Manistee River Trail

Manistee River Trail

Address: 44.366115,-85.826778
Countie(s) trail is located in: Manistee
Trail Type(s): Camping <> Cross Country Skiing <> Hiking <> Snowshoe
Trail Measurement: 23 Miles
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The Manistee River Trail follows the east shore of the Manistee River for 8.8 miles through rolling hills.  The trail traverses past several wetlands and there are bridges crossing two creeks.  A waterfall near the northern end of the trail is very popular with many hikers.  The Manistee River Trail/North Country National Scenic Trail connector is also the site of the largest wooden suspension bridge in Lower Michigan.  Several observation sites along the trail provide hikers with vista views of the Manistee River and surrounding area.  There are several dispersed campsites along the trail.

A 23-mile loop trail is formed with the Manistee River Trail along the Manistee River.  The loop trail can be accessed from the Marilla and Upper Branch Trailheads for the North Country National Scenic Trail and the Red Bridge and Seaton Creek accesses for the Manistee River Trail.

A new suspension footbridge across the Manistee River below Hodenpyl Dam links the Manistee River Trail on the east side of the river with a section of the national North Country Trail on the west side. This creates a 20-mile loop hiking experience where numerous wildlife and bird species are common sites. The bridge itself also allows for great viewing of brown trout and other fish species in the river, plus songbirds that live along this section of the river. To reach the bridge, go west from Mesick on M-115 two miles to Hodenpyl Dam Road, then five miles west to the Hodenpyl Dam entrance sign, then a one-half mile to Upper River Road, and then a one-quarter mile south to the bridge site. Just beyond the Upper River Road turnoff is Hodenpyl Dam with access to a popular brown trout fishing spot below the dam.

At a Glance

  • Current Conditions: This trail is not groomed.
  • Operational Hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, unless otherwise posted.
  • Fees:
    • Recreation Enhancement Act Fee – Day Use –
    • North Country Trail Marilla Trailhead
    • Concessionaire Fee – Day Use –
    • Seation Creek Campground
  • Permit Info: Special Use Permit –
    • No special use permit is required for individuals or small groups (74 people or less).
    • Permits are required for a commercial event or large groups (75 people or more).
  • Usage: Light
  • Best Season: January 1 to December 31
  • Busiest Season: May to October
  • Restrictions:
    • Allowed –
      • Hiking
      • Pets on leash
      • Nonmotorized snow use: snowshoes, cross-country skiing
      • Nonmotorized mechanized equipment except bicycles
    • Prohibited –
      • Motorized vehicles
    • Motorized over-snow vehicles
    • Bicycles
    • Horse and pack animals
    • Forest-wide Closures – Camping in dispersed areas:
      • Camping within two hundred (200) feet of any body of water, except at designated sites.
      • Camping in an area that is posted closed and/or no camping.
      • Camping within 450 feet of developed recreation areas.
    • Being publicly nude. Storing Watercraft
    • Storing, mooring, or leaving a boat or raft over 24 hours.
  • Parking: Parking in violation of posted instructions.

Informational Brochure

If you have information about this trail please fill out the Add/Edit Trail form.

References and More Info

  • Compass Latitude: 44°21’58.0″N
  • Compass Longitude: 85°49’36.4″W
  • Numeric Latitude: 44.366115
  • Numeric Longitude: ‘-85.826778
  • Elevation in Feet:
  • Elevation in Meters:
  • Trail Measurement: 23 Miles


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