As you drive along M-37 in Northern Michigan, you’ll come across a turnoff for a suspension bridge that spans the Manistee River southwest of Mesick. This is the Little Mac Bridge, a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.
The wooden suspension bridge is located just a few miles northeast of the town of Manistee in the heart of the Manistee National Forest. It is a popular spot for hikers, photographers, and nature lovers alike, and it provides stunning views of the river and surrounding forest.
If you’re looking for a picturesque spot to enjoy nature and take in the beauty of Michigan, the Little Mac Bridge over the Manistee River is the perfect destination.
About the Little Mac Bridge
The Little Mac Bridge was built in 1996 and is named after the Mackinac Bridge, which spans the Straits of Mackinac between Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas. While the Little Mac Bridge is much smaller in size, it is no less impressive.
“The suspension bridge over the Manistee River is absolutely beautiful. If you have a chance to explore at night, this entire area is even more magical!Jeff Liebzeit, Google review
The bridge is a wooden suspension bridge that spans 245 feet across the Manistee River and is 14.7 feet above the water. The pedestrian-only bridge’s design allows for unobstructed views of the river and the surrounding landscape, making it a popular spot for photographers and nature enthusiasts.
The bridge is a popular spot for hikers because it is part of the North Country National Scenic Trail, which stretches for more than 4,000 miles across seven states. The trail is open year-round and offers hikers the opportunity to explore the natural beauty of Michigan.
“The bridge is at the end of a maintained dirt road. To get to the bridge there are steps leading down or a fun little dune to hop down. On either side of the bridge you are able to get down in to the river. It is a perfect spot to put on a pair of waders and start fishing. While there we caught a little rainbow fish but saw several cats. It would be a great place to drop a line for cats at night for sure. The bridge is pretty, clean and well maintained. The trail allows for bikes but you better be on your bike game to ride it. All in all it was a great little hike and a fun place for fishing.”Rebecca Chandler, Google review
When you walk across the Little Mac Bridge, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the Manistee River and the surrounding forest. The bridge is also a great spot for photography, especially during the fall when the leaves change colors and create a beautiful backdrop.
Overall, the Little Mac Bridge over the Manistee River is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves nature and wants to experience the beauty of Michigan. So pack your hiking boots, grab your camera, and head out to this beautiful spot in the Manistee National Forest.
Things to Do Near the Little Mac Bridge
If you’re planning a visit to the Little Mac suspension bridge, you’ll find plenty of activities to keep you busy in the surrounding area. Here are a few suggestions to make the most of your trip.
Hiking & Biking Trails
For 8.8 miles over rolling hills, the Manistee River Trail follows the Manistee River’s east shore. There are bridges over two creeks and various marshes along the walk.
Many hikers like visiting the waterfall near the trail’s northern end. Also, hikers can get panoramic views of the Manistee River and the surrounding area from several observation points along the trail. The path has a number of scattered campsites too.
Around the Manistee River, the Manistee River Trail creates a 23-mile loop. The Marilla and Upper River Road Trailheads for the Manistee River Trail, as well as the Red Bridge and Seaton Creek Accesses for the North Country National Scenic Trail, provide access to the circle trail.
The Manistee River is known for its excellent fishing opportunities because there is plenty of trout, salmon, and steelhead in the waters.
Anglers can fish from the shore or rent a boat to explore the river from the water. If you’re new to fishing, consider hiring a guide to show you the best spots and techniques.
Canoeing & Kayaking
For a more adventurous way to explore the river, consider renting a canoe or kayak. Several rental companies in the area offer equipment and shuttle services, making it easy to spend a day on the water.
Keep in mind that the river can be fast-moving and challenging in some areas, check the conditions and wear appropriate safety gear.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed way to enjoy the area, take a scenic drive along the river. There are several pull-off points where you can stop and take in the scenery.
Local Restaurants Near the Little Mac Bridge
When you visit the Little Mac Bridge, you are sure to work up an appetite. Luckily, the area is home to a variety of local restaurants that offer delicious food and drinks. Here are a few options to consider.
This Mesick restaurant offers all-day breakfast and American cuisine in a family-friendly atmosphere. You’ll find wet burritos, burgers, pancakes, and more on its affordable menu.
If you’re in the mood for something a little more lively, head to The Painted Lady Saloon in nearby Manistee. This bar and grill serves classic pub fare — like burgers, wings, and nachos — as well as a variety of beers and cocktails. The restaurant often has live music and other events, so check its schedule.
For a fine dining experience in Manistee County, check out The Bluefish Kitchen + Bar. This restaurant features local produce in its classic dishes, as well as craft cocktails. The atmosphere is modern and trendy with a lively bar area and plenty of seating.
Local Lodging Near the Little Mac Bridge
When you’re planning a trip to the Little Mac Bridge Manistee River area, you’ll want to make sure that you have a comfortable place to stay. Fortunately, several lodging options are available in the area to suit every budget and preference.
Cabins & Cottages
For a rustic experience, you might consider one of the many cabins or cottages available for rent in the area. These cozy accommodations offer a more intimate experience with nature and the river. Many of these rentals come equipped with kitchens, fireplaces, and outdoor grills.
Campgrounds & RV Parks
If you’re traveling on a budget, several campgrounds and RV parks are in the area. These accommodations offer a more affordable option for those who want to experience the great outdoors. You can expect to find amenities such as showers, picnic tables, and fire pits.
No matter the type of lodging you choose, you’ll have a comfortable and enjoyable stay in the Little Mac Bridge Manistee River area.
Plan Your Little Mac Bridge Adventure
Michigan is full of interesting places to explore, and the Little Mac Bridge is one that offers amazing views of the Manistee River and surrounding landscape, giving you the ultimate photography experience.
And since it’s located in the Manistee National Forest, you’ll have plenty to discover in the area.