Manistee River Trail


Area Status: Open

Manistee River Trail

 

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 River Road Trailheads for the North Country National Scenic Trail and the Red Bridge and Seaton Creek accesses for the Manistee River Trail.

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 Albums

At a Glance

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 -
  • Seaton Creek Campground
Permit Info: Special Use Permit -
  • Permits are required for commercial, event or large groups (75 people or more).
  • No special use permit is required for individuals or small groups (74 people or less).
Visit the Passes and Permits section for more information on obtaining a special use permit.
Usage: Light
Best Season: January 1 to December 31
Busiest Season: May to October
Restrictions: Allowed -
  • Hiking
  • Pets on leash
  • Nonmotorized snow use
  • Nonmotorized mechanized equipment except bicycles
Prohibited -
  • Motorized vehicles
  • Motorized over-snow vehicles
  • Bicycles
  • Horse and pack animals
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
Closest Towns: Brethren, Mesick
Water: None
Operated By: Cadillac/Manistee Ranger District - 231-577-8902
Information Center: Cadillac/Manistee Ranger Station

General Information

General Notes:

Location -  Manistee River, Manistee River Trail

Nearby Recreation Areas -

Trailheads -  Seaton Creek, Red Bridge

Campgrounds - Seaton Creek, Manistee River Primitive Camping - 43 sites - Red Bridge

County -  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.


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Campground Camping

Recreation areas with activity Campground Camping:

Seaton Creek Campground: Seaton Creek Campground is adjacent to Seaton Creek at the upper end of the backwater of Hodenpyl Dam Pond on the Manistee River.

There are 43 primitive campsites along the trail.  They are designated by numbered carsonite posts.

Group Camping

Recreation areas with activity Group Camping:

River and Stream Fishing

Recreation areas with activity River and Stream Fishing:
Fishing Mode Shore, Wade
Fish Species Salmon, Steelhead, Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, Walleye, Sucker
Fishing Platform No
Cleaning Station No
Water Temperature Cold
Accessible Platform No
Fishing Method Fly, Pole

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.

XC Skiing/Snowshoeing

Recreation areas with activity XC Skiing/Snowshoeing:

 The trail is not groomed in winter.  Seaton Creek is closed and gated, however the trailhead at Red Bridge is open in winter.

Nearby Resorts No
Warming Shelters No
Base Conditions Not Groomed

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Location

 
  Area/Length : 
8.8 miles