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Area Name Status Short Description
40th St. Trailhead
 
76th St. Trailhead
 
Au Sable Area
 
Au Sable National Scenic River Click for more information

The Shore-to-Shore Trail passes near Gabions Campground, however, it is not a designated horse camp or trailhead and horse camping is not permitted.

Au Sable River Click for more information

Both the Highbanks River Trail and Eagle Run Cross-country Ski and Hiking trail are located near the lower stretch of the Au Sable River (4001 Canoe Landing to Lake Huron). 

Highbanks River Trail runs along the Au Sable River and provides visitors several scenic views of the river and surrounding river valley.  This trail access many of the recreation sites along the river, including Lumberman's Monument Visitor Center. 

Eagle Run Cross-country Ski and Hiking Trail provides a loop trail system with scenic views of the Au Sable River and a quiet setting where visitors can enjoy nature firsthand. 

Bear Track Campground Click for more information

There is a connector trail to the North Country National Scenic Trail from this campground. 

Big M Cross-Country and Mountain Bike Trail
 
Blacksmith Bayou Access Site
 
Bowman Lake Area Click for more information

This area has both the North Country National Scenic Trail and the Bowman Lake Trail running through it. 

Bowman Lake Trailhead
 
Briar Hills Area
 
Condon Lakes West
 
Cooke Area
 
Corsair Area Click for more information

Corsair Trail has 28.3 miles of one-way trail that varies from gently rolling, easy terrain to somewhat hilly, most difficult terrain. The trails may be hiked anytime during the snow-free periods. The trails are marked with blue diamond-shaped confidence markers.

Corsair Hiking and Cross Country Skiing Trail
 
Freesoil Trailhead
 
Gabions Campground and Day Use Click for more information

This campground is located near the Shore-to-Shore Trail, but is not a trailhead for the trail. 

High Bridge Access Site
 
Hoist Lake Area
 
Hoist/Reid Lake Areas Click for more information

Hoist Lake foot travel area encompasses almost 10,000 acres of pine, aspen and hardwood forest. There are 19 miles of looped trail. Hiking trails and back-country skiing are permitted; however, there are no groomed trails. Cross country skiing ranges from moderate to more difficult/most difficult due to length of trails. Hiking ranges from moderate to more difficult/most difficult. Hunting and fishing are permitted in season.

Reid Lake Semi-Primitive Nonmotorized Area has 12-miles of gently rolling trail that will lead you around Reid lake. The trails are open for back-country skiing in the winter, and are not groomed.  Difficulty on the trails ranges from easy to more difficult.

Huron-Manistee National Forests Click for more information

Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness signTrail Maps

Trail maps are located in the Maps and Publications section of the website.  

Camping

Several trails have campgrounds located on or near the trail.

 

Drinking Water

Not all trailheads have drinking water. 

 

Recreation Enhancement Act Fees

Look for this sign when you enter the site: Recreation Fee Symbol - Sign at Recreation Sites

Passes can be paid for at the site by using a fee envelope, located near the bulletin board or can be purchased from a Forest Serice Office or vendor.  For more information on which passes are available and which pass will best suit your needs during your visit,  visit the Passes and Permits section of the website.

Trail
Length
Bowman Lake
10
Corsair
28.3
Crystal Valley
12
Eagle Run
6.8
Forest Discovery Trail
.6
Highbanks
7
Hoist Lake
19.6
Island Lake Nature Trail
1.25
Loda Lake
1.2
Loud Trail
7.6
Manistee River Trail
10.5
McKenzie
10.1
Midland to Mackinaw Trail
14
Nordhouse Dunes
14
North Country Trail
128
Ruffed Grouse Walk
.6
Shore to Shore Trail
85
Wakeley Lake
8.6
Wolf Creek Trail
4.5
Lake Michigan Click for more information

Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area is open to hiking.  The 10-miles of trail can be accessed from either Lake Michigan Recreation Area or Nurnberg Road Trailhead. 

The trail system within the dunes is minimally signed.  While some sections of trail will lead visitors to Lake Michigan, others head to Nordhouse Lake.  There are several dispersed sites along the trail. 

Visitors are encouraged to bring a compass/GPS unit and a current map when hiking the wilderness. 

Little Manistee River, National Scenic Study River Click for more information

Bear Track Campground has a short, 1.5 mile connector trail to the North Country National Scenic Trail. 

Luzerne Horse Trail Campground and Trailhead
 
M-37: White Cloud to Baldwin Click for more information

All of these trails are located off of M-37.  In addition to Loda Lake National Widlflower Sanctuary and Condon Lakes West,  the North Country National Scenic Trail has several trailheads located in this area.

Condon Lake West is a Special Area and there are no trails.

Loda Lake is an area that includes a small spring-fed lake, a bog-like wetland area, a creek and riparian marshy areas, oak forest, pine plantations, and an early successional old farm site. There is a 1.2 mile interpretive trail where visitors can stop to identify some of the 238 identified plant species found around the numbered posts using the trail guide and map.  Boardwalks and resting benches around the trail make the short walk easier for those looking for something less strenuous.

A connector trail provides access to the North Country Trail.  A second connector trail links Loda Lake to the Birch Grove Hiking Trail, which will take visitors to the North Country Trail Association Schoolhouse and the Newaygo County Park on Diamond Lake.

Trailheads for the North Country National Scenic Trail from this area are: 76th St. Trailhead and Nichols Lake North Trailhead.

M-55: Manistee to Cadillac Click for more information

The Big "M" trail is located of M-55 between Cadillac and Wellston.  The trail offers a variety of terrain to challenge every biking and skiing experience level.  Most trails are one-way (clock-wise) and should not be biked backwards. 

The Mackenzie Trail is in the Caberfae area just south of Cadillac.  The trail is 10 miles long with loop combinations of varying lengths available for all levels of difficulty. 

The 16.4 mile Marzinski Horse Trail will take visitors through a mixed hardwood and pine forest.

For those that want to hike without the trail, the Briar Hills Semi-primitive Non-motorized Area is located just off M-55. 

And for those who are looking for a short tour, the Udell Lookout Tower located off Fire Tower Road provides visitors an opportunity to stretch their legs.  This site also has a connector trail to the Big "M", but is NOT a parking lot for that trail. 

Manistee National Recreation River Click for more information

Both the North Country National Scenic Trail and the Manistee River Trail can be accessed from different sites along the Manistee River.  Visit those pages for more information.

Manistee River Click for more information

The 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.
 

North Country National Scenic 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.

The portion of the trail between Blacksmith Bayou and High Bridge, along the Manistee River, is a signed interpretive trail and is maintained in partnership with trail volunteers.

The North Country National Scenic Trail also passes below and west of Sawdust Hole. 

Bear Creek -

A short, 1/4 mile walk is located along Bear Creek at the Bear Creek River Access Site for those wanting a quick stretch of the legs. 

Manistee River Special Area-

For those wishing to hike without trails, the 7,900 acre area will provide that opportunity. 

Manistee River Area
 
Manistee River Trail Click for more information

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.

Marilla Trailhead
 
McKinley Horse Trail Campground
 
Midland to Mackinaw Trail  
 
Nichols Lake North
 
Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area Click for more information

The trail system within the dunes is limited and minimally signed.

North Country National Scenic Trail Click for more information

A group of scouts hiking the trail near Nichols Lake.Marilla Trailhead is the northen most access to the trail on the Huron-Manistee National Forests.  Information is provided north to south.

From Marilla to Upper River the trail follows the ridge high above the Manistee River, offering hikers scenic views of the river valley. The only water source is at Eddington Creek Crossing, 1.5 miles south of Marilla Trailhead.

From Upper River Road to Udell, particularly in the Dilling Rd. area, visitors will traverse many hills.  After crossing Coates Highway, visitors will climb up a hill to a flat, forested area. 

From Udell to Freesoil  the trail traverses the Udell Hills.  After the trail crosses the Little Manistee River the terrain changes form mixed hardwoods to wetlands.  The trail heading south 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. 

From Freesoil to Timber Creek  the trail  passes through Ward Hills, past McCarthy Lake and through very steeply hilled terrain. 

From Timber Creek to Bowman Lake visitors will travel along the Pere Marquette National Scenic River near Sulak and Upper Branch Bridge River Access after crossing US-10.  Before reaching the Bowman Lake Trailhead the trail travels through the Bowman Lake Semi-Primitive Nonmotorized Area.

From Bowman Lake to 76th Street, hikers will travel toward and along the Pere Marquette National Scenic River.  As hikers travel south, away from Bowman Lake, the terrain will get progressively less hilly.  Glacial depressions are found in this area and provide homes for many species of wildlife

From 76th Street to Nichols Lake North, visitors will find themselves in a heavily wooded red pine area with several stream crossings.  Hikers will travel through Sterling Marsh, several boardwalks raise the trail above water level.  The trail also passes through Stiles Swamp and towards Nichols Lake North.

From Nichols Lake North and/or Nichols Lake South to M-20, visitors will cross Bear Creek before heading through a marshy area that gradually shifts to hills.  There are several road crossings along this portion of trail.  As the trail travels south the marshy areas will give way to hills.  As visitors get closer to M-20 they will cross Cole Creek.

From M-20 to 40th Street visitors will find themselves in a heavily wooded red pine area with several stream crossings. A steel girder bridge will take hikers across the White River.

From 40th Street to Croton Dam, hikers will cross Bigelow Creek.  The trail provides access to Coolbough Nature Preserve. A spur trail will take visitors to Twinwood Campground.  40th St. is the last trailhead on the North Country National Scenic Trail operated by the Huron-Manistee National Forests. 

Backpacking trips can be done between several of the trailheads or by hiking longer sections of the trail.  For information on hiking the full 4,200-miles of trail or longer sections that are not part of the Huron-Manistee National Forests visit the National Park Service website Trip Planning page.

Pere Marquette River Click for more information

The North Country Trail runs through the Bowman Lake Semi-Primitive Nonmotorized Area.  For more information visit the North Country National Scenic Trail page, or visit the Maps and Publications page.

For those wishing to hike off the trail, both the Bowman Lake and Whelan Lake Semi-Primitive Areas are open to hiking. 

Red Bridge River Access Site Click for more information

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.

Reid Lake Foot Travel Area
 
River Road Trail Camp and Trailhead
 
Sawdust Hole River Access Click for more information

This site is not a trailhead for the North Country National Scenic Trail but is located near the trail.  Visitors are within a short driving and/or walking  distance to the Dilling Rd. access. 

Seaton Creek Campground Click for more information

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.

Shore-to-Shore State Horse Trail Click for more information

The trail is open to hiking.  Campgrounds are spaced 25-miles apart and there are no other trailheads between them along the portion of trail that runs through the Huron-Manistee National Forests. 

South Branch Au Sable Area
 
South Branch Trail Campground and Trailhead
 
Udell Trailhead
 
Wakeley Lake Area
 
Wakeley Lake Area Click for more information

There are no trails in either the South Branch Au Sable and White Water Creek Semi-Primitive Nonmotorized Areas, so visitors are urged to bring a compass and map with them. 

