by Kevin Hillstrom & Laurie Collier Hillstrom (Falcon Guides)
An undemanding river that features many campgrounds and access points along its banks, the Manistee is ideally suited for family camping outings. A top-tier fishing stream that also ranks as one of Michigan’s more popular paddling rivers, the Manistee receives considerable pressure from various users. But the length of the river—which was a major waterway for Native Americans, fur traders, and lumberjacks in centuries past—eases congestion at all but the most popular spots.
Below the CCC state forest campground, the canoe flotillas that populate the upper reaches on summer weekends will likely diminish in number, and you will find yourself floating past rolling hillsides of maple, cedar, birch, and aspen. As you proceed downstream, the Manistee will continue to widen (to 100 feet in some spots), its slow but heavy current carving swimming holes out of its largely sand bottom on some outside turns.
© Kevin Hillstrom & Laurie Collier Hillstrom/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.