Manistee River Canoe Trip, 2010

The Manistee River in Michigan's Pere Marquette State Forest is an excellent river for canoe camping. We canoed a stretch in Wexford County during Labor Day Weekend leading a group from the Sierra Club. Two people brought canoes, and we rented two canoes from Wilderness Canoe Trips. The current is strong for swimming, but not challenging for canoeists with basic skills. On a hot day, it is fun to hike upstream and float down to your campsite, but the water is pretty cold. We did not encounter very many obstacles, like rocks and logs, that can be difficult to maneuver around in fully loaded canoes. Much of the river flows through uninhabited forest land. Several high sandy bluffs occur along bends in the river. The North Country Hiking Trail, part of the 4,600 miles from North Dakota to New York, runs along the north bank of the river in much of this section. Since parts of the river are accessible by dirt roads, large campsites can occasionally be seen along the river bank. The Manistee river is also popular for fishing, especially for brown trout, pike, and walleye. Many people enjoy using the river for a variety of activities.


  • At the Water Pump
  • Saturday Breakfast
  • Loading Canoes at Dock
  • At the water pump
    Each person brought at least three gallons of water for the trip.
  • After an early morning car shuttle to drop cars at the take out and pick up two rental canoes, we ate breakfast in a light rain before loading canoes.
  • We carried a lot of gear for only two nights of camping.
  • Loading Canoes at Dock
  • Paddling Under an Old Railroad Bridge
  • Putting up the Tarp
  • One advantage with canoe camping is that you can bring a lot more stuff than on backpacking or bicycle camping trips.
  • We paddled under an old railroad bridge shortly after we started paddling on Saturday morning.
  • Setting up the tarp on Saturday afternoon
  • Andy sawing wood for the campfire
  • Craig grilling corn for dinner on Saturday
  • Andy sawing wood for the campfire
  • Craig grilling corn for dinner on Saturday


  • Sunday Morning at Campsite
  • George and Yvonne
  • Carying Gear Down to Canoes
  • Sunday morning breakfast
  • George and Yvonne cooked blueberry pancakes!
  • Carrying gear down to canoes
  • Loading Canoes
  • Almost Ready
  • Paddling by a Large Sand Bluff
  • Loading canoes on Sunday morning
  • Almost done loading canoes
  • One of the many large sand bluffs on the Manistee
  • Danette and Helen
  • Marlena and Andy
  • Two canoes on the Manistee
  • Danette and Helen
  • Marlena and Andy
  • Sunday we saw only a few other groups in canoes and kayaks.
  • Craig and Abby paddling
  • Helen and Danette paddling
  • Two canoes with a large sand bluff in background
  • Craig and Abby
  • Helen and Danette practice maneuvers
  • Paddling near Sunday campsite
  • Our Campsite
  • Cooking Soup
  • Sunday Night Campfire
  • Our Sunday night campsite was on a bluff overlooking the river.
  • The pasta/lentil soup was still frozen and needed a lot of warming up.
  • Sunday night at the campfire

Monday (Labor Day)

  • Marlena and Yvonne by the campfire
  • Canoe passint the campsite with the yellow kayaks
  • Two canoes nearing the end of the trip
  • At the campfire early Monday before breakfast
  • Paddling past the campsite with the yellow kayaks on Monday morning
  • Shortly after noon, we packed up the cars and began the long drive home. On the way we stopped for lunch at our favorite restaurant in the Baldwin area, Club 37!