Wakeley Lake has an 8.5 mile hiking system and back-country ski trail.  A map is available on the Maps and Publications page.

Whelan Lake Area
 
White River Click for more information

The White River Semi-Primitive Nonmotorized Area (SPNMA)  is open to hikers.  Several roads traverse the area.  Hikers may also walk near several acres of habitat for the federally endangered Karner Blue butterfly.  There are no desigated trails through the SPNMA and visitors are encouraged to carry a map and compass. 

White River Area
 
White Water Creek Area
 
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Area Name Status Short Description
Huron-Manistee National Forests Click for more information

Lake Michigan shoreline within the Lake Michigan Recreation Area boundary.  Footsteps in the sand along the shoreline.Only a small portion of the Huron-Manistee National Forests are located along the shorelines of Lake Michigan or Lake Huron.  Lake Michigan Recreation Area and Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area abut Lake Michigan, and those seeking Petoskey stones will have an opportune time searching the beach.  While there are no recreation areas located on Lake Huron, several areas are located within driving distance. 

The Lake Michigan Recreation Area and Nurnberg Trailhead charge a day use fee.

Lake Michigan Click for more information

Visitors can enjoy a walk along the beach, looking for petosky stones, at both Lake Michigan Recreation Area and Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area.  From Lake Michigan Recreation Area visitors can head directly from the boardwalk to the beach, while visitors to Nordhouse Dunes can enjoy the beach after their trek along the wilderness trails. 

Lake Michigan Recreation Area Click for more information

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amenities -

  • Playground
  • Pedestal grills
  • Overlook deck
  • Beach
  • Bike trail
  • Amphitheater
Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area Click for more information

Collecting woody material from beaches or other sandy areas is prohibited. Woody material includes, but is not limited to: driftwood, shipwreck timbers and pine knots


Area Name Status Short Description
Huron-Manistee National Forests Click for more information

Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area - view of the dunes from the top of a hill with Lake Michigan in the distance.There are many recreation sites on the forest that have swimming beaches available.  The Forest Service does not staff lifeguards, and swimming is done at your own risk.

The Huron-Manistee National Forests are home to a unique dunal ecosystem.  Nordhouse Dunes is part of the Ludington Dune Ecosystem, which also includes Lake Michigan Recreation Area and Ludington State Park.  The dunes were formed 3,500 to 4,000 years ago and stand up to 140 feet high.  Ludington Dune Ecosystem has the largest area of fresh water interdunal ponds in the world.  The interdunal ponds, small water holes and marshes, decorate the area.  Dune grass covers many of the dunes and provides habitat for a variety of wildlife species.

The sites listed below charge a fee.  Any sites listed in italics also have drinking water.

Table listing areas that require a recreation or Concession day use fee:

Parent Location Recration Site
Corsair Area Round Lake
Sand Lake Day Use
Hoist/Reid Lake Areas Jewell Lake
Lake Michigan Lake Michigan Recreation Area
Hoags Lake
Nordhouse Dunes Trailhead
Manistee/Wellston - Udell Hills Area Sand Lake Recreation Area
Pine National Scenic River Peterson Bridge South
Wagner Lake Area Island Lake
Loon Lake
Wagner Lake
Wakeley Lake Area Kneff Lake

Look for this sign when you enter the site: Recreation Fee Symbol - Sign at Recreation Sites

Passes can be paid for at the site by using a fee envelope, located near the bulletin board or can be purchased from a Forest Serice Office or vendor.  For more information on which passes are available and which pass will best suit your needs during your visit,  visit the Passes and Permits section of the website.


Area Name Status Short Description
Huron-Manistee National Forests Click for more information

A man bicycling in the Lake Michigan Recreation Area.There are several trails on the forest open to mountain biking, including portions of the North Country National Scenic Trail.  With much of the forest having a sandy base and/or topography, trails range from moderate to difficult.

 

Trail
Length
Big M
37
Bowman Lake
10
Eagle Run
6.8
Hungerford
10.6
McKenzie
10.1
Midland to Mackinaw Trail
14
North Country Trail
128

 

Look for this sign when you enter the site: Recreation Fee Symbol - Sign at Recreation Sites

Passes can be paid for at the site by using a fee envelope, located near the bulletin board or can be purchased from a Forest Serice Office or vendor.  For more information on which passes are available and which pass will best suit your needs during your visit,  visit the Passes and Permits section of the website.

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Area Name Status Short Description
Au Sable River Click for more information

Motorized boating is allowed on the impoundments of the Au Sable River.  Motorized boating is not recommended on the Wild and Scenic Section of the river, from Mio Pond to Alcona Dam.

Au Sable River - Alcona Dam to Lake Huron Click for more information

Motorized boating is allowed on the impoundments of the Au Sable River.  Motorized boating is not recommended on the Wild and Scenic Section of the river, from Mio Pond to Alcona Dam. The 54 miles of river from Alcona Dam to Lake Huron create a lake-like atmosphere, but narrow stretches from Alcona Dam to Loud Pond and the lower Au Sable below Foote Dam are perfect for canoes and kayaks.

Au Sable River Primitive Camping Click for more information

Alcona Pond - is a 953-acre impoundment about 5-miles long the mainstream of the AuSable River.  The maximum depth is around 39 feet.

Loud Pond - The impoundment is 937-acres about 3-miles long. The maximum depth is approximatly 27 feet.

Five Channels - a 237-acre impoundment approximately 4-miles long along the mainstream of the Au Sable River. The maximum depth is around 34 feet.

Cooke Pond - is a 1,942-acre impoundment behind Cook Dam on the mainstream of the Au Sable River. The maximum depth is about 38 feet.

Foote Pond - a 1,824-acre impoundment behind Foote Dam on the mainstream of the AuSable River.  The impoundment is 0.5 miles long and consists of two separate aquatic environments.  The maximum depth is around 39 feet.

Bear Creek River Access Site
 
Blacksmith Bayou Access Site
 
Brush Lake Campground
 
Corsair Area Click for more information

Sand Lake Picnic and Swimming Area is located on the 248-acre Sand Lake. The beach and picnic area provide the only public access to the lake.


Round Lake Campground is a wooded camping area offering a wide variety of recreation opportunities. Most of the ownership around the lake is private. This access provides the only public access on the lake.

Government Landing
 
Hamlin Lake Boat Access
 
Hemlock Campground and Boat Launch
 
High Bridge Access Site
 
Hoags Lake Day Use Area
 
Hoist/Reid Lake Areas Click for more information

Horseshoe Lake: The small lake offers a variety of fishing opportunities. This is a small area with limited parking.

Jewell Lake Campground is located on the east side of Jewell Lake. This lake offers a wide variety of fishing and boating opportunities.

Horseshoe Lake Campground and Boat Launch
 
Hungerford Recreation Area Click for more information

The 30-acre lake offers a variety of fishing and boating opportunities.  There is mixed federal and private ownership around the lake.

Huron-Manistee National Forests Click for more information

Manistee River near the High Bridge River Access site.Motorized boating is allowed on many of the lakes with Federal Access, most of the boat launches are gravel or asphalt and are located within Forest Service Campgrounds.  

Two rivers, the AuSable  and the Manistee are popular for motorized boating.  The impoundments of the AuSable create a lake-like atmosphere, popular for motor-boating and fishing.  Motorized boating is not recommended on the Wild and Scenic Section of the Au Sable River, from Mio Pond to Alcona Dam.  The Manistee River is wide and deep with a swift current and slow, wide bends.  

 

Some recreation sites require a Recreation Enhancement Act or Concession Day Use Fee, those sites are listed below:  

Area
Site
Au Sable River Pine Acres
Sawmill
Whirlpool
Cadillac/Wellston Hemlock
Corsair Round Lake
Highbank/Loda Lake Loda Lake
Shelley Lake
Hoist/Reid Horseshoe Lake
Jewell Lake
Lake Michigan Hoags Lake
Manistee River Bear Creek
Blacksmith Bayou
High Bridge
Rainbow Bend
Manistee/Wellston Pine Lake
Sand Lake
North Country Trail Nichols Lake South
Pere Marquette River Indian Bridge - going south

Look for this sign when you enter the site: Recreation Fee Symbol - Sign at Recreation Sites

Passes can be paid for at the site by using a fee envelope, located near the bulletin board or can be purchased from a Forest Serice Office or vendor.  For more information on which passes are available and which pass will best suit your needs during your visit,  visit the Passes and Permits section of the website.

Indian Bridge Click for more information

Boats with motors are allowed downstream of Indian Bridge.  No motors are allowed upstream of this site. 

Indian Lake Campground
 
Jewell Lake Campground
 
Lake Michigan Click for more information

Hamlin Lake access is located on the east end of Hamlin Lake, where the Sable River enters the lake. There are cattail and other marsh plants in the area. Federal access is limited to this far end of the lake, the remainder of the shoreline is privately owned. The west end is comprised of Ludington State park. Across from the boat launch is an eagle nest that may be seen before trees leaf out. Poison ivy is located along the shoreline.

Little Muskegon River
 
Loda Lake National Wildflower Sanctuary
 
M-37: White Cloud to Baldwin Click for more information

Benton Lake Campground: Benton Lake is a 33-acre lake completely surrounded by National Forest land.

Brush Lake Campground: The 7-site campground is located on the shores of Brush Lake, which is entirely surrounded by National Forest System lands. There is a drive-in boat launch on the eastern shore of the river and a smaller carry-in boat launch in the campground. This site is very popular with anglers and hunters. It is also a popular wildlife viewing area and a good stop for viewing fall colors.

Indian Lake Campground: Indian Lake Campground is a 6-site campground located on the 34-acre Indian Lake. The lake is surrounded by national forest, except a few small private ownerships on the northwest and southeast sides of the lake. The lake has clear water and a sandy bottom, and is popular for fishing. A boat launch provides both motorized and nonmotorized boating access to visitors. The lake is shallow and is characterized by reeds around the edges. The lake at its deepest is 10 feet.

Loda Lake Wildflower Sanctuary: Loda Lake is an area that includes a small spring-fed lake, a bog-like wetland area, a creek and riparian marshy areas, oak forest and pine plantations.

Minnie Pond Campground: This 11-site campground is located on Minnie Pond, a human-made impoundment. Ducks, geese and heron frequent the area. This is a popular area for small and large game and waterfowl hunting. A foot bridge on Mena Creek connects the campground to the day use area. The day use area is located on the side of the creek. No ORV's are allowed in the campground or on the access road to the campground.

Nichols Lake Campground: This 30-site campground is located on the south side of the lake, with a day use area located on the north side. In addition to camping, the campground has fishing and swimming. There is a beach and accessible fishing pier available. A wood ramp and stairs lead down to the lake from the campground. A short path along the lake provides access for fishing.

Shelly Lake Campground: Shelley Lake is a 15-acre lake, surrounded by National Forest land, the 8-site family-style campground is the only access to the lake. A foot-bridge over the creek leads to one of the sites. This campground is very popular during fishing season. Sites are surrounded by an oak and maple forest. The lake is only 15-feet at its deepest point.

