Click here to order a detailed map and a guide to the Manistee River Trail. There are six trailheads that provide access to the loop with Seaton Creek Campground serving as the main one. To reach Seaton Creek Campground head north on M for 9 miles from its intersection with M and then turn left on 26 Road for 1. Turn right on O'Rourke Drive for 1.
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This Trail is perfect because it is an ideal overnight or 2 night trip for the novice backpacker and you only need one car to be staged. You will experience scenic hikes through the rolling hardwoods of the National forest and along the high bluffs overlooking the Big Manistee River and also visit a hydroelectric dam and cross the longest pedestrian foot bridge in the lower peninsula.
The terrain is more forgiving and it provides beautiful overlooks of the river below with the Udell hills in the background. Is starting from Red Bridge, we would classify that section of trail on XC skis for experts only, as tight terrain and steep grades will make it a challenge even for those who regularly break winter trails.
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.
Seaton Creek Campground to the north is available for water fill-ups and camping if you do not prefer truly rustic camping your first night. Highlights along the MRT is a waterfall, many creeks, and of course, scenic overlooks. Note: This is the best location to park and access the pedestrian foot bridge to connect to the Manistee River Trail.
The suspension bridge is approximately. Michigan's Great Outdoors. The Michigan's Great Outdoors collaborative consists of five Northern Michigan counties all working together to promote tourism in the region.
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Manistee River Trail
Nestled in the Manistee National Forest you will find hundreds of miles of marked trails for those who love to hike, bike, or in the winter, cross country ski and snowshoe. Which trail should you choose for your weekend adventure? This perfect weekend hike offers a varied and dynamic perspective of the natural beauty of Manistee County. 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.
Manistee River Trail/North Country Trail Loop
This is a hiking and XC skiing only trail. Some sections of the trail are open to mountain bikes, so be aware of bicyclists. Rustic Camping is available along the trail at designated areas, please contact the US Forest Service to obtain a camping permit. The trail traverses past several wetlands and there are bridges crossing two creeks. A waterfall near the northern end of the trail is very popular with many hikers. Several observation sites along the trail provide hikers with vista views of the Manistee River and surrounding area. There are several dispersed campsites along the trail.
Hiking the Loop: Manistee River Trail & North Country Trail Loop
This relatively new trail was developed in and offers numerous rustic campsites located throughout the area and many beautiful scenic overlooks. The trail is level and easy hike. The beauty of the Manistee River Trail is that it really is a trail for all skill levels. Many parts are flat along the bluffs overlooking the Manistee River.
Trail Maps & Guidebooks
The Manistee River Loop Trail is a The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. Easily one of the best backpacking trails in Lower Michigan. It is almost always busy on the Manistee River Trail side, campsites are often doubled or even tripled up. The waterfall site 2 miles south of the suspension bridge is great. Be sure to pack water as it is quite the hike up, down, and around the ravines.