It's one of Michigan's most popular hiking trails, mainly because the views are breath taking.

Nestled along the scenic Manistee River, just below the Hodenpyl Dam, just south of Mesick, the Manistee River Trail differs from the nearby North Country Trail in one important area, it offers more scenic views. In fact, it may offer more scenic views per mile than any other trail in the state.

Let's take a look at what makes this trek worth every one of its 13 miles.

Little Mac Bridge

Jojo Girard/TSM

Just downstream from the dam, the Manistee River Trail connects with the North Country Trail via the Little Mac Bridge, a homage to the Big Mac farther up the road.

A Kayaker's Dream

Jojo Girard/TSM

The Manistee offer some of the best kayaking in the state, so this is a common view.

Stream Hopping

Several small streams flow into the Manistee along the trail, providing water for your bottle, and some repsite from the heat.


Jojo Girard/TSM

With all those streams comes the occasional waterfall.

Sweeping Vistas

because the trail hugs the cliffs on the south side of the river, sweeping views like this are common place.

The Big Bend

The Manistee makes several U-turns on the way to Lake Michigan, like this big bend about four miles down the trail.

Bigfoot Lives There

Okay, maybe it's just a dude with big feet.

Big Sandy Cliffs

I wouldn't recommend climbing the 60 foot cliffs like this guy, but to each their own.


The Manistee is a trout fisherman's dream.

Another Sweeping Vista

This one is actually from a camp site along the trail, one of over 20 offered for backpackers.

Homeward Bound

When you see the Little Mac again, you know you're almost home.

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