Friday, May 22, 2009

Backpacking the Manistee River Trail

Plenty along the River Trail.

Lots, and very clear. (on the River Trail)

Suggested Route:
If you can't tell, I have a thing for the River Trail, it's really beautiful, hike it through to one of the other parking lots, or hike in and turn around to hike it back out.

Plenty of places to eat in Cadillac, mostly chains though. If you're taking 94, stop in New Buffalo, MI for a Redamaks world famous burger, their site is annoying, but the burgers are pretty good (and the messy fries, or chili fries, whatever they're called, are pretty amazing).

Trail map

Manistee River Trail

Don't worry about carrying in too much water for your trip, the trail is along the river most of the time, and there are tons of creek and stream crossings along the way flowing with crystal clear filtering water. Along the trail there are several campsites, some with great views, just be careful if it's going to be cold out, the sites with the best views also tend to be windy.

There are several 'hiker made' campsites that aren't marked on the trail map, so if one that you want is full, don't worry, the unmarked sites are easy to spot from the trail. The sites are primitive (duh), most have makeshift benches around a fire ring, and are situated close to good filtering water. Sites can be accessed by trail and by water, so if canoeing or packrafting is your thing, this is a great place for that.

North Country Trail

This trail is not nearly as scenic as the River Trail, it doesn't follow close to the river and there are no designated campsites. Also, access to filtering water is limited. I'd suggest hiking in on the River Trail, and then turning around and hiking out. Another option if you're bringing two cars, would be to park on both a southern and northern trailhead, and simply hike through. Either options makes for a good weekend hike.