Twinwood Lake Campground: Bigelow Creek feeds into Twinwood Lake next to the 5-site campground and creates a good current in the lake. Ice fishing is a very popular on this lake. This beautiful area is forested with white pine and provides ample opportunity for wildlife viewing. Swans frequent the lake, and eagles have historically nested in the area. Waterfowl are plentiful and this is a popular area for hunting and fishing in season.

Walkup Lake Campground: This 12-site campground is located on Walkup Lake.

M-55: Manistee to Cadillac Click for more information

Lake Mitchell, just outside Cadillac, can be accessed from Hemlock Campground.  This lake is connected to Lake Cadillac via a causeway on the eastern side of the lake.  The primary access for both lakes is in Cadillac. There is a concrete boat ramp at the Hemlock Boat Launch. 

Pine Lake is swampy on the west side, near the campground.  A gravel boat access is available.

Sand Lake is sandy bottomed.  A back-in, asphalt boat launch is available.  

Manistee National Recreation River
 
Manistee River Click for more information

Motorized boating is allowed on the Manistee National Recreation River.  Access sites listed below have launches suited to putting a motorized boat into the river. 

Minnie Pond Campground
 
Nichols Lake South Campground Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Gravel Boat Launch
Pere Marquette National Scenic River Click for more information

No motors are permitted upstream of Indian Bridge.  This is the only motorized boat access operated by the Forest Service on the Pere Marquette. 

Pere Marquette River Click for more information

Motorized boating is allowed downstream of Indian Bridge.  No motors are permitted upstream within the National Scenic River portion.  This is the only motorized boat access operated on the Pere Marquette by the Forest Service. 

Pine Acres Boat Launch
 
Pine Lake Campground
 
Rainbow Bend Access Site
 
Red Bridge River Access Site
 
River Road National Scenic Byway Click for more information

For information on motorized boating, visit the Au Sable River page.

Round Lake Campground and Day Use Area
 
Sand Lake Recreation Area
 
Sawmill Point Boat Launch
 
Shelley Lake Campground
 
Twinwood Lake Campground
 
Walkup Lake Campground
 
Whirlpool Angler Access

No wake zone. 

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Area Name Status Short Description
4001 Canoe Landing Click for more information

4001 Canoe Landing - canoers4001 Canoe Landing is the last take-out on the scenic portion of the river. 

For more information on paddling the Au Sable National Scenic River, including flow, watercraft size restrictions and difficulty, visit the Au Sable National Scenic River page.

Au Sable Area
 
Au Sable Loop Campground and Day Use Area Click for more information

For more information on paddling the Au Sable National Scenic River, including flow, watercraft size restrictions and difficulty, visit the Au Sable National Scenic River page.

Au Sable National Scenic River This area is Open Click for more information

A 65-mile section of the river from Grayling to Alcona Dam is unrestricted to canoeing and kayaking. The river channel is wide and up to 125 ft. wide in some places. The river is well defined with banks that vary from one or two feet above the water level to steep banks that are over 80 feet high. Currents range from 2 mph in straight stretches, to currents of 4-8 mph on more winding passages. Water levels near dam sites fluctuate and caution is advised. The river drops approximately 50 feet in elevation over a course of 23 miles. Ownership along the river is primarily federal, with a few sections of private ownership. 

 

Site Miles Hours
Mio/M-33 (Township) to Louds Rest Stop 2 1
Loud's to Comins Flats(MI-DNR) 5.5 1.5
Comin's Flats (MI-DNR) to Davis Rest Stop 4 1.25
Davis Rest Stop to McKinley Landing 3.5 1
McKinley to 4001 Bridge 8 2.5

 

Louds Rest Stop is one of the many locations along the river for paddlers to stop and take a break on their trip down the river.  The site offers views of the river, as well as fishing access for trout.   There is a small parking area and a small river access at this site.   The access is located a short walk from the parking area.   This site is not gated in winter, and has no maintenance - road and parking area are not plowed, no toilet facilities are available.  

 

Davis Rest Stop is a second location along the river for paddlers to stop and take a break on their trip down the river.   This site is also used as a carry-down boat launch for canoes and kayaks.  This site is not gated in winter, and has no maintenance - road and parking area are not plowed, no toilet facilities are available. 

 

McKinley Landing is located just off the road.  A short access road takes visitors to the turn-around and launch area.  surrounded by mixed hardwoods, this popular site is located just after a bend in the river, before McKinley Bridge.   Paddlers who choose to continue downstream will pass under the bridge on their way towards Gabions Campground.   There is no parking, but a bus pick-up area and parking are available a short walk down the road at the McKinley ORV/Snowmobile Trailhead.

 

4001 Canoe Landing is the last take-out for the scenic section before paddlers reach the impoundment/dams.   As you come around the bend just south of the Gabions you will pass under Federal Highway 4001 and see the landing, located on your right.   Set amid a backdrop of mixed hardwoods, the gravel landing area leads up to a pick-up area and parking lot.  As the last-take out before the impoundment, this site has a high rate of use during weekends and holidays, but is relatively quiet on weekdays.  While there is no camping at this site, the Gabions Campground is located east on 4001 Rd., on the right.  This site is not gated in winter, and has no maintenance - road and parking area are not plowed, no toilet facilities are available.  

Au Sable River Click for more information

A 65-mile section of the river from Grayling to Alcona Dam are unrestricted to canoeing and kayaking.  The 54 miles of river from Alcona Dam to Lake Huron create a lake-like atmosphere, but narrow stretches from Alcona Dam to Loud Pond and the lower Au Sable below Foote Dam are perfect for canoes and kayaks. 

Au Sable River - Alcona Dam to Lake Huron Click for more information

Whirlpool - paddlers at boat launchMotorized boating is allowed on the impoundments of the Au Sable River.  No motorized boating is allowed on the Wild and Scenic Section of the river, from Mio Pond to Alcona Dam. The 54 miles of river from Alcona Dam to Lake Huron create a lake-like atmosphere, but narrow stretches from Alcona Dam to Loud Pond and the lower Au Sable below Foote Dam are perfect for canoes and kayaks.

Au Sable River Primitive Camping Click for more information

Alcona Pond - is a 953-acre impoundment about 5-miles long the mainstream of the AuSable River.  The maximum depth is around 39 feet.

Loud Pond - The impoundment is 937-acres about 3-miles long. The maximum depth is approximatly 27 feet.

Five Channels - a 237-acre impoundment approximately 4-miles long along the mainstream of the Au Sable River. The maximum depth is around 34 feet.

Cooke Pond - is a 1,942-acre impoundment behind Cook Dam on the mainstream of the Au Sable River. The maximum depth is about 38 feet.

Foote Pond - a 1,824-acre impoundment behind Foote Dam on the mainstream of the AuSable River.  The impoundment is 0.5 miles long and consists of two separate aquatic environments.  The maximum depth is around 39 feet.

Bear Creek River Access Site
 
Bear Creek Scenic River
 
Bear Track Campground Click for more information

For more information on paddling the Little Manistee River, including flow, watercraft size restrictions and difficulty, visit the Little Manistee National Scenic Study River page. 

Blacksmith Bayou Access Site
 
Bowman Bridge Campground and River Access
 
Bowman Lake Area
 
Bowman Lake Campground
 
Brush Lake Campground
 
Buttercup Campground Click for more information

For more information on paddling the Au Sable National Scenic River, including flow, watercraft size restrictions and difficulty, visit the Au Sable National Scenic River page.

Cathedral Pines Campground Click for more information

There is no motorized access to this site. 

For more information on paddling the Au Sable National Scenic River, including flow, watercraft size restrictions and difficulty, visit the Au Sable National Scenic River page.

Cooke Area

Boating is on the Au Sable River.

Corsair Area Click for more information

Sand Lake Picnic and Swimming Area is located on the 248-acre Sand Lake. The beach and picnic area provide the only public access to the lake.


Round Lake Campground is a wooded camping area offering a wide variety of recreation opportunities. Most of the ownership around the lake is private. This access provides the only public access on the lake.

Davis Rest Stop Click for more information

For more information on paddling the Au Sable River visit the Au Sable River page. 

Diamond Point
 
Dobson Bridge River Access Click for more information

Canoeing and kayaking are the primary activities on this river, with much of the appeal being the fast water and light rapids. The Pine River has a river gradient of 7% and offers the fastest average flow of any river in lower Michigan.

Elk Canoe Campground Click for more information

For more information on boating the Pere Marquette National Scenic River visit the section on the Pere Marquette National Scenic River page.

Elm Flats Canoe Landing Click for more information

Canoeing and kayaking are the primary activities on this river, with much of the appeal being the fast water and light rapids. The Pine River has a river gradient of 7% and offers the fastest average flow of any river in lower Michigan. 

Gabions Campground and Day Use Click for more information

For more information on paddling the Au Sable National Scenic River, including flow, watercraft size restrictions and difficulty, visit the Au Sable National Scenic River page.

Gleason's Landing Campground and River Access
 
Green Cottage
 
Hamlin Lake Boat Access
 
Hemlock Campground and Boat Launch
 
High Bridge Access Site
 
Highbank Lake Campground
 
Hoags Lake Day Use Area
 
Hoist Lake Area Click for more information

There are several small lakes within the area.  Boating is carry-in only. 

Hoist/Reid Lake Areas Click for more information

Sprinkler Lake, Reid and Hoist Lake Semi-Primitive Nonmotorized Areas have lakes where visitors can canoe or kayak, however, watercraft must be walked into the lakes. 

Jewell Lake and Horseshoe Lake have small boat launches available for both motorized and nonmotorized watercraft. 

Horseshoe Lake Campground and Boat Launch
 
Hungerford Recreation Area Click for more information

The 30-acre lake offers a variety of fishing and boating opportunities.  There is mixed federal and private ownership around the lake.

Huron-Manistee National Forests Click for more information

Canoeing on the Au Sable National Scenic River

The sites below charge a Recreation or Concession day use fee:

Area
Site
Au Sable River - Scenic 4001 Landing
Au Sable Loop
Gabions
Au Sable River Pine Acres
Sawmill Point
Thompson's Landing
Whirlpool
Cadillac/Wellston Hemlock
Corsair Round Lake
Highbank/Loda Lake Loda Lake
Shelley Lake
Hoist/Reid Lake Horseshoe Lake
Jewell Lake
Reid Lake - M-72
Lake Michigan Hoags Lake
Little Manistee Bear Track
Manistee River Bear Creek
Blacksmith Bayou
High Bridge
Rainbow Bend
Sawdust Hole
Manistee/Wellston Pine Lake
Sand Lake
North Country Trail Highbank Lake
Nichols Lake South
Twinwood
Pere Marquette River Bowman Bridge
Gleason's
Green Cottage
Indian Bridge
Rainbow Rapids
Upper Branch
Pine River Dobson
Elm
Low Bridge
Peterson Bridge - North/South
Wagner Island Lake
Loon Lake
Wagner
Wakeley Lake Kneff Lake
Wakeley Lake
White River Pines Point

Look for this sign when you enter the site: Recreation Fee Symbol - Sign at Recreation Sites

Passes can be paid for at the site by using a fee envelope, located near the bulletin board or can be purchased from a Forest Serice Office or vendor.  For more information on which passes are available and which pass will best suit your needs during your visit,  visit the Passes and Permits section of the website. 

