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Great drive with short walks to extremely beautiful views

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

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.

backpacking
16 days 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.

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.

mountain biking
23 days ago

Great enduro. All climbs are very doable. No steep up and down. But lots of turns. I really enjoyed my afternoon.

Beautiful Michigan country. Plenty of places to camp right on the river, a great area for hot summer days. Wildflowers galore, a few climbs to a get a great workout, and friendly people, be it other hikers, or kayakers on the manistee river.

backpacking
29 days ago

This trip was as good as it gets. Trail was well maintained, getting water is very easy being that your on a island. Did this loop ten days ago and didnt pull out the bug spray once. Gorgeous views every night at camp, the best part is once you are off the boat and on the trail you dont run into anyone. I would highly recommend backpacking the NMI loop.

If you are looking to spend time in the sleeping bear dunes area with some degree of seclusion, this is the place for you! Four days was just enough time to hike the trail and enjoy all there is to offer from the island. The other reviews stand true and cover most of the bases. I highly recommend NMI!

1 month ago

Got a little lost on an unfinished trail, but in a good way. Great because you can walk 2 miles or 20 miles.

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.

Great, simple trail to do with our yellow lab! We did the small loop and came across a great view with a crystal clear lake where you can literally see fish swimming! Frogs and a small snake also greeted us along the way.

backpacking
1 month ago

Awesome trip! We stayed 2 nights. Our favorite part was hiking to the west Side of the island near crescent dock and camping there the first night. The sunset was unbelievably beautiful and being on the beach was awesome. You won’t be alone though. There were about 14 others around. The night sky was filled with stars.

Other things to note:
- Black flies were biting on the beach.
- trip cost about $100 for Park and ferry passes and parking.
- ferry took about 90min one way

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.

trail running
1 month ago

Great way to start the day, awesome views, good ascent/descent (approx 670ft of ascent from trailhead following the advanced loop, minus the 0.8 mile “scenic overlook” of Big Glen). Thought the island view was lights-out.

The best views

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.

Beautiful views and the informational signs were very helpful to understand the landscape and history of the area.

backpacking
1 month ago

This was a gorgeous trail! It's well marked and except for a few mild hills it was pretty level. In most places the trail was wide and smooth enough for me to be able to enjoy the scenery instead of watching my footing.
I camped at Lake 1. The lake has a clay bottom so not really suitable for swimming but it was pretty! There are 2 vault toilets. There's a pump but no handle so I filtered water from the lake.
I did the full loop starting from Guernsey Lake but be aware that the campsites cam be reached from the Sand Lakes parking area with just a short walk. This meant that I had some partiers sharing the area even though it was Tuesday.
I would definitely rate the trail more towards the easy end.

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
2 months 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.

backpacking
2 months ago

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.

2 months ago

Nice wooded trail with sand and gravel pathways, great if walking with young kids. You may struggle a little bit if you bring a stroller with small wheels (like a small umbrella stroller) but we made our way along pretty well with a wagon!

Lake Michigan overlook is unreal. And enjoyed the cottonwood trail as well.

Really good place to go. Mosquitoes are difficult to deal with. The chipmunks are very good at stealing food. The scenery is nice. The trails are nice. Good camping spots along the beach. Overall loved it.

Easy nice walk, but be ready for the mosquitoes.

Some great views from the top.

Nice trail, took my dog, not too strenuous but still a good workout. Good views, flora and fauna. Turkey popped out of the bushes and scared me half to death but it was funny. Saw a couple deer too which was a bonus.

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