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Great shorter hike through the woods. The hills make it more of a challenge for a beginner like myself. Well kept up and close to home.

Fantastic trail. Started at Seaton Creek. I worked my way south down he MRT. Fantastic views from not only the river banks and overlooks, but inside the forests as well. Fairly rugged terrain, so I recommend a sturdy set of shoes. Also great spots to stop and swim in the river. On the MRT side, campsite 8b is the best. It backs up to the river for easy access to the water, plenty of space, and great shade.

We love to trail run here.

Start off on the North Country Trail with fresh legs as it’s a bit hilly depending on where you start. We got caught in a monster thunderstorm that ripped the rain fly off of our tent the first night...definitely made for a wet finish. But a great hike for anyone of any skill level.

hiking
10 days ago

Great hike with nice campsite near the beach. Busy, but nice to see people appreciating the beauty of the hike and lake.

Great hike. Bring bug spray.

mountain biking
20 days ago

Fun first time. I have never mountain bikes before. Had a blast

Love this trail! We did 9 miles of the MRT and straight back skipping the NCT. Next time plan to do the whole loop. Do not start at the Marilla trail head like we did, added an extra 2-3 miles and was not scenic. The river is beautiful, you hike up and down ravines, and you can camp over looking the river. We went in late April when it was high 60s and it was really crowded. I would do it again in the fall. People had their bags tied up with rope to avoid bears. We camped about a mile or less from the red bridge on a cliff and it was really open so we could see other campers but it was a great view! All dogs we came across were on a leash which was awesome and hikers were very kind!

7-mile trek from Slagle Creek trail head north to Seaton Creek camp ground. Nice trail crossing several small creeks that cascade down into the Manistee River. Good views of the river from many elevated view points. Last mile past the suspension bridge a little less spectacular but a worthwhile hike. Seasonal two track to Slagle Creek trail head could cause problem for sedan type vehicles.

Fun trail, passed about three groups of people on a beautiful Saturday afternoon around three. Agree with the moderate rating as there were roots and inclines! Took pictures along the way. Saw deer first thing. Well marked path and will definitely be back to take some of the off shoot trails.

Was a nice well traveled with some grooming trail. Would have been better if they could have created a loop. We came back on an atv trail just to get a different view. There is definitely some wildlife based on tracks on the trail but we did not see any which would also have made it better. Large portions of the trail are shaded with a few clearings but it helped break up the scenery. Was impressed with the stands of pine that were planted in rows at some point in history.

hiking
24 days ago

This trail was very pretty. It was marked really well and not confusing at all. The covered bridge was in a random spot off the trail. Definitely will bring bug spray next time. The majority of it was stroller friendly except the stairs, but if you have a friend who’s willing to help get the stroller up them then you’re fine!

Light traffic (Sunday afternoon), many hammocks off the trail, few bugs, a couple of hills to make you work a little more. Nice, well maintained trail - just wish the main “loop” was a little longer. I did the trail 3+ times to make up for the length. I didn’t notice the homes people mentioned but there are parts where I could hear cars zipping by.

Parked at the south Slagle Creek parking lot with plans to do and out and back hike to the small waterfalls. Walked down a hill, over a pretty wooden bridge, and then the trail wound to the right (north). The trail offers great views of the Manistee River along the way. Note there are one or two areas where the trail is very close to the edge and you have to watch your step. Loads of ferns, several footbridges, people kayaking on the river added up to a wonderful time. There were a few ups and downs, but nothing too extreme. I had knee surgery about 6 months ago and was able to do it, with precautions, especially on the descents. The biggest hill we encountered was the one right before reaching the small waterfalls. I forgot to start recording until a little way into our hike. Would estimate distance from slagle creek parking lot to small waterfalls is about 3.3 miles so 6.6 miles for an out and back.

trail running
1 month ago

We did a trail run loop, parked at the west side of the red bridge (bridge still out). Clocked 20 miles without any side trips, took us 5 hours. It was a very very calm river day - We staged 2 small rafts on the east side and floated across; also could have swam across. Be warned - i could easily see this river having tougher/swifter conditions after a rain. Lovely forest trail with amazing river views. Previous reviews are accurate - NCT side has no water for most of this section. I’d say both sides are same difficulty, NCT has longer ups/downs but MRT has more roots, shorter ups/downs, and harder to navigate due to social trails and campsite side trails (when running we were forced to stop and check several times to ensure on right path). Have fun running among the trees & ferns & mushrooms!

Basically an out and back from Upper River trailhead to Slagle Road campground, totaling ~30 miles. Too bad the loop wasn’t accessible due to the bridge construction. First time out here - definitely a good hike for the Midwest. Some tough hills, especially on the NCT side 2x and nice views on the MRT side. Even took some time to swim in the Manistee River. I’d recommend it.

went for a hike with my dog, stayed on the paved path most of the time (grass was still pretty damp), didn't make it too terribly far one mile in and one mile back. so far liking what I've seen, now I need to work the dog into taking longer hikes, break him in slowly

I adore this trail. I go back time and time again and find new ways to explore and make the most of my time there.

A wonderful trail with one huge 90 degree sand dune well that how it felt anyway!