Indian Bridge Click for more information

For more information on boating the Pere Marquette National Scenic River visit the section on the Pere Marquette or the Pere Marquette National Scenic River page.

Indian Lake Campground
 
Island Lake Campground
 
Jewell Lake Campground
 
Kneff Lake Campground
 
Lake Michigan Click for more information
Hamlin Lake access is located on the east end of Hamlin Lake, where the Sable River enters the lake. There are cattail and other marsh plants in the area. Federal access is limited to this far end of the lake, the remainder of the shoreline is privately owned. The west end is comprised of Ludington State park. Across from the boat launch is an eagle nest that may be seen before trees leaf out. Poison ivy is located along the shoreline.
Little Manistee River, National Scenic Study River
 
Little Muskegon River
 
Loda Lake National Wildflower Sanctuary
 
Logmark Rest Stop Click for more information

For more information on boating the Pere Marquette National Scenic River visit the section on the Pere Marquette or the Pere Marquette National Scenic River page.

Loon Lake Day Use Area
 
Loud's Rest Stop Click for more information

There is a river access located at this site.

For more information on paddling the Au Sable National Scenic River, including flow, watercraft size restrictions and difficulty, visit the Au Sable National Scenic River page.

Low Bridge Canoe Landing Click for more information

Canoeing and kayaking are the primary activities on this river, with much of the appeal being the fast water and light rapids. The Pine River has a river gradient of 7% and offers the fastest average flow of any river in lower Michigan.

M-37: White Cloud to Baldwin Click for more information

Benton Lake Campground: Benton Lake is a 33-acre lake completely surrounded by National Forest land.

Brush Lake Campground: Brush Lake, which is entirely surrounded by National Forest System lands has a drive-in boat launch on the eastern shore of the river and a smaller carry-in boat launch in the campground. This site is very popular with anglers and hunters. It is also a popular wildlife viewing area and a good stop for viewing fall colors.

Highbank Lake Campground: Located on the 20-acre Highbank Lake, which is completely surrounded by National Forest System land, this is a popular campground for anglers and hikers. The beach is very swim friendly, shallow with a sandy bottom.

Indian Lake Campground: Indian Lake Campground is a 6-site campground located on the 34-acre Indian Lake. The lake is surrounded by national forest, except a few small private ownerships on the northwest and southeast sides of the lake. The lake has clear water and a sandy bottom, and is popular for fishing. A boat launch provides both motorized and nonmotorized boating access to visitors. The lake is shallow and is characterized by reeds around the edges. The lake at its deepest is 10 feet.

Loda Lake Wildflower Sanctuary: Loda Lake is an area that includes a small spring-fed lake, a bog-like wetland area, a creek and riparian marshy areas, oak forest and pine plantations.

Minnie Pond Campground: This site is located on Minnie Pond, a human-made impoundment. Ducks, geese and heron frequent the area. This is a popular area for small and large game and waterfowl hunting. A foot bridge on Mena Creek connects the campground to the day use area.

Nichols Lake Campground: This site is located on the south side of the lake, with a day use area located on the north side. A wood ramp and stairs lead down to the lake from the campground. A short path along the lake provides access for fishing.

Shelly Lake Campground: Shelley Lake is a 15-acre lake, surrounded by National Forest land, the family-style campground is the only access to the lake. A foot-bridge over the creek leads to one of the sites. This campground is very popular during fishing season. Sites are surrounded by an oak and maple forest. The lake is only 15-feet at its deepest point.

Twinwood Lake Campground: Bigelow Creek feeds into Twinwood Lake next to the campground and creates a good current in the lake. Ice fishing is a very popular on this lake. This beautiful area is forested with white pine and provides ample opportunity for wildlife viewing. Swans frequent the lake, and eagles have historically nested in the area. Waterfowl are plentiful and this is a popular area for hunting and fishing in season.

Walkup Lake Campground: This 12-site campground is located on Walkup Lake.

M-55: Manistee to Cadillac Click for more information

Lake Mitchell, just outside Cadillac, can be accessed from Hemlock Campground.  This lake is connected to Lake Cadillac via a causeway on the eastern side of the lake.  The primary access for both lakes is in Cadillac. There is a concrete boat ramp at the Hemlock Boat Launch. 

Pine Lake is swampy on the west side, near the campground.  A gravel boat access is available.

Sand Lake is sandy bottomed.  A back-in, asphalt boat launch is available.  

Manistee National Recreation River Click for more information

The river is wide, with a swift current and mostly slow, wide bends.

Float Times -

  • Hodenpyl to Red Bridge: 3.5-4 hours
  • Red Bridge to Government Landing: 2-2.5 hours
  • Government Landing to High Bridge: 4 hours
  • High Bridge to Blacksmith Bayou: 20 minutes
  • Blacksmith Bayou to Bear Creek: 3.5 hours
  • Bear Creek to Rainbow Bend: 45 minutes
  • Rainbow Bend to M-55/Manistee: 4 hours

 

Manistee River Click for more information

The Manistee River between Tippy Dam and the M-55 Bridge was designated as a National Recreational River in 1996. The river is wide and characterized by steep banks and sharp bends, with a swift current and mostly slow, wide bends.

Manistee River Area
 
McKinley Landing Click for more information

There is no parking available at this site.

For more information on paddling the Au Sable National Scenic River, including flow, watercraft size restrictions and difficulty, visit the Au Sable National Scenic River page.

Meadow Springs Campground Click for more information

For more information on paddling the Au Sable National Scenic River, including flow, watercraft size restrictions and difficulty, visit the Au Sable National Scenic River page.

Minnie Pond Campground
 
Nichols Lake South Campground Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Gravel Boat Launch
Pere Marquette National Scenic River Click for more information

Sections of the river have consolidated clay soils that are highly resistant to erosion and create riffles below them. The gradient of the river is 4.1 feet per mile with a flow of 713 cubic feet per second. The river wanders gently across the central Michigan landscape, alternately hidden in the forested shadows of overhanging bluffs and stretched across the convoluted channel patters of grassy floodplains. Free flowing and clear for over 60-miles from the junction of the Middle and South Branches to its terminus in Lake Pere Marquette, the river is the longest river system in Michigan's Lower Peninsula without dams or impoundments.  Regionally the Pere Marquette is recognized as a quality canoe and kayaking river. 

Within the Forest’s boundary, the river has been divided into three (3) sections for nonmotorized boating:

  • Forks to Bowman Bridge
  • Bowman Bridge to Upper Branch Bridge
  • Upper Branch Bridge to Walhalla Bridge

For more information on the MI-DNRE access sites, visit the MI-DNRE website.

Float Times –

M-37 to Green Cottage

  • Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Miles: 3.7

Green Cottage to Gleason’s Landing

  • Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Miles: 4.7

Gleason’s Landing River Access to Bowman Bridge River Access

  • Time: 1 hour
  • Miles: 2.6

Bowman Bridge River Access to Rainbow Rapids River Access

  • Time: 2 hours
  • Miles: 7.3

Rainbow Rapids River Access to Sulak State River Access

  • Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Miles: 3.1

Sulak State River Access to Upper Branch Bridge Landing

  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Miles: 2.7

Upper Branch Bridge Landing to Elk Campground

  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Miles: .5

Elk Campground to Lower Branch Angler Trail

  • Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Miles: 2.6

Lower Branch Angler Access to Log Mark Angler Access

  • Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Miles: 2.7

Log Mark Angler Access to Walhalla Bridge State River Access

  • Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Miles: 4.8

Walhalla Bridge State River Access to Indian Bridge River Access

  • Time: 3 hours
  • Miles: 5.5

Indian Bridge River Access to Custer

  • Time: 2 hours
  • Miles: 2.4

 

Pere Marquette River Click for more information

Sections of the river have consolidated clay soils that are highly resistant to erosion and create riffles below them. The gradient of the river is 4.1 feet per mile with a flow of 713 cubic feet per second. The river wanders gently across the central Michigan landscape, alternately hidden in the forested shadows of overhanging bluffs and stretched across the convoluted channel patters of grassy floodplains. Free flowing and clear for over 60-miles from the junction of the Middle and South Branches to its terminus in Lake Pere Marquette, the river is the longest river system in Michigan's Lower Peninsula without dams or impoundments.  Regionally the Pere Marquette is recognized as a quality canoe and kayaking river.
 

Within the Forest’s boundary, the river has been divided into three (3) sections for nonmotorized boating:

  • Forks to Bowman Bridge
  • Bowman Bridge to Upper Branch Bridge
  • Upper Branch Bridge to Walhalla Bridge

A permit is required from Memorial Day to Labor Day to paddle the river.  Please visit the Passes and Permits page for more information on watercraft permits. 

Peterson Bridge North Day Use and Boat Launch Area Click for more information

Canoeing and kayaking are the primary activities on this river, with much of the appeal being the fast water and light rapids. The Pine River has a river gradient of 7% and offers the fastest average flow of any river in lower Michigan.

Peterson Bridge South Campground Click for more information

Canoeing and kayaking are the primary activities on this river, with much of the appeal being the fast water and light rapids. The Pine River has a river gradient of 7% and offers the fastest average flow of any river in lower Michigan.

Pine Acres Boat Launch Click for more information

For more information on paddling the Au Sable River, visit the Au Sable River page.

Pine Lake Campground
 
Pine National Scenic River Click for more information

 

 

Float Times and Distances -

Lincoln Bridge to Elm Flats: 1.25 hours; 3.3 miles

Elm Flats to Dobson Bridge: 2 hours; 6.3 miles

Dobson Bridge to Peterson Bridge Day Use: 2 hours; 6.2 miles

Peterson Bridge Day Use to Low Bridge: 3 hours; 8 miles

 

Canoeing and kayaking are the primary activities on this river, with much of the appeal being the fast water and light rapids. The Pine River has a river gradient of 7% and offers the fastest average flow of any river in lower Michigan.

Pines Point
 
Podunk River Access
 
Rainbow Bend Access Site
 
Rainbow Rapids Click for more information

For more information on boating the Pere Marquette National Scenic River visit the Pere Marquette National Scenic River page.

Red Bridge River Access Site
 
Reid Lake Foot Travel Area
 
River Dune Campground Click for more information

For more information on paddling the Au Sable National Scenic River, including flow, watercraft size restrictions and difficulty, visit the Au Sable National Scenic River page.

River Road National Scenic Byway Click for more information

For information on non-motorized boating, visit the Au Sable River page.

Rollways Campground and Day Use Area
 
Round Lake Campground and Day Use Area
 
Sand Lake Recreation Area
 
Sawdust Hole River Access
 
Sawmill Point Boat Launch
 
Shelley Lake Campground
 
Sischo Bayou
 
South Branch Pine River Click for more information

While kayaking is allowed, fishing is the primary activity on this river.  The river is very shallow. 

Sprinkler Lake Access Site
 
Thompson's Landing River Access
 
Twinwood Lake Campground
 
Upper Branch Bridge Landing Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Canoe Storage Rack
Wagner Lake Area Click for more information

Island Lake Campground has a swimming beach on the lake.  The lake is small and sheltered.  A gravel boat ramp provides canoe and kayak access. 

