My husband and I along with our young black lab went on a backpacking/canoeing trip along the Manistee River. We camped at the Red Bridge access site on Friday night. We got there at about 9:30pm due to work, but there were a couple of sites available and we camped for free. We heard coyotes and owls that night as we were falling asleep. The next morning, bright and early, we began our backpacking hike. We crossed the bridge and walked up the road a little way to the trail head. The trail changes throughout the hike as it winds along the river banks. You will see marshy areas, woody areas, and beautiful little streams back in the woods. I never thought that hiking a long a river could be so amazing, but it really was like something straight out of a "Pure Michigan" commercial. We did most of the Manistee River Trail on the East side of the river and stopped and made camp just before Hopendyl Dam. We were exhausted! What a great work out! We had planned on hiking the North Country Trail on the West side of the river, but decided to call a canoe rental place and they agreed to meet us at the dam and bring us a canoe. It worked perfectly! Canoeing back along the river was a different kind of experience from hiking and it was nice to relax a little. We had a wonderful trip and definitely want to go back and try the whole 20 mile loop!
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