Upper Manistee River Backcountry Campsites


The Upper Manistee dispersed campsites are primitive campsites on the Manistee River Backwaters of Tippy Dam Pond, located along the banks of the Manistee River between Tippy Dam and Hodenpyl Dam. The Government Landing location includes 7 sites, in which, 5 are located on the water and 2 sites are on higher ground overlooking the water. There are 2 sites located on the water that are walk in only. The Red Bridge River Access offers 4 sites that are walk in only and allow easy access to the Manistee River. These sites are very popular and are by reservation only Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend.


The Upper Manistee River Area offers motorized and non-motorized boating opportunities, and fishing is excellent on the Manistee River. Wildlife viewing may include encounters with a variety of species such as bald eagles, loons, trumpeter swans, black bears, white tailed deer, river otters, and turtles. Many of these species are secretive and sensitive to disturbances, so please view them from a distance. Hiking opportunities in the area are numerous with the North Country Trail and the Manistee River Trail, as the top draw to the area. Both trails offer excellent views of the forested terrain and the Manistee River.


Each site is designed for single camp unit use with a maximum of 8 people and 2 vehicle per site. Sites include a picnic table, fire ring, and a lantern hook. Vault toilets are located with in walking distance of each site. A boat ramp is located at both Government Landing and Red Bridge. No drinking water is available at Government Landing, but drinking water is available at Red Bridge.

Natural Features

The Upper Manistee River Area is one of the more scenic areas of the Manistee National Forest and the outdoor enthusiast will enjoy a rustic camping experience enhanced by the scenic river, peace and solitude, and abundant wildlife. The Manistee River with its steep slopes and sharp turns meanders through native hardwoods and pines.


This location is unstaffed. To speak with our main office for general information, please call: (877) 444-6777.

For All Campsites: 

  • From the intersection of M55 and M37, head west on M-55 for 2.7 miles
  • Turn right onto N Warfield Rd, then travel north for 5.1 miles
  • Turn left onto N Coates Hwy and travel west until you cross the bridge over the Manistee River
  • Red Bridge campsites will be on the left

For Government Landing Campsites:

  • Continue west on N Coates Hwy toward Upper River Rd 0.6 miles
  • Turn left onto River Rd/Upper River Rd and head south for 1.3 miles
  • Government Landing campsites will be on the left


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