Loon Lake Day Use has a small beach area located on the lake.  The lake is mostly surrounded by federal ownership. Boat access is carry-in only.

Wagner Lake Campground is on a shallow lake that is surrounded by National Forest Ssystem lands.  Boats can access this lake with a gravel boat ramp located at the campground.

Wagner Lake Campground
 
Wakeley Lake Area Click for more information

Non-motorized boating is allowed, however, visitors must hike in with their equipment.

Wakeley Lake Area Click for more information

Kneff Lake Campground is located on Kneff Lake. The boat ramp is gravel and motorized boats are not allowed. 

Wakeley Lake Semi-Primitive Nonmotorized area is located on Wakeley Lake.  Fishing is limited to June 15 to August 31, catch and release only using artificial lures.  Boat access is carry-in only.

Walkup Lake Campground
 
Whelan Lake Area Click for more information

Access for Whelan Lake is located in the camping area.

Whirlpool Angler Access
 
White River Click for more information

Diamond Point is surrounded by a white poine forest.  This campground is particularly busy on weekends as a canoe launch.  No reservation is needed at this campground, sites are first come, first served.

Pines Point Campground has a walk-in canoe landing and is popular for tubing during the summer, with a half-hour float around the peninsula located in the picnic area.  The site is quiet and secluded, surrounded by towering white pine.  A reservation is required for this campground.

Podunk access the river via a set of steps.  The site is located in an open field surrounded by oak and pine forest.  Boat access is carry-in only.

Sischo Bayou provides access to the section of the White River that is primarily federal ownership.  The canoe access is carry-in and there are steps leading down to the river.

White River Area Click for more information

Boating is available on the White National Wild and Scenic Candidate Study River.

Click for more information View all

Area Name Status Short Description
Au Sable Loop Campground and Day Use Area Click for more information

Au Sable Loop Campground - tent campingThis site also provides access to River Dune Campground via a short trail along the river.

The sites are spaced apart and set back from the road. 

Au Sable National Scenic River Click for more information

Camping along the Au Sable is permited at designated sites only. From Mio to 4001 Bridge, there are several canoe-in/walk-in sites and two developed campgrounds. No reservations are necessary.

 

Au Sable Loop Campground As visitors exit McKinley Road to enter the Au Sable Loop Scenic Overlook, they will first see a panoramic vista of the National Scenic portion of the Au Sable River. An exemplary setting for wildlife viewing, visitors and campers will see a melding of habitats as the river turns to forest and then to field. The campground is set amidst a mixed hardwood forest. Please respect wildlife and observe from a distance. From the Au Sable Loop Scenic Overlook follow the unpaved road to reach the campground.  This site also provides access to River Dune via a short trail to the river.  

 

River Dune Campground Located between the Au Sable River Scenic Overlook and Au Sable Loop Campground, this small site is a short .5 mile walk from the gate. Set back from the road and camping area, campers can enjoy views of the river. Visitors can access the river from a short set of stairs located near the site.

 

Meadow Springs Campground Located on the edge of a red pine plantation, visitors to this site may see many varieties of wildlife in addition to their view of the Au Sable River. This camping area is a short .25 mile walk from the gate, but is primarily used by river paddlers. There is no motorized access to this site.

 

Cathedral Pines Campground The access road is gated to prohibit motorized access. Visitors to this campground are primarily river paddlers. To access the site from the road, visitors will need to walk .25 miles into the large, old-growth eastern white pine to find the campground. Trees offer a screen from the river, but still allow campers views of the river and wildlife.

 

Buttercup Campground A small, quiet campground, this site is primarily used by river paddlers. Located in stands of mixed hardwoods and pine, campers may be surprised by a wildlife visitor or two while enjoying close-up views of the river.

 

Gabions Campground offers camping on the National Scenic stretch of the Au Sable River. Natural springs are common on this section of the river, including a small one at the river's edge near the gabions. Gabions are rock-filled wire baskets that are placed along the riverbank to help reduce erosion. The Shore-to-Shore Trail passes near the campground; however, Gabions is not a designated horse camp and horse camping is not permitted. Wildlife and waterfowl viewing opportunities exist; please respect wildlife and observe from a distance.

Au Sable River Click for more information

Camping along the Au Sable is permited at designated sites only. Campsites between Grayling and Mio are operated by the MDNRE. From Mio to 4001 Bridge, there are several canoe-in/walk-in sites and two developed campgrounds. No reservations are necessary.

With nine campgrounds on the National Forest to choose from, you are sure to find a site that suits you along the Au Sable River. 

Buttercup Campground, Cathedral Pines Campground, Meadow Springs Campground, River Dune Campground and some sites in the Au Sable River Primitive camping are only acessible by river or by foot. 

Visitors can access Au Sable Loop Campground, Gabions Campground, most Au Sable River Primtive Camping sites, Monument Campground and Rollways Campground by vehicle. 

Reservations are needed at the Au Sable Primitive Camping Sites from 4001 Bridge to Oscoda between May 15 and Sept.30. There is a $10/night camping fee and a one-time registration fee of $9. Visit www.recreation.gov for information.

Reservations are needed at most sites for Monument Campground and Rollways Campground from June 15 to August 15. 

All other campgrounds are first come, first served. 

Au Sable River - Alcona Dam to Lake Huron Click for more information

Camping along the Au Sable is permited at designated sites only. Campsites between Grayling and Mio are operated by the MDNRE. From Mio to 4001 Bridge, there are several canoe-in/walk-in sites and two developed campgrounds. No reservations are necessary. From 4001 Bridge to Oscoda, reservations are required between May 15 and Sept. 30. There is a $10/night campping fee and a one-time registration fee of $9. Visit www.recreation.gov for information.
 

Some sites in the Au Sable River Primitive camping are only acessible by river or by foot.  Visitors can access most Au Sable River Primtive Camping sites, Monument Campground and Rollways Campground by vehicle.   

Au Sable River Primitive Camping Click for more information

Alcona Pond - is a 953-acre impoundment about 5-miles long the mainstream of the AuSable River.  \

Loud Pond - The impoundment is 937-acres about 3-miles long.

Five Channels - a 237-acre impoundment approximately 4-miles long along the mainstream of the Au Sable River. 

Cooke Pond - is a 1,942-acre impoundment behind Cook Dam on the mainstream of the Au Sable River. 

Sawmill Point - access roads are narrow with tight turns and large recreational vehicles are not recommended. 

Foote Pond - a 1,824-acre impoundment behind Foote Dam on the mainstream of the AuSable River.  The impoundment is 0.5 miles long and consists of two separate aquatic environments.  The lower half is an urban lake, the upper half is bound by the National Forest and is a wide river environment.  Access roads are sandy, narrow and tight turns and large recreational vehicles are not recommended.  There is limited turning space at the motor vehicle accessible sites. 

Au Sable Semi Primitive Nonmotorized Area - 12-mile segment of the Au Sable River.

Bear Track Campground Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Stairway to river
Benton Lake Campground Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Picnic tables/area
  • Swimming area
  • Picnic shelter
  • Host
  • Lantern posts
  • Pedestal grills
Blacksmith Bayou Access Site
 
Bowman Bridge Campground and River Access Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Benches
  • Trail - landing to campground
  • Host
  • Lantern Posts
Bowman Lake Area
 
Bowman Lake Campground Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Bench
  • Tent Pads
Brush Lake Campground Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Trash Can
Buttercup Campground
 
Cathedral Pines Campground
 
Claybanks Campground Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Stairs to the river
  • Lantern Posts
Condon Lakes West
 
Corsair Area Click for more information

Round Lake Campground is a wooded camping area offering a wide variety of recreation opportunities. Most of the ownership around the lake is private. This access provides the only public access on the lake. This campground is first come, first served and no reservations are required. 

Diamond Point Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Trash Can
Elk Canoe Campground
 
Gabions Campground and Day Use Click for more information

Gabions Campground - tent campingAmenities -

  • Trash Can
Gleason's Landing Campground and River Access Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Trash Can
  • Pedestal Grills  
  • Lantern Posts
Government Landing
 
Hemlock Campground and Boat Launch
 
Highbank Lake Campground Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Swimming beach/area
  • Lantern Posts
Hoist/Reid Lake Areas Click for more information

Jewell Lake Campground is located on the east side of Jewell Lake. This lake offers a wide variety of fishing and boating opportunities.
A .5 mile nature trail is located off the beach area and a snowmobile trail runs through the area during the winter months.

Horseshoe Lake Campground is located near Hoist Lake Semi-Primitive Non-motorized Area.  The small lake offers a variety of fishing opportunities. The one-mile walk around the north end of the lake provides for wildlife sightings and scenic views of the lake and campground. This campground is small and lightly used, perfect for those looking for solitude.

A reservation is not needed for these sites, all sites are first come, first served.

Horseshoe Lake Campground and Boat Launch Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Hand Pump
Hungerford Recreation Area Click for more information

The Hungerford Lake Campground is located near the 30-acre Hungerford Lake.  Horses are not permitted in this campground. Amenities for the two campsites include:

  • Picnic Tables
  • Fire Rings

The Hungerford Lake Family Campground has several amenities:

  • Highline Poles
  • Manure Disposal Area
  • Wheelbarrows
  • Garbage Service
  • Picnic Tables
  • Fire Rings
Huron-Manistee National Forests Click for more information

A tent at a campsite in one of the Huron-Manistee National Forest campgrounds.You do not need a permit to camp on the National Forests, although some sites do require a reservation and/or camping fee; and if your campfire will be on National Forest System lands you will not need a wood permit to cut firewood.

 

Most campgrounds have drinking water.  No RV hook-ups are available for water, sewage or electric at any campground.

 

Reservations are recommended at the following sites:

Parent Location Recreation Site
Lake Michigan Lake Michigan Recreation Area - two loops
Lumberman's Monument Visitor Center Monument
Manistee/Wellston - Udell Hills Area Sand Lake Recreation Area
Pere Marquette National Scenic River Bowman Bridge
Gleason's Landing
Pine National Scenic River Peterson Bridge Campground
River Road National Scenic Byway Rollways

 

Reservations are required at the following sites:

Parent Location

Recreation Site

Au Sable River - 4001 Canoe Landing to Lake Huron Au Sable River Primitive Camping
Shore to Shore Trail River Road Trail Camp - call Huron Shores office
South Branch Trail Camp - group site only
White River, Candidate Wild and Scenic Study River Pines Point group site

Reservations can be made at recreation.gov

 

During the late fall and winter months there are several campgrounds that are "closed by snow" or "not cleared". These campgrounds are not gated or closed during the off-season, but they are also not maintained or plowed in the winter. Please check the conditions report on the main recreation page for a listing of these campgrounds. 

