Backpacking - Jordan River Pathway

I haven't done this before, but someone told me it's one of the best hikes in Michigan! Jordan River Pathway is a scenic 18-mile loop, rated moderate to difficult. This will be a good practice trip if you want to do Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore the last week of August (backpacking, NOT the sea kayaking trip).

We'll have all day to cover only 8-10 miles. It's important to stop and enjoy the scenery, not just focus on reaching the destination as quickly as possible. I'll set a pace that everyone can keep up with and take plenty of snack breaks to re-group.

This isn't full but the event is limited to 20. It's cross-posted on both MAC and AAAC. I'll check both to know when it's full.

Please add yourself to the waiting list if you're interested. I'll add you officially after you prepay, or after your verbal assurance that you are prepared, equipped, committed, and will bring cash. $10 should cover the fees for both campgrounds.

Clickable links to prepay through MAC or AAAC

(For internal use - who paid me)

Friday night: car camp at Graves Crossing State Forest Campground. The campground is at the end of Crawford Road in Mancelona, MI,+mancelona,+mi

Saturday: Park at the Deadman's Hill Scenic Overlook and start hiking 8 miles along the river to the
Pinney Bridge State Forest Campground.,+Elmira,+Antrim,+Michigan

Sunday: have breakfast, pack up and hike 10 miles out, back to Deadman's Hill. On the way home, we'll probably stop in Gaylord or Grayling for a celebratory meal and drink.

Prerequisites - If you have never backpacked before, you have some preparing to do:

1) figure out how much weight you are able to carry on a long hike.
2) scrounge together all the gear you need and keep it all under your weight limit, including food and water.
3) complete one or more long practice hikes with the same footwear and fully-loaded pack you will use for this trip.
4) practice camping overnight to test your sleeping system.

We will have practice events to make sure everyone is ready and confident. We’ll also have a meeting a week or two before this trip to work out details. It will probably be combined with a practice hike.

RIE has a checklist of what you need:


Gas for your car may be your biggest expense so it's
important to arrange carpooling and take as few vehicles as possible. We'll figure this out a few days before the event. I'll suggest a place near Plymouth where we can leave extra cars.

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi all, It was great hiking with all of you. I just uploaded the photos on Meetup!

    July 22, 2013

    • Dylan C.

      Thanks! I'll upload some more pics this evening.

      July 22, 2013

  • Staten T. M.

    I am sooooo tired! Long drive but good fun.

    July 22, 2013

  • Patrick C.

    I still have room for one or two people in my car leaving Ypsilanti around 4:30-5:00.

    July 18, 2013

  • Neylan A.

    Hi everyone, I think my knee does not let me join you this weekend. I never wanted to miss it but I do not think It is a good idea now. Hope you all have a safe and fun weekend and hopefully I can join you next time :(

    July 18, 2013

  • Dylan C.

    FYI, I just e-mailed notes from the pre-meeting, and also posted them here:­

    July 17, 2013

  • Elle

    Weather looks nice for sat & Sunday!

    July 16, 2013

    • Dylan C.

      Saturday's high should be 72, down to 45 at night. Looks good!

      July 17, 2013

  • Dylan C.

    To save fuel and increase camaraderie we should pack into as few vehicles as possible.

    If you can drive, please say how many passengers you can accommodate. My Vibe can take me and 2 or 3 passengers with packs. We'll need a safe place to park extra vehicles. One option - there is plenty of space at my mom's farm - Maremeadow Farm, 9225 Joy Road, Plymouth, MI.

    There are no reservations at Graves Crossing so I may go up a little early to make sure we have enough sites. This question is important for carpooling - who can leave early on Friday and who can't leave until after work? We'll also go over carpooling at the pre-meeting.

    July 8, 2013

  • Nicholas F.

    Is anybody carpooling? I can chip in for gas with somebody.

    July 6, 2013

  • Nicholas F.

    So there is a chance I might not be able to come, but I'm pretty sure I can. I will be taking a field course and we are supposed to be getting back on the 18th (I think, this is the main concern, I need to double-check) I will be certain by Friday.

    July 1, 2013

  • Dylan C.

    FYI, this event isn't full but it could fill up before long (9 confirmed, 11 spots left). Something new I'm trying - adding people manually. This is because I want to have a couple ways to join, and also have an easy way to show interest and follow comments before you're quite prepared. 1) If you have attended events with AAAC before and you are good-to-go for backpacking, please let me know right away and I'll move you to the 'attending' list.

    2) Prepared first-timers are welcome, but I am asking those who have never done anything with AAAC to prepay. See link in event description.

    3) If you would like to do this trip, but you're not yet prepared and confident, please let me know what we can do to help get you there!

    June 24, 2013

  • Jeff M.

    Not able to attend, but there is an excellent trail map of Jordan River Pathway published by Michigan Trail Maps. You can purchase it at BackCountry North in Birmingham. Enjoy the trip! Deadman's Hill is a great climb. On a hot day, splashing around in the river at Pinney Bridge is very refreshing!

    June 5, 2013

    • Dylan C.

      Thanks! I don't get to Birmingham very often, but I found this map:­

      June 5, 2013

    • Jeff M.

      That should work fine, Dylan. If you do get a chance, though, check out the printed map. They've done a really good job of adding little details, trail notes, etc.

      June 12, 2013

  • Patrick C.

    Am I missing the link to pay? I have been backpacking for over twenty-something years- since I was a kid in Boy Scouts. Mostly weekend treks like this one, but I have done a few longer distance hikes such as Pictured Rocks. Gear-wise I am good except for needing to try out a new pair of socks. If anyone needs gas for a liquid-fuel stove, let me know as I have some Coleman white gas that I need to finish off before the can rusts out.

    June 12, 2013

    • Dylan C.

      You’re in! I made prepaying optional if you’re an experienced backpacker with an attendance history. The link to prepay is in the middle somewhere.

      June 12, 2013

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