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Manistee River Trail/ NCT loop

The Manistee River Trail is an 11-mile trek that winds along the east side of the Manistee River near Mesick, Michigan. Combine that with a 12-mile stretch of the North Country Trail on the west side of the river, and you've got a 23-mile loop that ranges in difficulty from moderate to challenging, especially when hiked in two days (as we will). If you're up for the challenge of occasionally rough, hilly terrain in the middle of July, then this is a trip for you.

No beginners please! If you are new to the club, please send Christopher a note to explain your experience level. Participation is at the discretion of the organizers.

Itinerary (subject to change with adequate notice):

Friday, 19 July: leave Chicago as early as we can (most people will leave from work, but others will take the day off) drive the 5-6 hours to Seaton Creek Campground, car camp that night. Depending on how many people actually go on the trip (the number could fluctuate between now and then) and site availability, we will probably get either two single sites ($14/ night, limit 8 people per site) or one double site ($25/ night, limit 16 people per site).

Saturday, 20 July: hike south along the North Country Trail (about 12 miles) cross the Manistee River at Red Bridge, hike a few more miles north along the Manistee River Trail (we'll see how we feel at that point, but the idea is the more we hike on Saturday, the faster our hike out on Sunday) and set up camp.

Sunday, 21 July: hike back to Seaton Creek Campground, get lunch, drive 5-6 hours back to Chicago.


• $5 meetup fee - not refundable
• $4 vehicle parking fee per car (split within carpool)
• $14 or $25 campsite fee per site (split among participants at the location: bring cash) 
• Gasoline costs (split within carpool)

The role of organizers:

Organizers are responsible for trip planning and organizing carpools. We have researched the route and made campsite reservations, if necessary. We will also email participants to collect carpool information about 10 days prior to the trip. Be sure to check email and respond promptly. Those who fail to respond will be dropped from the trip.

Expectations of participants:

Backpacking can be a strenuous cardiovascular exercise. Participants should be in reasonably good health and physical fitness.

All participants are responsible for obtaining the essential gear for the trip.

While on the trail, we function as a group, so do whatever you can to contribute to the overall good of the group. This can mean, for example, gathering wood for a campfire, filtering water, waiting at every trail junction for the people behind you, or singing trail songs (or in my case, not singing). 

Organizers will do their best to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable time; however, you are ultimately responsible for your own comfort. 

Remember that July can bring hot/humid weather, so plan accordingly. Also, don't forget any medications, prescription eyewear, etc. Let an Organizer know if you have any special requirements.

Please contact an Organizer if you have any questions!

Additional Information

• Only group members may attend. +1 add-ons are not permitted. If you have a friend that wishes to attend, please have him or her join the group and add him/herself to the list.
• Dogs, minors, or other dependents are not permitted.
• We practice Leave No Trace outdoor ethics ( and expect the same behavior from all participants.

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  • JC

    The show was hilarious and I could not stop laughing; it was almost as much fun as the hike and camping :-D I had a blast with everyone. Wait, am I the Special Backpacker? Lol

    1 · July 22, 2013

    • Paul C.

      WhooHooo!! Of course you're the special backpacker, darling! Glad you wrapped up the weekend with style.

      July 23, 2013

  • Christopher

    Although I look many pictures this past weekend (some of which even turned out pretty well) I can't post them to Meetup yet because somewhere between Holland and Chicago, probably during one of our rest stops, my camera fell out of the car and I was too distracted by other stuff to pick it up and put it back. Speaking of that other stuff, thanks again to all of you for a great weekend, and for being just generally awesome after I got the news about Bruce. And also thanks to Adam, Mark, and JC for their suggestions for tracking down my camera. I've called every location at which we stopped, and posted an ad in the lost/found sections of Craigslist Holland. If and when it turns up, I'll post my pics.

    1 · July 23, 2013

  • Paul C.

    I hope our very special backpacker made it to the show and stayed awake!! Throw me an update on that one, okay?!
    What a really great weekend with you guys. I'll post my photos by week's end and hope to see you all again real soon for MeetUp or other excursions!

    1 · July 22, 2013

  • Z

    Bummer I just saw this and would have loved to come. Even though I'm new to this group, I've done overnight hikes at up to 15,000 feet with pretty steep and unstable terrain.. Can't you guys take an additional person?

    July 14, 2013

  • Christopher

    I'm working on the carpools now, but I can tell you this for certain: we will not hike in Friday night, i.e. there is no reason to take all day Friday off unless you just want to get up there early. We'll start hiking on Saturday.

    July 11, 2013

    • Paul C.

      Thanks for putting it all together, Christopher!

      July 11, 2013

  • Christopher

    I sent out the request for carpool information this evening. If you did not get that email, please contact me ASAP.

    July 9, 2013

  • Mark K.

    I've received multiple e-mails indicating that a spot has opened up for me and I've indicated (multiple times) that I'd like to go...but am still #1 on the wait list for some reason. Please let me know what I'm doing wrong. Thanks.

    July 7, 2013

    • Christopher

      You're not doing anything wrong, Mark, it's just the way Meetup works when payment is required at the time of RSVP: organizers have to manage the waitlist manually, which I've been doing over the past few minutes; that's why you keep getting those emails. Sorry for any confusion. Nothing is final yet, so there is still a chance you could go. I'll fill everyone in via email once RSVP's close.

      1 · July 7, 2013

  • Alex H.

    Hi Christopher, I have attended a boot camp in 2013, i am just beginning backpacking and I wanted to know if it would be okay to sign up for this trip. Your recommendation please?

    July 3, 2013

  • Jim

    Doh! Plans changed , have a great time...maybe there will be another trip here before the summer is over

    July 2, 2013

  • Milan

    I'm trying to sign up and pay but Paypal is saying there's a problem with the merchants PayPal account.

    June 25, 2013

    • Christopher

      Thanks for the heads-up. We're looking into this now.

      June 26, 2013

10 went

Your organizer's refund policy for Manistee River Trail/ NCT loop

Refunds are not offered for this Meetup.

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