North Country and Manistee River Trail Hike

Ok, now that it’s Labor Day weekend, it’s officially taken me all summer to get this post done. Better late than never.. here it is!

Over the memorial day weekend, a friend and I took a backpacking trip to the North Country and Manistee River trails near Mesick, Michigan. In this particular area, you can make a 21 loop out of these two trails. At first, this article may seem out of place in a tech-oriented blog, however as you’ll see there’s still a lot of geeky fun to be had with technology whilst in the woods.

We left on Thursday night after work and drove up to the southern trail head at the Red Bridge Access. There’s a parking lot with a boat launch and a handful of campsites there. There is also a pit toilet and water pump. (No, this is not the high-tech part.) We started on the North Country Trail at about 9:00 P.M. and hiked in for a half-hour and found a place to camp. The nice thing about both of these trails is that you can camp anywhere you want as long you are 200 ft off the trail or away from the water. Here is another map on the U.S. Forrest service’s website.

<a border=0 target="_view" href=";
Crossing the Bridge
Crossing the bridge

Friday we hiked the remainder of the NCT portion and crossed over the Manistee River. The NCT portion of the trail was not quite as impressive, after comparing it to the Manistee River. The views of the river were really spectacular. We camped about a mile past the bridge and had probably the best campsite on the whole trail. There’s a picture below, but it just doesn’t do it justice.

Saturday we hiked the rest of the MRT completing the loop. We were thinking about camping one more night a mile or two short of the trailhead. However, it seemed that there really weren’t any great spots to pitch our tent in that area. My friend had left his Hennessy Hammock at home and had we been thinking ahead, we could have borrowed a second one for me. That would have taken care of any tent issues. Since our trip I’ve purchased one for myself and I’m itching to try it out, but it’s starting to get cold and there won’t be much time left this year.

The hike down the river was great. There were lots of senic views from both the water’s edge and up on the ridge that follows the river. Below, I’ve posted just a few of the many great pictures I got (and not because I’m a great photographer, by any means.)

Scenic View 1
Scenic View 1
Scenic View 2
Scenic View 2
Friday Night's Campsite
Friday Night’s Campsite
Scenic View 3
Scenic View 3

See the next page for the Techie stuff…

This entry was posted in Backpacking, Camping, GPS. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to North Country and Manistee River Trail Hike

  1. Gary Swanson says:

    Your Manistee pictures are beautiful.

  2. The Ty says:

    Dawn, Jason Presley, and a lot of other people were up in that direction just last weekend. They went on their annual kayak trip to a few rivers right around there, including the Manistee I believe. If you remember, it was a little snow down here, up there it was up to around 4 inches or so! They said they had the time of their lives. Now everyone is talking about being up that way, and I never got to go this year!! 😦 Boo hoo to me

  3. camper24/7 says:

    how long is this hike, and could you get it done in about 2 half day

  4. Jason says:

    Yeah, you could do the hike in two and a half days.

  5. steeve hives says:

    Jason nice photos,

    good to finally check out your site

    steeve hives

  6. Jeff says:

    The Garmin Colorado 400 series has to be the best device around now for this sort of application. The Rock n Roller Wheel used for navigating the menus is just superb.

  7. ted says:

    Can this loop be done in one long day? I’m looking for a 20-mile day to finish off the year… how many miles total would it be?


  8. Jason says:

    Yeah, the total loop is 21 miles. It could be done in a day if you’re used to that length of hike.

  9. Brian says:

    Thanks for the gpx file! Your site came up on my google search. This will come in handy when I make my first trip up to the trail in a couple of weeks. Can’t wait!

  10. Jeremy says:

    I have a few questions about this area. Any feedback would be helpful seeing I’m for New Jersey and heading up in late August. I’m looking for a nice 2-3 day hike. You said its a loop. Dose it drop you off where you put in at? Is there a camping or fire permit fee? Any bear bag or predator regulations on this trail? Thanks for any info. J.P.B.

    • Jason says:

      Yes, the loop will bring you back to where you started. I don’t recall if there was a camping fee. If so, it was very minimal. I would definitely bring a bear bag and some rope. It’s always a good idea.

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