 

Campsites are generally designated with a carsonite post with a number on it:

An example of a carsonite post found at designated campsites on the Huron-Manistee

Indian Lake Campground
 
Island Lake Campground Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Dumpster
  • Beach
  • Nature Trail
Jewell Lake Campground Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Hand Pumps
  • Pedestal Grills
Kneff Lake Campground Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Drinking Fountains
  • Dumpster
  • Beach - Accessible
Lake Michigan Click for more information

Lake Michigan Recreation Area has over 100 designated campsites and several group sites that visitors can use, half are first come, first served, with the other have reservable through Recreation.gov. 

Nordhouse Dunes is open for dispersed camping, however no camping is permitted within 400 feet of the Lake Michigan shoreline and visitors are asked to use existing campsites if possible. 

Lake Michigan Recreation Area Click for more information

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amenities -

  • Playground
  • Pedestal grills
  • Overlook deck
  • Beach
  • Bike trail
  • Amphitheater
  • Hosts
Little Manistee River, National Scenic Study River Click for more information

Bear Track Campground has a short, 1.5 mile connector trail to the North Country National Scenic Trail. 

Old Grade Campground is completely surrounded by federal land.  There is a short, interpretive hiking trail from the campground through the surrounding the forest.  The campground is located near a wetlands area, making it an excellent area to view wildlife. 

A reservation is not needed for these sites, all sites are first come, first served.

Logmark Rest Stop
 
Lumberman's Monument Visitor Center Click for more information

Monument Campground, established in 1909, was one of the first campgrounds built on the Huron National Forest. Monument Campground is a fully accessible camping area within a red pine plantation. This campground is located on River Road National Scenic Byway and is adjacent to Lumberman's Monument Visitor Center.

Luzerne Horse Trail Campground and Trailhead Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Picnic Table/Area
M-37: White Cloud to Baldwin Click for more information

Benton Lake Campground: Benton Lake is a 33-acre lake completely surrounded by National Forest land. The North Country National Scenic Trail is located off Pierce Drive, about 2 miles east of the campground entrance road. This site is usually quiet, but there are lots of activities, including fishing, swimming, picnicking and hiking. This campground is very popular during hunting season. There are 25 campsites.

Brush Lake Campground: The 7-site campground is located on the shores of Brush Lake, which is entirely surrounded by National Forest System lands. There is a drive-in boat launch on the eastern shore of the river and a smaller carry-in boat launch in the campground. This site is very popular with anglers and hunters. It is also a popular wildlife viewing area and a good stop for viewing fall colors.

Condon Lake: This area is very popular for mushroom and berry picking, as well as hunting, fishing and camping. There are 6 sites.

Highbank Lake Campground: This 9-site campground is located on the 20-acre Highbank Lake, which is completely surrounded by National Forest System land. This is a popular campground for anglers and hikers. The beach is very swim friendly, shallow with a sandy bottom.

Indian Lake Campground: Indian Lake Campground is a 6-site campground located on the 34-acre Indian Lake. The lake is surrounded by national forest, except a few small private ownerships on the northwest and southeast sides of the lake. The lake has clear water and a sandy bottom, and is popular for fishing. A boat launch provides both motorized and nonmotorized boating access to visitors. The lake is shallow and is characterized by reeds around the edges. The lake at its deepest is 10 feet.

Minnie Pond Campground: This 11-site campground is located on Minnie Pond, a human-made impoundment. Ducks, geese and heron frequent the area. This is a popular area for small and large game and waterfowl hunting. A foot bridge on Mena Creek connects the campground to the day use area. The day use area is located on the side of the creek. No ORV's are allowed in the campground or on the access road to the campground.

Nichols Lake Campground: This 30-site campground is located on the south side of the lake, with a day use area located on the north side. In addition to camping, the campground has fishing and swimming. There is a beach and accessible fishing pier available. A wood ramp and stairs lead down to the lake from the campground. A short path along the lake provides access for fishing.

Shelly Lake Campground: Shelley Lake is a 15-acre lake, surrounded by National Forest land, the 8-site family-style campground is the only access to the lake. A foot-bridge over the creek leads to one of the sites. This campground is very popular during fishing season. Sites are surrounded by an oak and maple forest. The lake is only 15-feet at its deepest point.

Timber Creek Campground: The 9-site campground is located near a small impoundment, however the impoundment is not a popular site for fishing. The busiest use is the North Country National Scenic Trail trailhead located in the campground. In the winter this site is plowed and provides access to the Ward Hills Snowmobile Trail. ORV use is prohibited in the campground.

Twinwood Lake Campground: Bigelow Creek feeds into Twinwood Lake next to the 5-site campground and creates a good current in the lake. Ice fishing is a very popular on this lake. This beautiful area is forested with white pine and provides ample opportunity for wildlife viewing. Swans frequent the lake, and eagles have historically nested in the area. Waterfowl are plentiful and this is a popular area for hunting and fishing in season.

Walkup Lake Campground: This 12-site campground is located on Walkup Lake.

M-55: Manistee to Cadillac Click for more information

Hemlock Campground is located on Lake Mitchell, outside of Cadillac. All sites are first come, first served.

Pine Lake Campground is located on the west side of Pine Lake.   This campground is first come, first served.  

Marzinski Horse Trail Camp is located at the trailhead for the Marzinski Trail in a grove of pine trees.   The campground is first come, first served. 

Sand Lake Recreation Area is located on Sand Lake near the town of Dublin.   The campground is the only public access to the lake.  Reservations are required from Mid-May to Mid-September.  

Mack Lake Motorized Trail System Click for more information
The 175-acre lake is surrounded by rolling jack pine plains and is a good location for wildlife viewing. The 42 site campground is primarily used by ORV trail riders.
Mack Lake ORV Campground Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Picnic Tables/Area
  • Pedestal Grills
  • Hand Pumps
  • Dumpster
Manistee National Recreation River Click for more information

No camping within a 1/4 mile of the river, except at designated campgrounds and sites.

Blacksmith Bayou is a 6 site campground on an oxbow lake left from an old river channel along the Manistee River.

Manistee River Primitive Camping - there are 3 sites at Blacksmith Bayou and 4 at Red Bridge.

Sawdust Hole is an 8 site campground with a steep trail down to the Manistee River.

Manistee River Click for more information

There are several small campgrounds located along the National Recreation River portion of the Manistee River. No reservations are needed at these sites, all sites are first come, first served.

Camping is allowed 200 feet or more from the river, in addition to camping at designated campgrounds and primitive campsites.  Camping is NOT allowed on the islands, except at the designated sites on Government Island. 

Red Bridge is located north of Tippy Dam Pond and is also a trailhead for the Manistee River Trail, and provides a spur trail to the North Country National Scenic Trail.  The remaining access sites with campgrounds are located south of Tippy Dam Pond. 

North of Red Bridge there are 43 designated primitive campsites.  Seaton Creek Campground is located near Hodenpyle Dam Pond and is also a trailhead for the Manistee River Trail.  A spur trail to the North Country National Scenic Trail is available from the campground. 

Dispersed camping is permitted within the Semi-Primitive Nonmotorized Area, outside of the river corridor. There are no campgrounds or designated campsites along Bear Creek on National Forest Service system lands. 

Manistee River Trail Click for more information

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.

Marzinski Horse Trail and Campground Click for more information

The campground is located in a grove of pine trees. 

Amenities -

  • Drinking Water
  • Hitching Posts
McKinley Horse Trail Campground Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Generator Driven Pump - 5,000 watt, generater not provided
Meadow Springs Campground
 
Meadows ORV Campground Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Trash Can
Meadows ORV Complex
 
Minnie Pond Campground Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Lantern Posts
Monument Campground Click for more information

Amenities  -

  • Pedestal grills
  • Lantern posts
  • Garbage service
Nichols Lake South Campground Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Beach
  • Lantern posts
  • Showers
  • Trails to picnic area
  • Garbage service
North Country National Scenic Trail Click for more information

A campsite at Nichols Lake CampgroundDispersed camping is allowed along the trail.  Visit the webpage on Dispersed Camping for more information.

The campgrounds listed below either have connector trails to them from the North Country Trail or are within walking distance of the trail.

Marilla Trailhead

Upper River Road Trailhead

Udell Trailhead

Freesoil Trailhead

Timber Creek Trailhead

Bowman Lake Trailhead

76th St. Trailhead

Nichols Lake North Trailhead

M-20 Trailhead

  • None within walking distance

40th St. Trailhead

Old Grade Campground Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Lantern posts
  • Host
Pere Marquette National Scenic River Click for more information

Bowman Bridge - Located up the hill from Bowman Bridge Boat Landing, the campground also has a connector trail for the North Country National Scenic Trail. There are 16 campsites.

Claybanks Campground - This river access is on the flies only, catch and release portion of the river. There are nine campsites.

Elk Canoe Campground - This campground is located in the middle of the 66-mile Scenic portion of the river. There are four walk-in/canoe-in sites.

Gleason's Landing - This small, walk-in campground tends to be quiet despite its popularity. There are four campsites.

Sulak Campground - This site is primarily used by anglers, hunters and families for camping. There is a short, .25 mile walk from the campsites to the river, through federal and state land. The river access is operated by the MI-DNRE. There are 12 campsites.

Pere Marquette River Click for more information

Camping within the river corridor  is limited to designated campgrounds. 

Bowman Bridge Campground and Gleason's Landing Campground recommend reservations from Mid-may to Mid-September.  All other campgrounds are first come, first served. 

Elk Canoe Campground is accessible by canoe only. 

Dispersed camping outside of the river corridor is allowed. 

Peterson Bridge South Campground
 
Pine Lake Campground
 
Pine National Scenic River Click for more information

Camping is allowed only at Peterson Bridge South Campground.  Reservations are recommended but not required. 

Pine River Campground
 
Pines Point Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Pedestal Grills
  • Host
  • Lantern Posts
Red Bridge River Access Site
 
Reid Lake Foot Travel Area
 
River Dune Campground Click for more information

This site is located near Au Sable Loop Campground. 

River Road National Scenic Byway Click for more information

Rollways Campground was built in 1909 and was one of the first campgrounds established on the Huron National Forest. The pull-through campsites accommodate large motor homes and trailers.

Monument Campground, established in 1909, was one of the first campgrounds built on the Huron National Forest. Monument Campground is a fully accessible camping area within a red pine plantation. This campground is located on River Road National Scenic Byway and is adjacent to Lumberman's Monument Visitor Center. For more information visit the Monument Campground site page.

River Road Trail Camp and Trailhead Click for more information
River Road Trail Camp is open by reservation only. Please call the Huron Shores Ranger Station for information.
Rollways Campground and Day Use Area
 
Round Lake Campground and Day Use Area Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Lantern Posts
  • Hand Pumps
  • Beach
  • Picnic Area
  • Garbage Service
Sand Lake Recreation Area Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Shower facilities
  • Drinking water
  • Faucets
  • Beach
  • Hosts
Sawdust Hole River Access
 
Seaton Creek Campground
 
Shelley Lake Campground Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Trash Can
  • Foot Bridge
Shore-to-Shore State Horse Trail Click for more information

The campgrounds are spaced 25 miles apart along the trail.  All single sites are first come, first served at Luzerne, McKinley and South Branch Campgrounds.

South Branch Pine River Click for more information

This popular campground is first come, first served, no reservation is needed.   

