Sep 24, 2009 at 11:48 am #1239614
Anyone hike this one and loop back on the NCT? Just wondering if it's a walk on hard pack or a nice weekend in the woods. Thinking about taking my older scouts to investigate. Approx 20 miles round trip according to the National forest info. Googling doesn't yield much for some reason. It's reasonably close for a weekend outing as I'm trapped in the west burbs of Chicago.
JohnSep 24, 2009 at 2:58 pm #1530370
@kenlarsonLocale: Western Michigan
Great hike but I would recommend hiking the NCT first…..less traveled, more challenging, and more solitude. You might incounter a mountain biker or two since it is legal for for that purpose. No water access on the NCT so bring a minimum of a liter/person in warm weather. Numerous water possibilities and camping on the Manistee Hiking Trail….great view of the river. The many campsites invite many hikers AND individuals that can drive close to the trail and "state park camp". Nice two day experience. Parking is no problem.Sep 25, 2009 at 8:44 am #1530522
Ken's got it right. NCT on the west side of the river is dry, markedly less traveled and hilly. I think about 13 miles if memory serves. No views, a forest walk and more solitude. You'll be on a hard dirt trail with occassional sandy spots and occasional 2-track crossings.
The MRT on the east side of the river has very scenic overlooks of the river and is very popular. Weekends and color-tour time are pretty busy. It's shorter than the NCT by 2-3 miles. Relatively flat, walking the bluffs. Hard dirt path, some swail.
I've had good luck parking at the Red Bridge (name?) and walking north up one side, south down the other. There is a hand pump for water at the bridge camp site. A nice two-day one night trip.Sep 25, 2009 at 8:54 am #1530523
I've hiked there a bunch and don't enjoy the NCT side very much so I started just hiking down and back on the MRT. Isn't the same as a loop in that you see everything twice, but i hiked a lot with kids and the ability to have water (and the inability on the NCT) as well as having things to see (vs. nothing to see on NCT) were the main reasons we stopped using the NCT in our hikes. The fall views on the MRT are great!
-TimSep 25, 2009 at 4:44 pm #1530610
I hike the loop 2 or 3 times each year. I maintain about 5 miles on the north end of the NCT section.
I've read a few wrong comments above. First there are two water sources on the west (NCT) side. Eddington Creek is about 1.5 miles from the Marilla TH at the north end. About the same distance from Red Bridge on the south end there is an old 2-track named Pole Road. About 300 feet east of the trail there is a small spring fed creek on the south side past where Pole Road ends.
Second, on the east (MRT side) there are many muddy areas and one very old boardwalk that is nearly always under 2 to 4 inches of water.
Mtn bikes are allowed on the NCT in this area. Most of the riders I've met are friendly. OTOH, Sharing the trail can be difficult on a 2 foot wide trail along a steep slope.
The leaves are starting to turn now. October should be great color on both sides of the river.Sep 28, 2009 at 12:22 pm #1531219
Thanks for the info on the water sources on the NCT section. I suspect few know that.
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