Magoon Creek Natural Area, a great view and a nice walk near Manistee

March 22, 2012



Joan H. Young


mcp outdoors blogger

Just south of Manistee is a small natural area managed by Filer Township that offers a great variety of options in a compact space.

At Magoon Creek, you can picnic, hike, view Lake Michigan from a high bluff, or access the beach with a short walk. Magoon Creek flows into the big lake, and you can wade in its warmer waters as they bisect the sand.

The 1.5 miles of trail are marked with over 40 numbered and lettered posts. You’ll need the interpretive booklet to read the information, but in summer these should be found in the white mailbox near the park entrance.

There are three places to park. Officially, the area is only open in summer, but you can put a vehicle outside the gates. There’s room for about 10 cars. When the gate is open you can drive all the way to the picnic area, or turn left about halfway in, and access another parking lot.

From the upper level on the north side of the park all trails fall off to Magoon Creek. The easiest grade is on the trail near the water that leads to the beach. In fact, this was a former road, but is now blocked off and is reverting to sand. Along this path in the summer and fall, you’ll encounter a carpet of small pink flowers, some species of Sandwort.

The lower trail roughly follows Magoon Creek with its floodplain wetland, yet another ecosystem with its interesting plants. Along the way, if you have the booklet, you’ll read about how two homesteads altered the hillside. Both are long gone, but the foundation of one house is still surrounded by lilac bushes.

If you have someone in your group with mobility issues, the north section of trail on top of the hill is wide and level. Although all surfaces are natural, a wheelchair could move from the interior parking area to the picnic tables, and the latrines, which have about a 1-inch lip to their cement slabs.

A hand pump is available for water in summer, and there is a small pavilion. A number of picnic tables and grills are provided.

To reach Magoon Creek, take Red Apple Road west from U.S. 31 at the south edge of

Manistee, follow it 2 miles till it curves south and the park will be on the west side in 2 miles. From the south, turn west on Fox Farm Road, and follow it till reaching Red Apple Road. Turn north and the park is on the left in less than a mile.










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