South Branch Trail Campground and Trailhead Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Hand Pump
  • Generator Driven Water Pump - 5,000 watt generator needed, generator not provided
Sulak Campground Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Trail to river
Timber Creek Campground Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Benches
Twinwood Lake Campground Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Trash Can
  • Picnic Table
  • Lantern Posts
Wagner Lake Area Click for more information

Island Lake Campground has a swimming beach on the lake.  The lake is small and sheltered.

Wagner Lake Campground is on a shallow lake that is surrounded by National Forest Ssystem lands.

No reservations are required for these sites.  All sites are first come, first served.

Wagner Lake Campground Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Hand Pump
Wakeley Lake Area Click for more information

Kneff Lake Campground requires no reservations.  All sites are first come, first served.  The campground is located in Kneff Lake and has a swimming beach available for visitors.

Wakeley Lake Semi-Primitive Nonmotorized area has five designated campsites.  Dispersed camping is allowed within the 2,100 acre area.  No permit is required.  No reservations are necessary, all sites are first come, first served.

Wakeley Lake Area Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Trash Can
Walkup Lake Campground Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Trash Can
  • Lantern Posts
Whelan Lake Area
 
White River Click for more information

Diamond Point is surrounded by a white poine forest.  This campground is particularly busy on weekends as a canoe launch.  No reservation is needed at this campground, sites are first come, first served.

Pines Point Campground has a walk-in canoe landing and is popular for tubing during the summer, with a half-hour float around the peninsula located in the picnic area.  The site is quiet and secluded, surrounded by towering white pine.  A reservation is required for this campground.


Area Name Status Short Description
Huron-Manistee National Forests Click for more information

A family camping within the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area.

You do not need a permit to camp on the National Forests or in designated campgrounds, although some campgrounds do require a reservation and/or camping fee; and if your campfire will be on National Forest System lands you will not need a wood permit to cut firewood. 

 

Dispersed and Primitive tent camping within the Forests is allowed almost anywhere, unless otherwise posted closed and/or "No Camping". 

 

Most campgrounds have drinking water.  No RV hook-ups are available for water, sewage or electric at any campground.

Reservations are recommended at the following sites:

Parent Location Recreation Site
Lake Michigan Lake Michigan Recreation Area - two loops
Lumberman's Monument Visitor Center Monument
Manistee/Wellston - Udell Hills Area Sand Lake Recreation Area
Pere Marquette National Scenic River Bowman Bridge
Gleason's Landing
Pine National Scenic River Peterson Bridge Campground
River Road National Scenic Byway Rollways

 

Reservations are required at the following sites:

Parent Location

Recreation Site

Au Sable River - 4001 Canoe Landing to Lake Huron Au Sable River Primitive Camping
Shore to Shore Trail River Road Trail Camp - call Huron Shores office
South Branch Trail Camp - group site only
White River, Candidate Wild and Scenic Study River Pines Point group site

Reservations can be made at recreation.gov

 

During the late fall and winter months there are several campgrounds that are "closed by snow" or "not cleared". These campgrounds are not gated or closed during the off-season, but they are also not maintained or plowed in the winter. Please check the conditions report on the main recreation page for a listing of these campgrounds. 

 

Campsites are generally designated with a carsonite post with a number on it:

An example of a carsonite post found at designated campsites on the Huron-Manistee

Click for more information View all

Area Name Status Short Description
40th St. Trailhead
 
76th St. Trailhead
 
Au Sable Area
 
Au Sable National Scenic River Click for more information

The Shore-to-Shore Trail passes near Gabions Campground, however, it is not a designated horse camp or trailhead and horse camping is not permitted.

Au Sable River Click for more information

Both the Highbanks River Trail and Eagle Run Cross-country Ski and Hiking trail are located near the lower stretch of the Au Sable River (4001 Canoe Landing to Lake Huron). 

Highbanks River Trail runs along the Au Sable River and provides visitors several scenic views of the river and surrounding river valley.  This trail access many of the recreation sites along the river, including Lumberman's Monument Visitor Center. 

Eagle Run Cross-country Ski and Hiking Trail provides a loop trail system with scenic views of the Au Sable River and a quiet setting where visitors can enjoy nature firsthand. 

Au Sable River - Alcona Dam to Lake Huron Click for more information

Both the Highbanks River Trail and Eagle Run Cross-country Ski and Hiking trail are located near the lower stretch of the Au Sable River (4001 Canoe Landing to Lake Huron).
 

Highbanks River Trail runs along the Au Sable River and provides visitors several scenic views of the river and surrounding river valley.  This trail access many of the recreation sites along the river, including Lumberman's Monument Visitor Center.
 

Eagle Run Cross-country Ski and Hiking Trail provides a loop trail system with scenic views of the Au Sable River and a quiet setting where visitors can enjoy nature firsthand.  

Bear Track Campground
 
Big M Cross-Country and Mountain Bike Trail
 
Blacksmith Bayou Access Site Click for more information

The portion of the North Country National Scenic Trail between Blacksmith Bayou and High Bridge, along the Manistee River, is a signed interpretive trail and is maintained in partnership with trail volunteers.

Bowman Bridge Campground and River Access
 
Bowman Lake Area
 
Bowman Lake Campground Click for more information

Glacial depressions are found in this area and provide homes for many species of wildlife. Gray diamond-shaped confidence markers for the Bowman Lake Trail. The trail goes around the lake.

Bowman Lake Trailhead Click for more information

The Bowman Lake Trail is accessed from this trailhead.  For more information visit the Bowman Lake Trail page.

Briar Hills Area
 
Condon Lakes West
 
Cooke Area
 
Corsair Area Click for more information

Corsair Trail has 28.3 miles of one-way trail that varies from gently rolling, easy terrain to somewhat hilly, most difficult terrain. The trails may be hiked anytime during the snow-free periods. The trails are marked with blue diamond-shaped confidence markers.

Corsair Hiking and Cross Country Skiing Trail
 
Crystal Valley Ski Trail
 
Eagle Run Cross-Country Ski and Hiking Trail
 
Forest Discovery Trail Click for more information

Freesoil Trailhead
 
Gabions Campground and Day Use
 
High Bridge Access Site Click for more information

The portion of the North Country National Scenic Trail between Blacksmith Bayou and High Bridge, along the Manistee River, is a signed interpretive trail and is maintained in partnership with trail volunteers.

Highbanks River Trail
 
Hoist Lake Area
 
Hoist/Reid Lake Areas Click for more information

Hoist Lake foot travel area encompasses almost 10,000 acres of pine, aspen and hardwood forest. There are 19 miles of looped trail. Hiking trails and back-country skiing are permitted; however, there are no groomed trails. Cross country skiing ranges from moderate to more difficult/most difficult due to length of trails. Hiking ranges from moderate to more difficult/most difficult. Hunting and fishing are permitted in season.

Reid Lake Semi-Primitive Nonmotorized Area has 12-miles of gently rolling trail that will lead you around Reid lake. The trails are open for back-country skiing in the winter, and are not groomed.  Difficulty on the trails ranges from easy to more difficult.

Jewell Lake Campground has a short, .5-mile, walk is located off the beach area.

Hungerford Recreation Area Click for more information

Visitors can hike on both the horse and mountain biking trails. 

Huron-Manistee National Forests Click for more information

The trail to an observation deck at Lumberman's Monument Visitor Center.If you are looking for a quick morning jaunt or a short hike to stretch your legs, we have several trails that will fit the bill.  Whether you choose a day hike on the Manistee River Trail, or a short walk between Loon Lake and Island Lake, we've got a trail to suit you.  For those wishing to go trailless, visit the backpacking page.

Trail Maps

Trail maps are located in the Maps and Publications section of the website.  

 

Drinking Water

The following trailheads have drinking water:

Parent Location Recreation Site
Manistee/Wellston Marzinski
North Country National Scenic Trail Timber Creek
Udell

 

Camping

The following trails have campgrounds located on or near the trail:

  • Corsair Trail
  • Eagle Run Trail
  • Highbanks River Trail
  • Hungerford Recreation Area
  • Manistee River Trail
  • Marzinski Horse Trail
  • North Country National Scenic Trail
  • Shore to Shore Trial

 

Recreation Enhancement Act Fees

Look for this sign when you enter the site: Recreation Fee Symbol - Sign at Recreation Sites

Passes can be paid for at the site by using a fee envelope, located near the bulletin board or can be purchased from a Forest Serice Office or vendor.  For more information on which passes are available and which pass will best suit your needs during your visit,  visit the Passes and Permits section of the website.

These sites have a fee:

Parent Location Recreation Site
Cadillac/Wellston Area Big M
Corsair Area Corsair
Silver Valley
Hoist/Reid Lake Area Hoist Lake East
Hoist Lake West
Reid Lake M-72
North Country Trail M-20 Trailhead
Marilla
Nichols Lake North
Timber Creek
Udell
Pere Marquette River Maple Leave Angler Trail
Island Lake Campground Click for more information

There is a short, 1.25-mile loop trail that departs from the campground.  A spur trail, from the loop trail, connects Island Lake Campground with Loon Lake Day Use Area.

Visit Michigan’s Geologic History!

While retreating from Michigan, glaciers left behind a pattern of broad ridges, called moraines. These moraines mark the former location of the ice margin as it paused for a period of time before continuing to melt back.

The Island Lake Nature trail, a short walking trail from the parking area at Loon Lake Day Use Area to Island Lake Campground will take you through part of the West Branch Morraine. Named after the town of West Branch, MI, in Ogemaw County, the West Branch Moraine extends in a northeast-southwest direction in this area. Driving south on M-33 from West Branch to Rose City, you cross the edge of the West Branch Moraine, dropping nearly 400 feet in elevation. This moraine was deposited at the ice margin about 13,800 years ago.

While hiking the Island Lake loop trail, you’ll notice a chaotic arrangement of deep circular depressions and winding ridges. Together, these landforms are known as kettle and kame topography. Kettles mark the spot where large chunks of ice persisted after the glacier retreated. Once the ice chunks finally melted away, a circular depression was left on the landscape. Kames are simply the mounds and ridges between kettles. They formed as glacial drift “washed in” and surrounded the ice chunks that later melted to become kettles.

As you hike along the Island Lake Nature Trail and visit the viewing dock at Crater Lake, think about how the landscape may have changed in the thousands of years since the glaciers melted away… different forest types, and the fungi, plants, and animals they support have come and gone as the climate has changed.

Kirtland's Warbler and Jack Pine Wildlife Tours Click for more information

The Ruffed Grouse walk is a short, .6-mile walk through Ruffed Grouse habitat. 

Lake Michigan Click for more information

Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area is open to hiking.  The 10-miles of trail can be accessed from either Lake Michigan Recreation Area or Nurnberg Road Trailhead. The trail system within the dunes is minimally signed.  While some sections of trail will lead visitors to Lake Michigan, others head to Nordhouse Lake.  Visitors are encouraged to bring a compass/GPS unit and a current map when hiking the wilderness. 

Within and around Lake Michigan Recreation Area is the Arrowhead Trail.  This short loop trail was created by the Boy Scouts many years ago and is located between the Lake Michigan Recreation Area and Lake Michigan.  This short trail goes between the beach and campground.  Visitors can also walk along the beach, heading south will take you onto the shoreline within the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area. 

