manistee national forest backpacking

A National Forest vehicle permit is not required to park at the trailheads at Red Bridge or South Slagle Creek Road. Departing from the creek with hoards of vicious mosquitoes in tow, we wound deeper into the lush forest, skirting the river and crossing several creeks before reaching the last campsites and the suspension bridge near the Seaton Creek Campground. Such a great trail.

A couple miles later we stopped near campsite 2C to fill our water bottles with fresh cold creek water. A 3-acre lake is located within the area. Click here for instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your browser. There were 5 in our group and all of us are decently experienced. The terrain is characterized by rolling hills, glacial depressions and leatherleaf bogs.

The picture I took of the site turned out blurry but these pictures are ones I took from very similar nearby areas. The Bowman Lake Trailhead serves as a main entry point onto the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT). Late October trip just missed peak colors but still had some amazing views. You’re most welcome Mike! Where the paved road curves south to become Warfield Road, look for a rough two-track that is posted as Slagle Creek Road and follow it 1.2 miles to the small parking area at its west end. No special use permit is required for individuals or small groups (74 people or less). Clean and full bellied, we fell into our bags, more than ready for a long night’s sleep. This area covers all recreation areas along M-37 between White Cloud and Baldwin. There is a lot of shade and flat clear space for multiple tents. That said, you should be prepared to be entirely self-sufficient for the duration of your hike as facilities are limited and opportunities to restock on supplies nil (unless leaving the trail on a sizable diversion). Of these four trailheads, only the Manistee River Trailhead and Red Bridge River Access Trailhead offer camping facilities nearby. This river is not navigable for canoeing or boating, however it is an excellent river for cold-water fishing. I started from the end of this trail, Nichols Lake Campground, and hiked about 7.5 miles to Highbanks campground.

Our misadventure did include rain, mosquitoes, rude campers and six extra miles. Travel Light. Climb through a log jam, use a peavey, cut a wooden cookie with a cross-cut saw, and learn about the life of a lumberjack through video and displays. President Ronald Reagan signed the law establishing the segment of river as a National Scenic River on October 4, 1984. A 23-mile loop trail is formed with the Manistee River Trail along the Manistee River.

Together those trails can be combined into a 23-mile loop that has become the most popular backpacking trek in the Lower Peninsula.

In this article, we’re going to run you through all the ins and outs of the hike on the Manistee River Trail Loop, offering a few insights into the history of the area as well as tips for pre-trip planning and a thorough, start-to-finish trail description. 2C – Set off the main trail along a beautiful cold creek, this campsite is pretty but is also heavily shaded and a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Proximity to the road make the last two campsites far less appealing than the Seaton Creek Campground — if you’d prefer an outdoor experience untainted by vehicle noise, head there or to one of the primitive sites listed below. After roughly 9 miles (from the trailhead) you will reach the Red Bridge Campsite, where there are picnic tables, toilets, and drinking water.

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