Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Welcome REI Co-op Members!
We're glad you're here. If you can't access the Co-op Members section of the community,
click here for instructions on how to join the section that's just for you.

photos of winter backpacking - Manistee River Loop

Just did a winter hike of the Manistee River Loop in northern Michigan.  Has to be one of the prettiest hikes in the midwest.  It's about 20 miles long and I took 5 days to do it in snowshoes.  I would highly recommend this hike.  Only saw 3 other people on the trail.fullsizeoutput_23d9.jpeg1bMy76OgQhG14OkpAyvTqg.jpgkOoBkYmmSoeM2wMWx1i+IQ.jpg

10 Replies

@CarlR, wow! Thank you so much for sharing these photos. They are incredible. That first one is a jaw dropper. I couldn't believe how small the tent was when I scrolled down! 

You will see that we have moved your post to the Michigan board. That way, others in the area will see that you recommend this spot. 

Do you mind telling us what you gear setup was? It would be great to hear as there are many members in the community who love backpacking and ask about the complexities of doing it in the winter. 

Glad you had a great time out there. Thanks again for sharing!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Thanks @CarlR - I appreciate this post a lot.

My family and I go to Ludington every Summer for a week and I was looking at that trail as a possible overnight. It would just be me going solo while my wife and kids stayed at the cabin.

In your opinion, during Summer and under decent conditions, is this a 20 mile trek that can be done in two solid days?

“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” (John Muir)

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Absolutely-I did this loop in 2 days with a couple friends in October, 2020. It is not hilly at all, although the Manistee River side has lots of roots. The NCT side is much less scenic, so if you only have time to do one side, definitely choose the Manistee. That being said, during prime weather, the campsites on the Manistee side were hard to come by. Absolutely beautiful hike in the fall!






Yes, this trail can definitely be done in two days! 



Love the trip report! Thanks for sharing and for posting the great photos!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Hello! This is one of my favorite trails! The view is stunning all year round! The trail is very busy in the summers but as you said, way slower in the winter. Thank you for sharing the pictures, they are beautiful!  

I’ve got a girls group planned for August. We plan to combine NCT and the Manistee trail for a loop. How far apart are the water sources on the NCT side?



There are really no water sources on the NCT side until shortly before you get to the bridge crossing to the Manistee River side. So...about 9 miles

Backpacked a part of this in the summer a couple years back and loved the peacefulness and beauty. Certainly a different kind of beautiful during the winter. Thanks for sharing 🙂