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Great trail with many beautiful lookouts along the Manistee River. Lots of dispersed camping sites close to the river on the Manistee River side.

Very beautiful. First backpacking trip. It is not the easiest for your first backpacking trips due to the various points of elevation but I survived and it was well worth it. Will be doing this again!

Did the River Trail. Wife’s first trip. The views did not disappoint, especially in the fall. The campsites were in awesome outlooks. We will be doing this one again.

The bridge is now open to both cars and hikers :)

paddle sports
18 days ago

Excellent trail that has few people as South Manitou is proffered by boat tourists. We did a mix of kayaking the perimeter of the island and hiking the trail in the afternoons and evening. Nice rustic tenting options too.

One of my favorites. I love an early morning hike then enjoy the inlet while camping on the island. Bring a walking stick to cut through trail webs as using your face to do it is not preferred.

hiking
21 days ago

Beautiful trail, as always; woods have the full, golden fall glow. Probably have another week of great color, two weeks might be pushing it. Didn't do the full Chain of Lakes, more of a Crooked Chain - did a side bit on the Poto west of Crooked Lake looking, unsuccessfully, for some mushrooms I saw last year, and another side bit on the Poto south of Pickerel Lake to get the great views across it. Pictures are geo tagged on my track, more and higher resolution at https://johnmetzler.smugmug.com/Parks/Pinckney-State-Recreation-Area/PSRA-Chain-o-Lakes-trail-portions-on-Crooked-Silver-and-Poto/

backpacking
25 days ago

We did it clock wise, one big last hard climb at the end.

backpacking
1 month ago

Overall decent trail. Did it counter clockwise, helps save the best views for the end. Clean and well marked. Not the most challenging but an easy two day hike

Parking is good and free at South branch camp grounds and the trail from south branch is Z/E to find. But when you cross Rollway Rd. Trail not marked I couldn't find it again!

The Coates Highway bridge was passable but still under construction when we were down a weekend ago. My wife and I and other hikers were able to walk over the bridge bypassing construction equipment later in the day.

Has the bridge been re-opened?

Great hike. East side of the trail has spectacular river views and water access. I try to get here a few times a year.

backpacking
1 month ago

Over all good loop with the campground be centered enough that you can go either direction..

hiking
1 month ago

This hike is a gem! Highly recommend recording the hike so you can see where you are on the map. The paths for this particular hike aren't marked well because it intersects with a number of other trails. Also recommend following John Metzler's great review, which talks you through the confusing parts. I was very grateful for his guidance! I will definitely be back! Also, I saw maybe a dozen or so bikers throughout the 8 miles. Every one of them was courteous and considerate. Yes, you need to keep your eyes out for them, but at least on this early fall day, we shared the trail with no issues.

backpacking
1 month ago

Great overnight solo trip. Trails were well marked. Hiked from Portage lake to Pine backcountry campground, about 12 miles on my phone, took 4 hours. unfortunately even though I paid for and reserved a site, they were all full when I arrived. Apparently some people just show up without paying. There was plenty of room to pitch a tent, but it also would have been nice to have my own flat site....
Overall, a great hike. Easily accessible to roads if needed. But you still feel like you’re in the wilderness.

I am so excited!

Sunday, I met three female millennials, with backpacks on, walking south on 48th Street. I stopped to chat with them and they said that they were heading to Swan Creek. They said that they were walking the Wakazoo Trail and camped at Ely Lake overnight. One was from Chicago.

I asked them to give a review, but in case they don't, they said the Wakazoo was a great trail!

When the beavers build their damns part of the trail is not accessible. Awesome trail otherwise.

