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10 Best Backpacking Trails in Michigan

1. Manistee River Trail Loop

Distance: 19.5 Miles

Manistee River Trail LoopMansitee River Trail Loop

Definitely one of the best trails in the lower peninsula. The Manistee River Loop Trail, located outside Mesick, MI is a 19.5 mile loop, which is half North Country Trail (west side of the Manistee River) and half Manistee River Trail (east side of the river). There are many trailheads along the trail, making it very accessible. Also making it a heavily trafficked especially on weekends during summer months. 

The NCT (North Country Trail) side of the loop trail runs atop the 1,000 foot ridges overlooking the Manistee River and mostly cuts through thick, lush forests.

The Manistee River Trail side drops down in elevation, hugging the river banks. This stretch of the loop provides expansive views of the many horseshoe bends, with plenty of campsites where you can swim, fish and enjoy the stars. 


2. Jordan River Pathway


3. North Manitou Island


4. South Manitou Island


5. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore


6. Porcupine Mountains - Escarpment Trail


7. Fife Lake Loop Trail


8. Isle Royale


9. Potawatomi Trail


10. Nordhouse Dunes