Explore the most popular views 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.

Nice hike with kids and dogs. $5 fee per car since it is a national forest.

We are looking forward to going back when flowers are blooming. Nice map with good information.

The Loda Lake trail is not as long as mapped on app. This makes a loop with NCT and Birch Grove trail.

We hiked clockwise on Loda Lake trail then took connector to NCT. We then walked north on NCT for a mile. Returned and completed loop to Loda Lake for a total of 6 miles.

Seen a male rose-breasted Grosebeak, blue racer snake, and dog “found” 3 ticks.

This is a hidden gem with bathroom and new expanded parking lot with picnic tables and shelter.

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

Easy trails, well marked, some plants identified.

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 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.

mountain biking
9 months ago

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
10 months ago

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

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.

really awesome, we saw a fawn and a bunch of small animals. there were some pretty flowers and really pretty scenery. 10/10 will hike again. (just make sure you bring big spray!)

Loda Lake is a great trail for nature walks, the guided wildflower trails, and a historic heritage trail. The map on this app shows more land than is really there at the wildflower sanctuary.

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.

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

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Great, easy trail. Very enjoyable. Thanks to all who preserve and share it with others.

backpacking
Thursday, July 28, 2016

Very beautiful pines trail was cleared all but

snowshoeing
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.

hiking
Saturday, January 30, 2016

This trail links up with the Birch Grove Trail loop, which also links up with the NCT for a total of about 11 miles. Went in late October, great day trip.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

my gf skipped leg day and ruined the fun :/

This trail is fairly decent. Well maintained, very easy to follow, and somewhat scenic (4 stars because it's a bit repetitive). I wouldn't really consider it a loop, but you can make part of it into a loop if you do what I did. I started at the Michigan 20 Trailhead (1299 W 1 Mile Road, or at GPS Coords 43.568188,-85.827278) and went over to Diamond Lake Campgrounds, which was about 1.5 mi off the trail (7 mi hiking). I spent Friday night there, and then on Saturday morning took the Birch Grove Trail up to Loda Lake, where it rejoins the North Country Trail. I went up to Nichols Lake, had lunch, and then hiked back to Bear Creek to set up camp near the trail (very nice spot for dispersed camping). Saturday was about 20 miles. Then on Sunday I hiked back about 12 miles to the Michigan 20 trailhead. In total, the route I took was about 38-40 miles, completed in 44 hours (including sleeping).

In general, water availability was pretty good, and the weather was perfect (60 deg at night, 80 deg daytime). Most of the trail is dense forest, so shade is abundant. There were some mosquitos, but applying DEET every 4 hours kept them at bay, no problem at all. I literally saw one other backpacker group the entire weekend, so the trail doesn't see much use despite being very nice.

The best maps I found were the US Forest Service's 2013 map and the ArcGIS map.

hiking
Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Just did what I think was this out and back section of the North Country Trail on Sunday. Not sure what direction this particular track wants you to go, but I ended up with an 11 mile total out and back by heading past the Newaygo Visitor Center spur toward Twinwood Lake, then 2 miles south on the sandy trail joiner road (Basswood Drive), crossing the railroad tracks, and veering north onto the well marked North Country Trail again to get to Coolbough. Some nice vignettes along the way, Bigelow Creek and what I think was the Cathedral Pines area at Coolbough with varied terrain and little in the way of hard elevation changes it was not too far from Chicago. However, on this section the interesting parts were few and far between, so it ended up a bit of a slog in 85 degree heat. I might recommend it later in the year though due to the prevalence of mosquitoes, gnats, and horseflies. Will try it again though, time permitting, in the Fall and maybe head north this time.

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.

hiking
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.

trail running
Sunday, August 25, 2013

Ran the North Country Run half marathon here. Beautiful country that was challenging. May have to visit this winter for some snowshoeing.

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