Great trail in SE Michigan. We did part of this trail this past weekend as a two day, one night hike. The bugs were not noticeable during the day. We did need to cover up while hanging out at camp though. Barely anyone on the trail although it was a beautiful weekend. Pines campground doesn't allow fires so we chose to spend our one night at Green Lake. We were pleased with our choice. Definitely want to check out this trail again soon.

hiking
1 month ago

This trail completed my Micro loop trail triple crown..lol....Manistee river trail, Fife lake trail and the Jordan river pathway...This one definetly was the most challenging as far as climbs but nothing that would make it a trail to avoid.. I did the trail clockwise so the last half mile was a challenge..If you wanted to get in shape for the AT and lived close this last half mile would be the place to do it...Just keep going up and down that half mile until your legs are shot.....
The only reason I took it down a star is the requirement to camp at Pinney bridge. It would be nice to have a few designated campsites along the route so hikers could adjust their itinerary if they wanted to hike a little longer the first day to make a short second day or even turn it into a 3 day hike.. Having a water source and pit toilets was nice though..The only other issue I had was a group came in late in the afternoon and were up until around 2 am making quite a bit of noise...I guess they don't understand the concept of "Hiker Midnite"...I was surprised because it was a Thursday night...I should have brought ear plugs..
It's a great trail with some awesome views around the Beaver ponds and some of the lookouts, well worth the drive to Northern Michigan..
Thanks to all the volunteers that maintain this loop...

My favorite hiking loop in the lower peninsula. Fantastic for an overnight backpacking trip.

I wish the trail was better labeled. However, the trail itself is beautiful and serene. Awesome for dispersed camping and it's nice that you can choose between hiking deep in the woods or closer to the lake!

Great trail. Considering what we have in southeast Michigan, this trail is a gem. On the Waterloo side, you have rugged trails that are hiking only, filled with good vegetation. That turns into horse trails, so look out for dung. Camped at the pines, which was just fantastic, and then booked it from the pines to blind lake the second day. This was my eighth night I’ve spent at blind lake. It’s a great campsite, with the exception of glampers getting dropped off with acoustic guitars this time. After blind lake, you have a pretty busy mountain biking trail and a short hike out.

Over all, I highly recommend this hike for late spring and all of fall. The insects would be pretty bad in the late summer, and the heat and mugginess make it a little unbearable.

The red bridge (Coates Hwy bridge) was still closed so I was unable to complete the entire loop trail. But the Manistee River Trail side was spectacular.

hiking
2 months ago

My favorite Michigan path. Be sure to stop at the hatchery to visit Roger and the gang. They’re doing great work with Great Lakes Cisco. The path itself it well maintained. Bring a lifestraw for some added fun! Beautiful views at the trailhead.

I have been on this trail many times. The only bad spot is when the beavers build their dams and it floods a portion of the trail. There is also an easy 3 mile trail.

backpacking
2 months ago

For those trying to spend their first night at seaton campground the first night of ur arrival do not go by the website!! It says all campsites are full when there are plenty of spaces available. We spoke with the man in charge and he said even if it’s full they will find space. Lovely campsite, we didn’t camp there as we were backpacking but I would definitely recommend it. We only did the side of the trail by the river and it was stunning. Would definitely recommend this to any level backpacker. If this is ur first trip this is ideal because there’s campsite all along the trail if you get tired u can stop anywhere. The road is very well marked! And the trail is very moderate, I have done other trails that completely wind you but this was not the case. Not a lot of hills and the trial is easy to follow. Absolutely wish we could have been there longer and done the full trail.

backpacking
2 months ago

I completed the trail. It had a good mix of different terrains: meadows, forest, (little) swamp.

It is a valley, so the soil is wet in many places and you will sink in in some places. There are many bridges over these parts, but many of them are broken or missing, but previous hikers have been nice enough to improvise these.

You should absolutely do the trail counterclockwise (opposite of what this site suggests). Otherwise the elevation gain in the last couple miles is brutal. This place has a lot of hills already.

backpacking
2 months ago

Well maintained and beautiful scenery. with the bridge out we had to do only half as a point and back. would love to go back after the bridge is completed to do the entire loop.

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