Explore the most popular river 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.

took my son for a Day hike. We saw three Pileated woodpeckers, a kingfisher, a group of ducks, a handful of chickadees and nuthatches. We also saw a pair of red tailed hawks and heard some red-breasted woodpeckers. very nice Trail for down and back, like the previous comment we lost the trail in the mud at the turn around so we made our own.

5 months ago

Trail is named something different at trailhead. Lost the trail in the mud somewhere around the turnaround. Otherwise great hike secluded from human activity.

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

paddle sports
8 months ago

floated a section of this river yesterday, m-37 to Gleason s landing, it took 3.5 hours and was so peaceful

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

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

paddle sports
8 months ago

one of the best floated I've ever been on. I recommend from Dobson bridge to Low bridge, it's a long float but totally worth it

Check out our video of this route at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mm0b0V_1rFg

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.

This is not a walking trail even though it says so in the description. And there are no hiking trails in Scottville per the locals. It looks like a gorgeous river for fishing and canoeing/kayaking though.

11 months ago

Great dog walk!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Great short hike. Trail is well marked until the turn around.

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!

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

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.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Well maintained and marked trail.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Great hike! The trail is well marked and the river is beautiful.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

It was well marked until the 2 mile mark and then it was hard to see the trail.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

This segment is definitely a challenging trek in snowshoes and deep powder, but it is enjoyable. For the most part, the views are not as rewarding as the Manistee River trail, and upper river road is frequented by snowmobiles in the winter. However, the sound of snowmobile engines was hardly noticeable, and I never heard any at night. I hiked the segment with a friend and my dog, however, if you don't have experience hiking with your dog, or it is not one of the northern breeds, I would leave him at home in the winter. Eddington creek is the only water source but if you bring extra fuel, you can melt snow. A few warnings, call ahead to the ranger station to get conditions. Snowshoes and/or crampons (or microspikes) would be a good idea in the winter months, especially after fresh snow. The trail has camping sites that are reasonable well protected, but we had 40-50 mph gusts and ~20 mph sustained winds. Nothing too extreme, but make sure you use a 4-season tent and know how to set stakes and snow anchors if you stay the night.

A very nice trail. I think it is more than 9.8 miles.From the Marilla Trail head to the Upper River Trail head, it is 9.8 miles. From the Upper River Trail Head to Dilling Rd is another 6 miles. The trail frequently follows the ridgeline. There are good views ot the Tippy Dam back waters on the southern end of the trail and nice views of the Hodenpyl Dam backwaters about 15 minutes from the Marilla trailhead. For long stretches, there are no water sources, so, fill you bottles at Edington Creek.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Not too bad of a trail. Lots of up and down throughout. Not a whole lot of view change, mostly hills and forest. It was nice overall.

paddle sports
Thursday, July 18, 2013

Kayaked the last leg of the Pine from 37 to Low Bridge. A little fast with some challenging rocks. Lots of fun and a work out at the same time. Permits may be required to use the river during high use times and cars need a parking permit. Questions about permits... Supervisors Office
1755 S. Mitchell St.
Cadillac, MI 49601
Toll Free: 1-800-821-6263


Tuesday, November 08, 2011

My home river. My family river. Being born in Scottville and having a family cabin on the upper river in Baldwin, MI, I have fished this river top to bottom Baldwin to Scottville and every single spot in-between since I was a very young man. I have worked for the original owners of the Pere Marquette Lodge (Johnson's) as well as directing fishing shows for them.

I have helped guide fishing trips and fished this gem of a stream with dedication year 'round for decades. I have waled its banks and floated every portion. I can honestly wade the Flies Only stretch from M37 to Gleason's Landing with my eyes closed. I have caught trope trout, steelhead, and salmon repeatedly and shoulder to shoulder with some of its legendary guides.

I love this river more than most things on Earth. It is my home. My ashes will one day be a part of your Hex silt.

Be kind to this river. She's delicate.

trail running
Thursday, September 15, 2011

I love this trail! One of my favorites in MI. We use it for training for trail running - nice hills and some technical footing (well, for MI). The scenery is beautiful and there is plenty of wildlife.

paddle sports
Sunday, September 11, 2011

Just got back from Baldwin, MI, and a great canoe/camping trip on the Pere Marquette river. I have been on many canoe and kayak trips around Michigan, and all have been great experiences. This time, though, was the first time I have done a multi-day canoe/camping trip! We had a blast! This river is cold and clear, and moves relatively slowly, but at times is a bit quicker. The river runs mostly throught the Maistee national forest, so there are very few houses and cabins. If you have done any canoeing or kayaking at all, then this river should be no problem. Alot of fishermen to share the river with, but overall the all are nice enough, and stay out of your way if you work with them. We put in at Bowman's Bridge, and paddled about 4 hours down stream to the USFS campground at Elk. Very rustic campground, accessible by river only, (though one group there parked out by the road and walked in to camp) No water, and just a small wooden vault toilet. (BRING SUPPLIES) There is only 4 sites, and it's first come, first served. Then this morning it was about a 3 hour paddle to Walhalla Bridge, where the great folks at Baldwin Canoe Rental had spotted our car. If you fish and go this time of year, make sure you bring your gear, we had two giant salmon almost jump in the boat with us! A great river, a great trip, this is a highly recommended river. I can't say enough about the service at Baldwin Canoe Rental.

paddle sports
Sunday, March 27, 2011

Very rough riding in some spots, but overall, quite a thrill. Highly recommend for beginners and veterans alike, the river is long enough to support both, just make sure you have your entrance and exit spots selected beforehand. Awesome river! A+

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