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Freesoil Trailhead

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

North Country National Scenic Trail

Going North - Heading north will take you to the Udell Trailhead.  The trail from Udell Trailhead to Freesoil Trailhead traverses the Udell Hills.  After the trail crosses the Little Manistee River, the terrain changes form mixed hardwoods to wetlands.  The trail heading north was formerly a narrow gauge railroad that was elevated above the wetlands in the early 1900's by lumberjacks.  The trail winds through the wetlands and swamp in this section.  However, about 3.5 miles north of the trailhead a boardwalk has been put in through the wetland areas.  Mountain bikes are allowed going both north and south from this trailhead.

 Going north from Freesoil Trailhead -

  • Freesoil Trailhead to 3-Mile Rd. - Easy
  • 3-Mile Rd. to Udell Trailhead - Intermediate

Going South - Heading south will take you to the Timber Creek Trailhead.  The trail from Freesoil Trailhead to Timber Creek passes through Ward Hills, past McCarthy Lake and through very steeply hilled terrain.  The portion of trail running from Timber Creek Trailhead to the Manistee River is the most advanced riding on this portion of the trail for mountain bikes.

Going south from Freesoil Trailhead -

  • Freesoil Trailhead to Timber Creek Trailhead - Intermediate

Brochure with map:  This brochure is set to print on 11 x 17 paper, landscape (wide) orientation.  To print on 8 1/2 x 11 paper set the print area to "shrink to printable area", this will make the text on the page smaller.

Flickr Photo Album

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week unless otherwise posted.
Area Amenities: Parking
Fees No Fee
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).
Visit the Passes and Permits section for more information on obtaining a special use permit.
Open Season: April 1
Usage: Light
Best Season: January 1 to December 31
Busiest Season: May to October
Restrictions: Allowed - Hiking, Llamas, Bicycles, Pets on leash, snowshoes, cross-country skiing, Nonmotorized mechanized equipment Prohibited - Motorized vehicles, Over-snow motorized vehicles, Pack/saddle animals, Trespassing on private land As a visitor to the National Forest, you are asked to follow certain rules designed to protect the Forest, natural resources and to provide for public safety of visitors.  These rules are available to you on-line or at any office of the Huron-Manistee National Forests. Please take time to read and understand them. General Topic orders apply across the Forests. Applicable Orders -
  • Motorized Vehicle Use of Roads, Trails and Off-road Areas
  • Occupancy and Use
  • North Country National Scenic Trail
Closest Towns: Freesoil
Water: None
Operated By: Cadillac Manistee Ranger District - (231) 723-2211
Information Center:

General Information


From Manistee -

  • Travel south on US-31 for 9 miles.
  • Turn left and travel east on Freesoil Rd. for 13 miles.
  • The site is located at the corner of Elk Hwy. and Freesoil Rd.

General Notes:

Location -   North Country National Scenic Trail

Nearby Recreation Areas -  None 

County -  Lake   



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Winter Sports

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XC Skiing/Snowshoeing

Nearby ResortsNo
Warming SheltersNo


Parking 6 vehicle capacity