Hiking in Northern Michigan

Trails at all difficulty and experience levels:

The Little Manistee River is a shallow, swift flowing river that runs primarily through Manistee County.  The primary paddling area begins at 9 mile bridge and runs all the way to Manistee Lake before eventually hooking up with Lake Michigan.  This is a great river for beginners and advanced paddlers (depending on the season).

There are two defined paddling segments. One is the Upper Little Manistee which runs from 9 mile bridge to the Little Manistee River Weir/Egg-Take station, and the Lower Little Manistee from the Weir to Stronach Bridge.  The upper section is more swift flowing and tighter with downed debris and river obstacles. The lower segment is shallower and a little wider (ideal for tubing).

Difficulty: Moderate

River Amenities/Quick Look:

  • The majority of the sites have dirt parking areas and are primitive in nature.  For a complete list of amenities, visit the individual points outlined on the map.

9 Mile Bridge Access

Site Amenities:
– Primitive Parking Area


6 Mile Bridge Access

Site Amenities:
– Primitive Parking Area


9 Mile Bridge >> 2.5 hrs >> 6 Mile Bridge >> 1.0 hrs >> Manistee Weir >> 2.5 hrs >> Old Stronach Road >> 1.0 hrs >> Stronach Park

Total float time for the entire segment outlined >> 7.0 hrs

  • Instalaunch – Manistee Paddlesports (Little Manistee River Trips) – Learn more

Top Family Friendly Float Segment:

Despite being labeled a “moderate” difficulty river, much of that pertains to the upper manistee river area.  The most family friendly area exists on the lower segment from the Weir to Old Stronach Road.  This is a great 2.5 hour float – ideal for families, tubers, first time canoers and kayakers.

Top Advanced Float Segment:

From 9 Mile bridge to the Weir is a 3.5 hour float and perfect for those looking for more of a challenge.  With swift current and many river obstacles, there may even be an impromptu portage required.  Despite the swift flowing current, there is no white water on the Little Manistee River.


  • No categories


* indicates required
Email Format

Unplug. Explore. Michigan's Great Outdoors.

The Michigan's Great Outdoors collaborative consists of five Northern Michigan counties all working together to promote tourism in the region.  With so many hiking, biking, winter sports, and ORV trails in the region that dynamically connect these counties, this site is devoted to educate the first-time visitor to the region looking to explore the great outdoors for the first time.  We welcome you to browse this site and explore all this region has to offer.