North Country Trail NCT - Michigan Section

Morenci, Michigan 49256

North Country Trail NCT - Michigan Section

North Country Trail (NCT) - Michigan Section Professional Review and Guide

"An 875-mile linear route across the state, part of a national scenic trail from New York to North Dakota. The trail enters Michigan near Morenci in the southeastern corner of the state. From there it heads northwest through both urban and rural settings toward certified trail segments in Manistee National Forest. It then takes a decided turn northward through the Jordan Valley and Wilderness State Park to cross the Straits of Mackinac.

The Upper Peninsula segment of the trail system goes east to west starting in Hiawatha National Forest. It passes Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and parts of Ottawa National Forest before it exits Michigan at the town of Ironwood. Special attractions: A complete look at urban and rural Michigan, including Mackinac Bridge, Mackinac Island, Tahquamenon Falls, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Porcupine Mountains."

North Country Trail (NCT) - Michigan Section Reviews

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NCT - from Marilla Trailhead to Red Bridge access - is a fine stretch of trail, well blazed and well maintained (though there were occasional downed trees that needed to be cleared from the path). Connectors to the Manistee River Trail (including a really great suspension bridge crossing the river near the Hodenpyl Dam) allow for an ambitious loop day hike from Seaton Creek campground. The NCT climbs the tree-lined ridges along the Manistee River valley, pleasant, modestly challenging and sparsely traveled (it's a popular trail for really tough mountain bikers, but i only encountered one hiking family and no bikers). There's a short spur on the southern portion of this stretch, to the Red Hill Lookout - the views were mostly obstructed by foliage this time of year, but lots of wildflowers. All along the trail, the fauna is varied, and lots of critters (including birds of prey), too. The Manistee River Trail, in contrast, hugs the river, is poorly blazed and poorly maintained, and throngs of beer drinking locals camp all along the banks - though the views of the river are spectacular in some spots. Overuse is taking a toll on this trail, but with a little care and upkeep it could be spectacular. Unless you arrange for a pickup at Red Bridge (or similar access point), you should take the MRT as the second half of your loop, as the travel is much easier ... and it allows you to appreciate just how nice the North Country Trail is! It leaves me wishing for easier logistics in hiking other portions of the NCT, where transport back to the trail head is a must. BTW, I was here last autumn, and its a PRIME time of year along these two trails!

North Country Trail (NCT) - Michigan Section Photos

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Easy to Moderate
Skill Level
Year-round, but snowy weather in the northern portion precludes hiking in winter months. Late summer and early fall are perhaps the best times. Hunters may be in the area from September 15 until well after the first snowfall.
Virginia Wunsch, North Country Trail Association
Local Contacts
Lower Peninsula-Croton Dam to Hodenpyle Dam (Manistee National Forest); Interlochen to Boyne Falls. Upper Peninsula-Saint Ignace to Harvey (Hiawatha National Forest); and Marquette to Ironwood (Ottawa National Forest). County road maps are available through the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Information Services Center and from individual counties.
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018