Michigan Trail Tuesday: Cross The Little Mac Bridge on the Manistee River Trail

Michigan Trail Tuesday: Cross The Little Mac Bridge on the Manistee River Trail

Little Mac Bridge 2024 Michigan Manistee River

Michigan Trail Tuesday is our attempt to showcase a different trail or trail segment each week. The Mitten State is home to thousands of miles of trails, including the new Iron Belle Trail that runs from Detroit in the southeast to Ironwood in the western Upper Peninsula and more miles of the North Country Trail than any other state.

The Manistee River Trail is one of northern Michigan’s more popular trails, offering 11 miles of scenic views as it follows the banks of our state’s fourth-longest river. Located close to the North Country Trail, it can be part of a 23 mile loop hike for those feeling super adventurous. One of the highlights of the Manistee River Trail is crossing the river on the Little Mac Bridge, a 245 foot wooden suspension bridge.

Little Mac Bridge Side View Manistee River Mesick MI

The bridge was completed in 1996, and quickly became popular for connecting the Manistee River Trail (1992) and the North Country National Scenic Trail. The river trail runs between Hodenpyl Dam and Tippy Dam, and a parking area is available for those who just want to see the bridge or do some fishing. The Little Mac Bridge is the largest wooden suspension bridge in the Lower Peninsula. We noticed some similarities between this bridge and the one over the Black River near Ironwood, but the Little Mac Bridge is longer and much newer.

Little mac Bridge River View Manistee County MI


Little Mac Bridge Manistee River Trail North Country Trail

The views from on the bridge are quite spectacular, showcasing the river as it winds through the Huron-Manistee National Forests. This is a popular spot for fishing, and even though we visited on a cold February day there were at least 10 people trying their luck from the riverbank or in the water. Looking one way shows the tall bluffs and sandy river banks, while the other way shows off one of the many bends in this river.

Little Mac Bridge Manistee River Bluff View

To get to the parking area for the bridge (and the trail) turn onto Hodenpyl Dam Rd. from M-115 and follow it for a little more than 4 miles. Turn left onto Blueberry Lane (passing a parking area for the NCT) and follow it for half a mile, then turn right onto Upper River Rd. There is a lot of parking here, and you will see the bridge before you park. The walk down is short, but a little steep.

Manistee River Trail Map Michiga

The map above shows more of the trail as well as backcountry camping options.