A wonderful workout with one giant sand dune with an 90 degree angle or at least it feels that way.

Went for the first time and overall it was good. The weather was extremely hot and I thought the path would have been covered more but a lot more open field then I thought. I would definitely do it again. I had some bug repellent on but the horseflies were bad.

For the parents: Also thought it had great stuff for kids on the path, educational, however not stroller friendly in the woods.

Currently the loop is closed due to construction of a new bridge at N. Coates Highway but I didn't plan on doing the loop. Arrived around 4 on a rainy Friday, June 15th. Parked at Seaton Campground, there was plenty of available parking. I believe it was $6 a night to park. Just have to fill out the self check in slip located on the information billboards across from the parking lot and drop it in the drop post. The first couple miles were so green and lush after the storm that had just rolled in. Trees, ferns, leaves were dripping wet and had that strong nostalgic pine woody smell. I wore hiking shorts and a dry fit shirt due to the 1,000% humidity even though it was around 68-70 degrees and immediately they were soaked from brushing against the overgrown ferns. There were a handful of people on the trail and the campsites I had passed were mostly empty. I hiked a little over 4 miles and camped at a non designated campsite. There was a steep small trail that lead down to a clearing right on the bank of the river where there was a make shift fire pit and easy access to the water. Across the river was a large dune cliff with dozens of birds flying in and out of their nests. Lightning, thunder, and rain rolled in making sleep pretty peaceful. In the morning, bugs were pretty thick, mostly flies and mosquitoes, only left with a couple a bites. Bug spray seemed to be working fine but the trails were bug free. On the way out, Saturday afternoon now, I must have crossed about 30 people's paths. A few big groups and a few couple/trios. The trail was very clean and well marked except for a few places where I had to backtrack a few feet. Next trip will be in the fall when the leaves are changing and the weather is a little cooler. Should make for a great experience.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful views of Lake Michigan on trail along water-trails were well marked except #1 and 3 at parking lot going into Dunes-lots of criss cross trails so confusing Saw deer and heron on river thru woods. Will be back!

Love it! Great family fun time!!

Hike this loop 6/2-6/3 for our first overnight backpacking trip. Since the bridge is out on Coates Hwy, we brought 2 cars and parked 1 on each side of the bridge. We started on the west side and hiked the NCT side first. Definitely glad we did since the terrain is a little more up and down on that side of the loop. Got to do it with fresh legs. We only saw 2 or 3 groups of people all day on the NCT. There was only 1 or 2 spots to filter water on this side, so bring plenty of water. We crossed the suspension bridge and set up camp at 2A near the some small waterfalls/cascade. It was a such great spot! Highly recommend this campsite, but there are a lot of them with great views on the MRT side! We finished the last 8 miles or so on Sunday. If I could have done something differently, I would have split the hike into 3 days. It was our first long overnight hike and our feet were pretty sore day 2. Wish we had some more free time to stop and relax/hang out some more. But overall, it was a great hike!

We did our first backpacking trip here the first weekend of June. Four of us and my dog. Great trail for dogs. I would suggest getting trail boots for your pooch to keep their pads from wearing down. Since the bridge is out currently I would suggest parking a vehicle on both sides of the bridge and starting on the NCT side. The terrain on the NCT portion is more challenging and tiring and easier to do on day 1. Definitely bring enough water for day 1 as you won’t find any water sources until you’re almost done with the NCT portion. It’s a beautiful trail with perfect camps along creeks to stumble upon. Definitely hooked now.

Be prepared for Defcon 5-level mosquitoes. Much of the Waterloo side is covered in horse excrement, and the horses also do a pretty good job of tearing up the trail, so parts of it will feel like walking through sand. The Pinckney side has much higher quality trails, both in terms of scenery and trail maintenance. Ran into one person on the trail while hiking during weekdays.

Itinerary: Portage Lake trailhead > Pines campground > Green Lake Campground > Silver Lake. Around 10-11 miles each day for a 3 day/2 night sprint.

Be aware that Green Lake campground is a drive in campsite and there may be plenty of people on the weekends, so try to arrive early as you cannot reserve in advance and must self-register (bring cash, $17).

Pines DOES have water about 1/4 mile north - there is a water spigot near the gate to the stable area.

Green Lake also has a water pump.

Just remember to permethrin your gear, wear deet, and wear long sleeve shirts/pants.

One of my favorites!

We hiked the NCT/MRT loop this past weekend, 6/1-6/3. This trail was an amazing experience for our first backpacking trip. The Red Bridge was closed so we parked one car on the MRT side and took a 25 minute detour around to park on the NCT side, which was our starting point. I would definitely recommend starting on the NCT side if it’s your first hike due to the terrain. Also we only seen 2 waters sources on the NCT side, one at the beginning and one at Eaton Creek which is at the North end of the trail. The first day we hiked from the red bridge to Eaton creek and camped at a awesome site right off the creek. The second day we hiked from Eaton creek to 4b campsite on the MRT side to allow for a shorter day on Sunday.

All in all it was an amazing trip. I would recommend this trail loop to anyone looking for a great 3 day backpacking trip.

Fun, beautiful and worth going again and again.

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