave only footprints and take only memories and come see why we here at MRTA are so passionate about what our national forests have to offer.

Position Format: Datum:

North Country Trail

Distance: 7.26 mi Points: 135
Total Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Active Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Southbound Route from Suspension Bridge to Upper River Trailhead

Upper Manistee River Trail

Distance: 9.32 mi Points: 351
Total Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Active Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Northbound trailhead for NCT or Upper Manistee River Trail

Points of Interest

Upper River Trailhead

Location: 44.289882, -85.871029

Red Bridge

Location: 44.283799, -85.860472
Water, Parking, Camping

Forest Service Campsites 1 & 2

Location: 44.366385, -85.827255

Waterfall & Campsites 3 & 4

Location: 44.351596, -85.833778

Campsite 5

Location: 44.346993, -85.840774

Campsite 6

Location: 44.331001, -85.847812

Campsite 7

Location: 44.323510, -85.847983

Campsites 8 & 9

Location: 44.313777, -85.849657
Not very private

Seaton Creek Campground

Location: 44.358561, -85.810604
Parking, Water, Camping, Info

Red Bridge

Location: 44.284291, -85.860558

Manistee National Forest Sign

Location: 44.285520, -85.863991

Campsite #7's view

Location: 44.323111, -85.847855

Little Mack Suspension Bridge

Location: 44.365588, -85.826225
Modeled after the Mackinaw Bridge, this suspension bridge was built by Consumers Power as part of the contract for the dam.

View from Campsites 3 & 4

Location: 44.351473, -85.833693
Nearby is an nice waterfall.

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