Manistee River Trail

Area Status: Open
This area is 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.


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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 -
  • 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).
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:

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


Camping & Cabins

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Winter Sports

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