Manistee River Canoe Trip, 2012

Two canoes on the Manistee River by a big sand bluff

We had the best weather ever in 2012. From the full moon on Friday night to the end the trip on Labor Day, we enjoyed days filled with blue skies and cool evenings. The Manistee River in northern Lower Michigan's Pere Marquette State Forest is an excellent river for canoe camping. We enjoy camping along the river since most of this land is undeveloped. Camping along the bluffs is very popular on a long holiday weekend. We find places to camp that are not accessible by motor vehicles. After our car shuttle early Saturday morning, we loaded up our canoes with all of our gear for two overnights along the river. We finished canoeing about noon on Monday. The picture on the right shows one of the high sand bluffs that are common on the Manistee.

Manistee canoe trip links

Wilderness Canoe Trips
Our outfitter is conveniently located on the Manistee River by the M-37 Bridge. We drop our cars off Saturday morning at the outfitter which is also our takeout point, and ride back to our campground with the rental canoes. When we finish our canoe trip, we pack up our cars for the long drive home.
Wexford County
Link to Michigan DNR resources in Wexford County
North Country Hiking Trail
Link to information about the North Country Hiking Trail. Part of this 4,600 mile trail from North Dakota to New York, runs along the north bank of the Manistee in the section that we canoed.


  • Kay and Andy pumping water Saturday morning from a well at Friday night’s campground.
  • Loading our canoes with everything we need for two nights of camping along the river
  • Since we had 11 people, George paddled solo on Saturday, and Alex paddled solo on Sunday and Monday.
  • Paula and Alice canoeing
  • Linda and Floyd canoeing
  • George and Andy carrying gear up to our Saturday campsite


  • George and Yvonne cooking blueberry pancakes for breakfast.
  • Group enjoying breakfast around the campfire
  • Loading canoes Sunday morning
  • Alex paddling solo by sand bluff
  • Passing gear up to our Sunday campsite
  • Our gear at the top of the bluff
  • Alex and Jean floating downstream. Several of us hiked upstream and floated down the river to our campsite. A great way to cool off on a hot day!
  • Floyd relaxing before supper
  • Andy sawing firewood
  • Paula and Alice toasting marshmallows in the campfire
  • George making popcorn over the campfire

Monday (Labor Day)

  • Jean enjoying her morning coffee, and a beautiful view
  • Savoring our last campfire before paddling 3 hours to the takeout
  • Preparing to pack up on Monday
  • George and Yvonne’s tent and gear overlooking the river
  • Boat ramp at Harvey Bridge where we stopped for a morning break
  • Yvonne and George at Harvey Bridge