Pre- and Post-Celebration Activities

Wednesday, May 1

Pre-Celebration Manistee River Trail Hike (Off-NCT) & Paddle  |  9:00AM-5:00PM

Take part in either the hike or the paddle, or both! (If hiking only, we will leave your car at Woodpecker Creek.)



8:30AM:  Lock up boats with a cable and padlock at Woodpecker Creek, store gear and paddles in a hiker’s car.

9:00-9:30 AM:  Sara will provide the shuttle to Red Bridge. If more than six participants are present, we may need more than one shuttle vehicle. Bring lunch, water, appropriate clothes for the weather, rain gear, well-worn hiking boots and hiking poles.

9:30 AM-1:30 PM:  Hike 9.6 miles on the Manistee River Hiking Trail from Red Bridge back to the suspension bridge over the Manistee River near Woodpecker Creek at a 2.5-3 MPH pace; up and down creeks, and through some muddy sections and over roots. This is Sara’s favorite Manistee hike, overlooking the river on sandy bluffs, with stops for photos of spring wildflowers and a short lunch. We must maintain a decent pace to get back for the paddle before 2:00PM.

1:30-2:00PM:  Transition from hike to paddle and snack break.



2:00-5:00PM:  Paddle 10 miles from Woodpecker Creek below Hodenpyl Dam to Red Bridge on the fastest section of the Manistee River. It has many riffles, is wide with no obstructions, below the sandy ridges, around many horseshoe bends. A PFD is required, but you should also have a snack, water, dry bag with extra warm clothes and appropriate clothes for the weather. This is not a beginner paddle or “float,” so participants must have river paddling experience.

Sara has a solo and a tandem canoe, and is willing to paddle the stern if someone less experienced would like to join for the paddle in the bow. If so, she can provide a paddle and PFD. If you need to rent a canoe or kayak, Pine River Paddlesports is recommended. They will provide drop off and pick up of boats for the group for $64. Each kayak or canoe rental is $40. Make reservations online.

Minimum 4, maximum 12. To sign up, contact Sara Cockrell at or (231) 620-3543. (Email preferred.)


If driving there on your own, head south from Traverse City on M-37 until you reach Mesick. Turn right on M-115, continuing through the M-37 turnoff to the south. After crossing over the Manistee River on M-115, make the first left onto Hodenpyl Dam Road. Drive 4-5 miles until you reach a metal guardrail on your left and an uphill grade. Turn left onto the dirt road, Blueberry Lane, at the small Consumers Power sign. Take the first right at the sign for Upper River Road and drive 2 blocks to Woodpecker Creek. Park across from the large Consumers Power sign, on the right. If you drove to the dam, you went a few blocks too far. There are pit toilets at both Hodenpyl Dam & Red Bridge. (Coordinates:  44.36369, -85.820293)

If 40° rain (or other inclement weather) is forecast, this event could be cancelled. Please check with Sara before you leave for the river, if uncertain. Internet and cell service are not reliable at Woodpecker Creek or along the Manistee River Trail.

Sunday, May 5 – Tuesday, May 7

Post-Celebration with UP “Softies”

This post-Celebration hike will be through at least half of the NCT Harbor Springs Chapter with the UP “Softies.” Please RSVP (required) to Shari Sanderson ( | (231) 838-9744). There will be no charge for this hike though donations for car shuttlers would be appreciated, but you are responsible for your own food and lodging. We will be car spotting, so be prepared to share your car, if necessary. More specific details will be provided with a confirmed RSVP. All distances in the following descriptions are rounded up.

Sunday, May 5  |  1:00PM  |  7 miles total (approx. 3.5 to 4 hours)

  • Section #1:  Kipp Road to Brutus Road. 5 miles with an option of stopping at approx. 4 miles. Moderate hike. Trail goes through red pine plantations and hardwoods. Passes Little Traverse Bay Golf Course. The first mile ascends to the back side of Nub’s Nob Ski Hill and the last mile descends to Brutus Road.
  • Section #2:  Brutus Road to Stutsmanville Road. 2 miles. Moderate hike. Trail ascends from Brutus Road to a logged hardwood forest, descends into wetlands and passes over an active stream, ascends into a beech-maple forest and descends to Stutsmanville Road.

Monday, May 6  |  9:00AM  |  14 miles total with options of stopping after 2 miles, 6.2 miles and 8.2 miles (approx. 7 to 8 hours)

  • Sections #3-6:  Stutsmanville Road to Sturgeon Bay Trail. Moderate to difficult due to distance and some elevation changes.
    • Section #3:  Stutsmanville Road to Lark’s Lake Road. 2 miles. Trail is very flat and passes through logged coniferous wetlands with boardwalks and puncheon. Be prepared with bug gear if we have an early spring and warm weather!
    • Section #4:  Lark’s Lake Road to Robinson Road. 4.2 miles. Trail ascends through hardwood forest and red pine plantation and descends to Robinson Road.
    • Section #5:  Robinson Road to Van Road. 2 miles. Trail begins on flat land with conifers and ascends through beech, maple and then into red pines with a slight decent to Van Road. *We will be shuttled through the road walk to Levering Road.
    • Section #6:  Levering Road to Sturgeon Bay Trail. 5.7 miles. Trail begins in coniferous wetlands then heads through mixed forest to a dam at Wycamp Creek. The Trail heads around Wycamp Lake and ascends through dunes to Sturgeon Bay Trail and the end of our day.

Tuesday, May 7  |  9:00AM  |  3 miles total (approx. 2 to 2.5 hours)

  • Section #7:  Sturgeon Bay Trail to Lakeshore Drive. Vigorous due to elevation. This section has vigorous ascents and descents through sand dunes containing pine, oak and balsam forest with a rewarding view of farmland after a long difficult climb.


More coming soon!