The Manistee River trail is great for beginner and experienced hikers. The trail is ungroomed and pretty hilly, but the views of the river from the higher elevations are pretty amazing.
Both times I visited were during Memorial Day weekend and the dispersed campsites, which are available on a first-come, first served basis, filled up very quickly. Despite this, my hiking partner and I were able to find an awesome spot next to the river and a creek. The flowing water on two sides of us made for some great sleep.
Highly recommend the area if you are just getting into backpacking and hiking.
From the web: 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 River Road Trailheads for the North Country National Scenic Trail and the Red Bridge and Seaton Creek accesses for the Manistee River Trail.