Best trails in Mesick, Michigan

819 Reviews
Explore the most popular trails near Mesick 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 Mesick, Michigan
Top trails (3)
#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: Seaton Creek to Red Bridge
Manistee National Forest
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Length: 11.4 mi • Est. 5 h 7 m
The Manistee River Trail is one of the staple trails in Michigan. Great for backpackers of all levels as it has many dynamic changes. Good for training as it has many elevation changes but is a safe and winding path. I highly enjoyed my time being on this trail for the first time after last few trails were out west.Show more
#3 - Manistee River: Hodenpyl Dam to Rainbow Bend
Manistee National Forest
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Length: 35.1 mi
This ~35 mile overnight kayak trip starts at the Hodenpyl Dam Portage and travels 35 miles along the Big Manistee River to the Rainbow Bend Boat Launch. You can plant a car at Rainbow Bend and drive to Hodenpyl Dam with a second car to put in. No overnight parking is allowed at the dam so park your second car at the Marilla Trailhead about a mile away and walk to the dam. The most scenic and remote portion of the trip is by far the first section from Hodenpyl Dam to Red Bridge. This portion is a Semi-Primitive Non Motorized Area, so you will not see any boats disrupting the solitude. Campsites are plentiful along this ~11 mile stretch of the river due to the MRT on the east banks. This section takes slightly under 3 hours to paddle with no stops. According to Manistee County's website, floating this section takes about 4 hours. Day two you can travel to Blacksmith Bayou Campground just past High Bridge at about the 25/26 mile mark. This section of the Manistee involves a more strenuous paddle up the Tippy Dam area which has almost no current and plenty of boats creating waves. However this is also a beautiful area with plenty of drive in sites right on the river. Once you reach the Tippy Dam, the kayaks have to be portaged over the dam. This is where packing light pays off. Once at the top of the dam it is easy to let the boats slide down the grass on the other side. This area of the river on the downstream side of the dam is a popular fishing destination. The nearby campground also launches large groups of day kayakers so if you would like to avoid these groups get an early start past this point. From Tippy Dam to Rainbow Bend is the most populated portion of this trip. A two night trip is recommended, camping one night between Hodenpyl & Tippy Dam and one night at Blacksmith Bayou or other nearby site.Show more