Explore the most popular mountain biking 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.

hiking
1 month ago

1.1 miles round trip. This is a pretty easy family trail. When you're in the parking lot, take the trail to your left, the right trail is the North Country Trail. The lake isn't large. There's 3 walk in camp sites. A nice trail.

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.

Lots of bugs was being swarmed by at least 10 flys the entire walk was annoying so tired around and went home

It is good but not well marked

hiking
4 months ago

If you’re into flat, mosquito infested, skinny single track hiking trails with no views, this might be for you. I can’t speak to the mountain bike experience, but for my time I would prefer 15 Miles on the NCT hiking. Truthfully though, I skipped the hilly section at the end because of time constraints. I wish I had gone clockwise from the trail head and done the hills first, then used the NCT section and cut off miles of flat trail.

quiet primative hike in only. Love it.

Had a wonderful walk in the woods with the family today on this trail. It’s fairly well marked but several time we reviewed the map to make sure we were taking the right branch. The road getting to the trail was a bit soupy from the spring thaw, but the trail was fine. It’s a perfect spring or fall trail.

Went on a snowy hike there in early March. Beautiful scenery and the lake is well worthy the trek.

hiking
Monday, October 16, 2017

September 22-24 this was a great hike with the scouts spent the weekend

Great trail and I don’t see much use for the section from M115 north to M37 north

hiking
Monday, September 25, 2017

This is a beautiful short hike with a bunch of trails nearby. Has first cone first serve camp sites surrounding the lake as well.

love this trail

hiking
Thursday, September 14, 2017

I've been hiking this trail for almost twenty years and still love it

backpacking
Thursday, September 14, 2017

I like to hike the loop, very enjoyable. I've done this hike in every season except winter

First time on trail, difficult to follow so we piecemealed our way. Pup loved it

Great local trail. Can be hard to follow at times, especially when you are new to it. Look for the yellow diamonds. Some have arrows and some do not. Trail intersects some roads and horse trails in spots. Not as hard packed as some MTB trails, but provides a unique challenge. GREAT place to build up riding endurance and strength.

Amazing! Beautiful riding country! Can't wait to go back!

This was my first visit to Manistee National Forest. A buddy and I made a spur of the moment decision to go. We hiked for about two hours before making camp. From what we saw, the trail was well marked and clean. We had no problems with mosquitos, ticks, or any other bugs. We noticed at night, there was complete silence. No tree frogs croaking or crickets chirping A very peaceful and pleasant overnight trip. Will be visiting again.

Beautiful trail. Started at Red Bridge.

mountain biking
Sunday, July 30, 2017

Well maintained and nice ride. Has some rolling hills and some sandy parts to watch out for, but not technical at all. I'd rate it beginner flow but intermediate climbs with some fast decent.

hiking
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Evening the most difficult hikes are not bad. Great hike for a few hours on an afternoon. Very quiet.

hiking
Sunday, May 07, 2017

Cool trail with lots of routes to add up the miles. Did 7 miles today and was well marked and not to busy.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Not too difficult, and a pleasure.

The trail was really beautiful. It was maintained very well and clearly marked. However, not near as peaceful as we were hoping. Firstly, there were quite a few people out there driving four wheelers on the two tracks that weave around near the southern side of the trail. Second, there were literally hundreds of gun shots. Thirdly, there was incessant dog barking coming from the same direction where the gun shots were going off. We were there on April 9th seeing if any early mushroom activity could be found. We were there over 4 hours. Unfortunately as we went on the trail we got closer to the gun shooting. Eventually we could hear men yelling and laughing in the woods while firing their guns. Honestly we got scared that there was possibly some intoxicated people with unleashed dogs out there playing with guns. So my wife and I decided to leave. It was the first 70 degree day of the year. We will probably go back but not to the southern section of the trail. Many trees were riddled with splintered bullet holes off the trail, definitely not woodpeckers. We just wish there was more respect for nature and for the people enjoying it.

very nice trail! some of the walk path wood needs replacing and is roted... but the beauty and water so makes up for the only couple bad spots! what amazing veiws! i hung (hammock) over a 60' ft drop off right next to the water all night! heavenly!

This is SUCH a gorgeous hike. I wish it was a loop but it was so enjoyable I didn't mind seeing everything twice. I especially loved the depression forest section!

Probably the best hiking trail in the Lower Peninsula. Beautiful and great for rustic camping.

backpacking
Sunday, January 22, 2017

Easily one of the best backpacking trails in Lower Michigan. I've hiked this trail 5-6 times now and I always enjoy it. 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 my personal favorite. I always start on Saturday mornings at the Red River Bridge, I usually take the NCT (north side) as I enjoy getting more done in the first day and the campsites on the MRT are better. Be sure to pack water as it is quite the hike up, down, and around the ravines. Once in a while you'll see a mountain biker. In the first couple of miles there are some decent sights in the higher hills especially near reds hill. The nice part of the NCT is you can camp anywhere really, although camping in a ravine isn't too rewarding. You'll 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 you start heading to the MRT and finally get to see the Manistee River after about 9 miles of hiking in ravines. You cross over the Suspension Bridge and reach the MRT, I don't waste my time hiking to the campground (north trail) although if you're in a pinch for water you might want to as they offer a well. The MRT hugs the river for the duration of the southward trip back to red bridge. I try to set up camp after the suspension bridge and usually settle anywhere after the waterfalls (almost always taken unless you get there before 12-1p). I set up camp and usually fish for an hour or so and bathe in the river even if it's cold, very relaxing after a long hike. You'll more than likely set up camp with a couple neighbors unless you're a horrible trail person and want to be a loner. The sound of the river and the proximity of the campsites to water make for an easy night of sleeping. The next morning I usually wake up before first light and make my way south. The river is beautiful when there is a morning mist after a cold night. You can usually bust out Sunday morning in 3-4 hours and be back to your car before 10a-noon.

A great trail that is well worth a drive anywhere that you live in Michigan. I'd even go as far to say one of the best weekend trails in the Great Lakes Region (Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana). The only problem I have is how busy the trail is and the garbage that has been accumulating over the last couple of years. It's not too crazy to see a group of young people hike down from the waterfalls parking lot with coolers and I even saw a guy with a Weber grill! Keep the great outdoors great guys.

lovely walk with my children.

hiking
Thursday, September 22, 2016

13 miles on the Big M today. lovely well marked trail... we did 1-9 to 32 down to 29, across the NCT and back to 23 and then home to 4,3,2,1

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