Five of The Best Intermediate Spring Hiking Destinations in the Midwest

2. North Country National Scenic Trail, Michigan: Manistee River Trail

The story of the Midwest is largely the story of the Great Lakes, as you can see on this list—but the North Country National Scenic Trail offers more than just lakeside views. There is a proper mix here, including farm and forest country in addition to the sandy dunes, giving the full gamut of the Midwestern hiking experience.

Enter at Manistee National Forest to experience the Manistee River Trail for an experience of wild Michigan landscape still unencumbered by modern touches like cottages and even roads. The river is pleasant and even makes for famous trout fishing—on land, you’ll find a good mix of forest and challenging hiking.


Pros: Variety, View, Wide Access

Cons: More of a regional trail than a local one

Congestion: Medium

Ideal Time of Year to Hike: Spring, Summer

Total Distance and Duration: ≈4600 Miles, 11 Miles on Manistee River Trail

Trail Uses: Hiking, Camping, Cycling

Dogs Allowed? Depends on area; ask ahead

Recommended Gear: Day pack, camping supplies, food and water

Elevation at Trailhead: ≈1,000’ near Pittsford, Michigan

Costs: None

Directions: At Manistee National Forest: see campground directions online.

Manistee River Trail

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