Old Manistee Trail
Exact Location:
Newaygo County- Croton Dam to north county line
Lake County- south county line to McCarthy Lake
Michigan Trail Finders Club logo
Michigan Trail Finders Club logo (provided by David Snoek)
The Michigan Trail Finders Club was formed in 1969, based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The club sponsored hiking, canoeing and cross-country ski outings. They were also dedicated to establishing a library of information about trails, rivers and lakes, and to help protect the wilderness character of trails and waterways for coming generations of hikers and paddlers.

The North Country Trail owes them a debt of gratitude. When the North Country National Scenic Trail was authorized this group of enthusiastic outdoor folks signed an agreement with the Manistee National Forest to build the trail within the Forest.

Originally, it had been proposed that the trail follow the Lake Michigan shoreline. Although that would have been very scenic, the sensibility of building trail where there was already public land, just a few miles inland, became readily apparent.

Old Michigan Trail marker
Old Manistee Trail marker (provided by David Snoek)
An old guidebook states, "On January 9, 1971, twelve Trailfinders hiked in the Manistee National Forest from Sylvan Lake to Alley Lake in Newaygo County. This was the first hike on the proposed Manistee Trail... Plans were made to extend the Manistee Trail 55 miles north to Wellston in Manistee County."

The last guidebook to the Manistee Trail, published in 1989, takes the trail as far north as McCarthy Lake, in Lake County. The current route of the NCT still overlies the approximate route of the Old Manistee Trail

Old Manistee Trail Guidebook, 1989
Conversations with David Snoek, member Michigan Trail Finders Club.
Every effort is made to provide up-to-date accurate information, but errors are bound to occur. Please contact about errors, corrections or additions.

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The North Country National Scenic Trail is 4800 miles long, spanning eight states. For more information, visit the North Country Trail Association