Lake Michigan Recreation Area Click for more information

Arrowhead Trail is a short loop trail created by the Boy Scouts and is located between the Lake Michigan Recreation Area and Lake Michigan, forming a loop between the campground and the beach. 

Lake Michigan Recreation Area also has a trailhead for the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area trails.  These trails are minimally maintained and signed. 

Little Manistee River, National Scenic Study River Click for more information

Bear Track Campground has a short, 1.5 mile connector trail to the North Country National Scenic Trail. 

Old Grade Campground is completely surrounded by federal land.  There is a short, interpretive hiking trail from the campground through the surrounding the forest. 

Loda Lake National Wildflower Sanctuary Click for more information

There is a 1.2 mile interpretive trail where visitors can stop to identify some of the 238 identified plant species found around the numbered posts using the trail guide and map.  Boardwalks and resting benches around the trail make the short walk easier for those looking for something less strenuous. 

A connector trail provides access to the North Country Trail.  A second connector trail links Loda Lake to the Birch Grove Hiking Trail, which will take visitors to the North Country Trail Association Schoolhouse and the Newaygo County Park on Diamond Lake. 

Loon Lake Day Use Area Click for more information

Visit Michigan’s Geologic History!

While retreating from Michigan, glaciers left behind a pattern of broad ridges, called moraines. These moraines mark the former location of the ice margin as it paused for a period of time before continuing to melt back.

The Island Lake Nature trail, a short walking trail from the parking area at Loon Lake Day Use Area to Island Lake Campground will take you through part of the West Branch Morraine. Named after the town of West Branch, MI, in Ogemaw County, the West Branch Moraine extends in a northeast-southwest direction in this area. Driving south on M-33 from West Branch to Rose City, you cross the edge of the West Branch Moraine, dropping nearly 400 feet in elevation. This moraine was deposited at the ice margin about 13,800 years ago.

While hiking the Island Lake loop trail, you’ll notice a chaotic arrangement of deep circular depressions and winding ridges. Together, these landforms are known as kettle and kame topography. Kettles mark the spot where large chunks of ice persisted after the glacier retreated. Once the ice chunks finally melted away, a circular depression was left on the landscape. Kames are simply the mounds and ridges between kettles. They formed as glacial drift “washed in” and surrounded the ice chunks that later melted to become kettles.

As you hike along the Island Lake Nature Trail and visit the viewing dock at Crater Lake, think about how the landscape may have changed in the thousands of years since the glaciers melted away… different forest types, and the fungi, plants, and animals they support have come and gone as the climate has changed.

Loud Creek Ski/Hike Trail Click for more information

Amenities -

  • Benches
Luzerne Horse Trail Campground and Trailhead
 
M-37: White Cloud to Baldwin Click for more information

All of these trails are located off of M-37.  In addition to Loda Lake National Widlflower Sanctuary and Condon Lakes West,  the North Country National Scenic Trail has several trailheads located in this area.

Condon Lake West is a Special Area and there are no trails.

Loda Lake is an area that includes a small spring-fed lake, a bog-like wetland area, a creek and riparian marshy areas, oak forest, pine plantations, and an early successional old farm site. There is a 1.2 mile interpretive trail where visitors can stop to identify some of the 238 identified plant species found around the numbered posts using the trail guide and map.  Boardwalks and resting benches around the trail make the short walk easier for those looking for something less strenuous.

A connector trail provides access to the North Country Trail.  A second connector trail links Loda Lake to the Birch Grove Hiking Trail, which will take visitors to the North Country Trail Association Schoolhouse and the Newaygo County Park on Diamond Lake.

Trailheads for the North Country National Scenic Trail from this area are: 76th St. Trailhead and Nichols Lake North Trailhead.

M-55: Manistee to Cadillac Click for more information

The Big "M" trail is located of M-55 between Cadillac and Wellston.  The trail offers a variety of terrain to challenge every biking and skiing experience level.  Most trails are one-way (clock-wise) and should not be biked backwards. 

The Mackenzie Trail is in the Caberfae area just south of Cadillac.  The trail is 10 miles long with loop combinations of varying lengths available for all levels of difficulty. 

For those that want to hike without the trail, the Briar Hills Semi-primitive Non-motorized Area is located just off M-55. 

And for those who are looking for a short tour, the Udell Lookout Tower located off Fire Tower Road provides visitors an opportunity to stretch their legs.  This site also has a connector trail to the Big "M", but is NOT a parking lot for that trail. 

MacKenzie Cross-Country and Mountain Bike Trail
 
Manistee National Recreation River
 
Manistee River Click for more information

The 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.
 

North Country National Scenic 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.  This hike can also be done as a one-day hike by only walking one side of the river. 

The portion of the trail between Blacksmith Bayou and High Bridge, along the Manistee River, is a signed interpretive trail and is maintained in partnership with trail volunteers.

The North Country National Scenic Trail also passes below and west of Sawdust Hole. 

Bear Creek -

A short, 1/4 mile walk is located along Bear Creek at the Bear Creek River Access Site for those wanting a quick stretch of the legs. 

Manistee River Special Area-

For those wishing to hike without trails, the 7,900 acre area will provide that opportunity. 

Manistee River Area
 
Manistee River Trail
 
Marilla Trailhead
 
Marzinski Horse Trail and Campground
 
McKinley Horse Trail Campground
 
Midland to Mackinaw Trail
 
Nichols Lake North
 
Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area Click for more information

Some of the trails lead to the beach, other sections will lead through the wilderness or to Nordhouse Lake. There are several dispersed campsites along the trail system.

 

North Country National Scenic Trail Click for more information

A man hiking through the woods on the North Country TrailAll sections of the trail can be done as day hikes going from trailhead to trailhead. 

The portion of the trail between Blacksmith Bayou and High Bridge, along the Manistee River, is a signed interpretive trail and is maintained in partnership with trail volunteers.

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.

North of White Cloud the North Country National Scenic Trail forms a 9 mile loop trail with Birch Grove Trail and Loda Lake National Wildflower Sanctuary. 

Mileage chart for the

North Country National Scenic Trail

 
Trailhead Miles
Marilla to  -
Upper River Road to 8.9
Udell to 17.8
Freesoil to 14.7
Timber Creek to 19
Bowman Lake to 9.8
76th St. to 4.3
Nichols Lake North to 13
M-20 to 19.9
40th St. to 10.5
Old Grade Campground Click for more information

There is a short, 1.4 mile interpretive trail from the campground that traverses through a birch and hemlock forest.  There are several foot bridges along the trail. 

Pere Marquette River Click for more information

A short trail runs around Bowman Lake from the campground. 

The North Country Trail runs through the Bowman Lake Semi-Primitive Nonmotorized Area.  For more information visit the North Country National Scenic Trail page, or visit the Maps and Publications page.

For those wishing to hike off the trail, both the Bowman Lake and Whelan Lake Semi-Primitive Areas are open to hiking. 

Pine River Campground Click for more information

The Pine River Rearing Run Path is a .2 mile walk within the Pine River Campground, near Kirtland's Warbler habitat.  Mushrooming and berry picking are also popular activities in this area. 

Pine River Rearing Run Path
 
Red Bridge River Access Site
 
Reid Lake Foot Travel Area
 
River Road National Scenic Byway Click for more information

Eagle Run Trail is a 6.8-mile trail that runs along the south shore of the Lower Au Sable River. The trail provides a loop trail system for hiking and cross-country skiing. Scenic views of the Au Sable River and a quiet, remote setting allow visitors to experience nature first hand. The trails are maintained with the support of volunteers.

 

Highbanks River Trail is a 7-mile, scenic back-country linear trail system with views of the Au Sable River Valley.  From high bluffs of the south shore of the Au Sable River, many species of plant, animals and songbirds may be viewed in their natural setting.   For more information visit the Highbanks Trail site page.

 

Forest Discovery Trail is a short, .6-mile, hard-packed trail that goes from the Visitor Center to an observation deck.  A loop of the trail has interpretive signing.  This trail is not paved, but may be accessible for wheelchairs and strollers.   For more information visit the Lumberman's Monument Visitor Center site page.

River Road Trail Camp and Trailhead
 
Rollways Campground and Day Use Area Click for more information

A short trail connects the campground to the day use area and Westgate Scenic Overlook.

Ruffed Grouse Walk
 
Sand Lake Recreation Area
 
Sawdust Hole River Access Click for more information

This site is not a trailhead for the North Country National Scenic Trail but is located near the trail.  Visitors are within a short driving and/or walking  distance to the Dilling Rd. access. 

Seaton Creek Campground
 
Shore-to-Shore State Horse Trail Click for more information

The trail is open to hiking.  Campgrounds are spaced 25-miles apart and there are no other trailheads between them along the portion of trail that runs through the Huron-Manistee National Forests. 

South Branch Au Sable Area
 
South Branch Pine River Click for more information

This short, .2 mile long walk leads from the campground to the river.  The path is located next to premier Kirtland warbler habitat. 

South Branch Trail Campground and Trailhead
 
Udell Lookout Tower Click for more information

There is no motorized access to this site, visitors must walk a short distance to view the Lookout Tower.

Udell Trailhead
 
Wagner Lake Area Click for more information

A short trail runs from Island Lake Campground to Loon Lake Day Use Area. 

Wakeley Lake Area Click for more information

The trail system within the Wakeley Lake Semi-Primitive Nonmotorized Area is a 8.5 mile hiking and back-country ski trail. 

Wakeley Lake Area Click for more information

There are no trails in either the South Branch Au Sable and White Water Creek Semi-Primitive Nonmotorized Areas, so visitors are urged to bring a compass and map with them. 

Wakeley Lake has an 8.5 mile hiking system and back-country ski trail.  A map is available on the Maps and Publications page.

Whelan Lake Area
 
Whirlpool Angler Access
 
White River Click for more information

At St. Huberts Angler Trail, the access trail is a short .25 mile walk to the river, with another short trail along the river that provides access to anglers. 

The White River Semi-Primitive Nonmotorized Area (SPNMA)  is open to hikers.  Several roads traverse the area.  Hikers may also walk near several acres of habitat for the federally endangered Karner Blue butterfly.  There are no desigated trails through the SPNMA and visitors are encouraged to carry a map and compass. 

White River Area
 
White Water Creek Area
 
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Area Name Status Short Description
Huron-Manistee National Forests Click for more information

Udell Rollways, disc golf course hole 3The only Disc Golf course on the Huron-Manistee National Forests, this 18-hole course is designed to professional standards. There is a stairway that leads down to the river for those wishing to fish. The area is named for the Udell Slide, which was used in the 1900's to slide logs into the Manistee River for floating to mills in Manistee.There is a day use fee for this site.

Manistee National Recreation River Click for more information

 Udell Roleways has an 18 hole course designed to professional standards.

Manistee River Click for more information

Udell Rollways hosts an 18-hole disc golf course, as well as scenic views of the Manistee Recreation River and a group picnic pavilion. 

Udell Rollways Day Use Area  
 
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