Lying between the shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron in the northern half of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, the nearly one-million-acre Huron-Manistee National Forests are located in a transition zone between forested lands to the north and agricultural lands to the south. The Huron-Manistee National Forests contain rare ecological features, such as dry sand prairie remnants, coastal marshlands, dunes, oak savannahs, fens, bogs and marshes.
Working hand in hand with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and other partners, the Huron-Manistee National Forests have made great progress in recovering these lands but a great deal of work remains, much of which is being done through partnerships.The Huron-Manistee National Forests provide recreation opportunities for visitors, habitat for fish and wildlife, and resources for local industry.
This forest is massive, so much to explore. Had a blast back country camping, really nice to see such large areas still undisturbed for the most part.
Super rustic and right on the river!
Hiked five days, four nights. Connects to NCT. Bring toilet paper. Water is stream is probably safe but bring a filter or enough water to last. No campgrounds, but there are areas with clearings for camping. The nearest other campers were not within earshot nor could we see them. Lots of wildlife.
We walked this trail for 5 days and 4 nights. Cell service was spotty, which was the goal. Lots of wildlife and great views. You need to carry everything out that you carry in. Bring a garden trowel and toilet paper. There are streams with decent drinking water but I would recommend a filter anyways. Connects to the north country trail. We parked at seton valley campground and paid $9 for Peking.
Quiet, spacious sites spaced far apart in a wooded area. Four different loops divided the whole camp into regions. Signage got us to the beach easily. Staff were friendly and helpful. Flushing toilets in Orchid loop where we were. No showers.
but we were blown away! The dunes along the river seem out of place, and wonderfully so. you could spend so much tIme here, climbing around, swimming, kayaking, and enjoying the views. We keep our Jeep ready for camping at any moment and places like this are why we do it. We just had to stay, and I am so excited to go back in the fall. I know this says no pets but we were able to bring our dog and saw many other dogs enjoying the park as well!
Thw campground itself was very nice…it was our starting point for our family hiking/backpacking/camping trip this year. We had 11 Grandkids with us, and we had 9 backpacking tents. The children all carried their own tents , sleeping bags, and food for 4 days. The River trail supplied us with our water needs for cooking and drinking, from the Manistee River. It was a fun trip for all.
this is a vast area in which there are many campground sites with some opportunities for dispersed camping. Use a GPS system or a program to ensure you are not in private property. Have at least 3 sites as possibilities. We specifically stayed at the site at the end of Goverment’s Landing on the river. It was amazing, my husband, myself and our two dogs had a wonderful time. We hiked al through the forest, tried lots of cool gear and discovered a new love for camping and nature. This was 4 weeks ago, we have since beeen to Wisconsin and in 2 weeks we will head to Iowa for more camping! Get out there!
One of my favorite things to do in the Huron-Manistee National Forest is to spend the weekend backpacking the ~20 mile loop up the North County Trail and back down the Manistee River Trail. I love this loop trail because you can hike in and out without having to backtrack or coordinate a ride back to your parked car.
This forest area is unique because it offers large changes in elevation that you do not typically get in Michigan, especially not in the lower peninsula. There's the perfect mix along the trail of designated and undesignated-dispersed campsites and I have yet to encounter a spot that didn't seem perfect.
As the trail both runs above and along the Manistee river with each mile, you have ample opportunity to camp both ridge-side and river-side. Do what I did and spend one night at the riverbank and one on a hilltop and you'll have the best of both worlds. The only possible con I encountered along the way was that a few single-track roads run through the forest area and you can occasionally hear ATV/4-wheeler traffic at certain parts, but it always subsides by dark.
As a Dyrt Ranger, I also get products to test and review in the field. For this trek, I brought with me the Leatherman Surge. I must admit, I was a little overwhelmed at first by the capacity of this device to do just about anything and nervous I would spend more time fiddling for the correct tool than actually using it. Those fears, however, quickly dissolved away and I was wielding this tool like a pro in no time. The design and features of the Surge are incredibly intuitive and easily mastered. The top 2 things I love about this tool specifically in the camping setting include:
- It's durable. On those days where my pack seems double its usual size, I know I can cram my bag full and not worry about my Surge bending or breaking.
- It packs a punch. And a kick. And a jab. From opening a fresh bottle of beer to whittling extra stakes for wind tie downs, this tool does it all. I no longer have to worry about bringing a pocket knife, scissors, bottle opener or pliers. I love how leatherman products enable me to economize my pack weight and space without having to sacrifice on versatility.