Manistee River Trail

Area Status: Open
This area is Open
 

Manistee River Trail - Woodpecker Flats

The Manistee River Trail follows the east shore of the Manistee River for 8.8 miles through rolling hills.  The trail traverses past several wetlands and there are bridges crossing two creeks.  A waterfall near the northern end of the trail is very popular with many hikers.  The Manistee River Trail/North Country National Scenic Trail connector is also the site of the largest wooden suspension bridge in Lower Michigan.  Several observation sites along the trail provide hikers with vista views of the Manistee River and surrounding area.  There are several dispersed campsites along the trail.

A 23-mile loop trail is formed with the Manistee River Trail along the Manistee River.  The loop trail can be accessed from the Marilla and Upper Branch Trailheads for the North Country National Scenic Trail and the Red Bridge and Seaton Creek accesses for the Manistee River Trail.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: This trail is not groomed.
Operational Hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, unless otherwise posted.
Fees Recreation Enhancement Act Fee - Day Use -
  • North Country Trail Marilla Trailhead
Concessionaire Fee - Day Use -
  • Seation Creek Campground
Permit Info: Special Use Permit -
  • No special use permit is required for individuals or small groups (74 people or less).
  • Permits are required for commercial, event or large groups (75 people or more).
Usage: Light
Best Season: January 1 to December 31
Busiest Season: May to October
Restrictions: Allowed -
  • Hiking
  • Pets on leash
  • Nonmotorized snow use: snowshoes, cross-country skiing
  • Nonmotorized mechanized equipment except bicycles
Prohibited -
  • Motorized vehicles
  • Motorized over-snow vehicles
  • Bicycles
  • Horse and pack animals
Forest-wide Closures - Camping in dispersed areas:
  • Camping within two hundred (200) feet of any body of water, except at designated sites.
  • Camping in an area which is posted closed and/or no camping.
  • Camping within 450 feet of developed recreation areas.
Being publicly nude. Storing Watercraft
  • Storing, mooring, or leaving a boat or raft over 24 hours.
Parking
  • Parking in violation of posted instructions.
Closest Towns: Brethren, Mesick
Water: None
Operated By: Cadillac Manistee Ranger District - 412 Red Apple Rd., Manistee, MI 49660
Information Center: Cadillac/Manistee Ranger District 231-723-2211 r9_hmnf_website@fs.fed.us

General Information

General Notes:

Location -  Manistee River, Manistee River Trail

Nearby Recreation Areas - N

  • orth Country National Scenic Trail
    • Upper Branch Trailhead
    • Marilla Trailhead 

Trailheads -  Seaton Creek, Red Bridge 

Campgrounds - Seaton Creek, Red Bridge  

County -  Manistee, Manistee

Trail to what was once the Waterfalls  -

From Mesick -

  • Travel south on M-37 for 4.5 miles.
  • Turn right and travel west on 26 Mile Rd. for 3 miles.
  • At the fork veer right.
  • Turn right and travel north on FR 5993 until you pass Seaton Creek Campground.
  • At the dam turn left onto the seasonal road for .6 miles.
  • Turn right and drive to the gate. 

There is limited parking at the gate.  From the gate visitors will need to walk until they reach the Manistee River.  Follow the trail to the left, past camping spot #4.  Go over the 3 walking bridges.  At the third walking bridge you will find what used to be the waterfalls. 


Activities


Camping & Cabins

Show detail SHOW

Fishing

Show detail SHOW

Hiking

Hide detail HIDE

Day Hiking

Recreation areas with activity Day Hiking:

Backpacking

Recreation areas with activity Backpacking:

A 23-mile loop trail is formed with the Manistee River Trail along the Manistee River.  The loop trail can be accessed from the Marilla and Upper Branch Trailheads for the North Country National Scenic Trail and the Red Bridge and Seaton Creek accesses for the Manistee River Trail.


Winter Sports

Show detail SHOW