Best trails in Manistee National Forest, Michigan

852 Reviews
Explore the most popular trails in Manistee National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
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Map of trails in Manistee National Forest, Michigan
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Top trails (2)
#1 - The Manistee River Loop Trail
Manistee National Forest
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Length: 19.3 mi • Est. 9 h 4 m
The Manistee River Loop Trail is easily one of the best backpacking trails in Lower Michigan outside of the peninsula of Michigan area. It is almost always busy on the Manistee River Trail side, where campsites are often doubled or even tripled up to accommodate all nature lovers. The waterfall site 2 miles south of the suspension bridge is a great spot to enjoy the stars and fall asleep listening to the falls. Be sure to pack water as it is quite the hike up, down, and around the ravines throughout this trail and potable water is not always available. During the first few miles there are some decent sights in the higher hills especially near reds hill. The nice part of the NCT is users can camp anywhere really, although camping in a ravine isn't too rewarding. Users cross a couple of roads and reach Eldridge Creek which offers water for the first time along with a decent campsite in some pines on the west side of the creek. After passing the Marilla trail junction, users start heading to the MRT and finally get to see the Manistee River after about 9 miles of hiking in ravines. Users then cross over the Suspension Bridge and reach the MRT, at the campground along the north trail where users might want to stop for water as they offer a potable well. The MRT hugs the river for the duration of the southward trip back to red bridge. While enjoying this trek, it is a good idea to set up camp with a couple neighbors to practice safe camping, especially if attempting this route alone. The sound of the river and the proximity of the campsites to water make for an easy night of sleeping, especially along the MRT side of the river, where high and dry sites are perched with amazing views of the river. If using the MRT side of the river for the trek, users should know that this side has more hills, so you definitely get a workout. Trekking poles are a must for the whole trail because of the hills that are sometimes steep and slippery - no matter the season. Be aware that the campsites on the MRT are full in the summer. This is a very popular and great trail that is well worth a drive anywhere that users live in Michigan. Please remember to keep the great outdoors great and pack out your trash, and to leave no trace of your use to preserve the Huron Manistee National Forests for others. Show more
#2 - Manistee River Trail South
Manistee National Forest
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Length: 4.8 mi • Est. 2 h 16 m