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Jordan River Pathway

Nothwest Michigan, Michigan

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Jordan River Pathway

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  • A beaver pond along the Jordan River Pathway.- Jordan River Pathway
  • A beaver pond along the Jordan River Pathway.- Jordan River Pathway
  • Fall color along the Jordan River Pathway.- Jordan River Pathway
  • Meadows surround the valley floor.- Jordan River Pathway
  • Dense forest in fall color along the Jordan River Pathway.- Jordan River Pathway
  • Jordan River.- Jordan River Pathway
  • Jordan River.- Jordan River Pathway
  • Fall color along the Jordan River Pathway.- Jordan River Pathway
  • Scenic overlook near Pinney Bridge.- Jordan River Pathway
  • Campground at Pinney Bridge.- Jordan River Pathway
  • Jordan River.- Jordan River Pathway
  • Meandering creek along the Jordan River Pathway.- Jordan River Pathway
  • New growth and fall color along the Jordan River Pathway.- Jordan River Pathway
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Fall color. Scenic river. Logistically easy.
Cons: 
Single campground can be full.
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Region:
Nothwest Michigan, MI
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Number of days: 
2
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
National or state forest pass
Permit required: 
No
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
18.70 mi (30.09 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Typically multi-day: 
Yes
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

The Jordan River Pathway is a scenic 18.7-mile trail encompassing all that is pure Michigan. The trailhead is easily located off of Deadman's Road, a short distance from the main highway. Arriving early ensures plenty of trailhead parking space for the overnight backpacking trip. The lot can become full in the afternoons, especially during peak fall color. The trailhead provides a pit toilet, but no running water. Overnight parking requires a Michigan State Recreation Pass, which is $11 for Michigan Residents. The trail is well marked and well used, making it easy to follow.  The loop trail can be followed in either direction; however, following the trail counterclockwise or in numerical order seems to be more popular.  At the halfway point, the Pinney Bridge State Forest Campground offers backpacker a place to spend the night in 14 well spaced, walk-in-only sites.  The fee is $13 per site. The campground has well water and pit toilets.

The loop has something for everyone, including meandering streams, old-growth forests, wildlife, and scenic overlooks. Visit during the fall for a color overload. The 18-mile trail does include some short climbs to boost the heart rate, and the route will enter and exit the valley several times. However, the trail is generally very well maintained and the miles go by quickly. Avoid visiting in the spring and early summer as the valley floor stays quite wet well into the warmer months, leading to swarms of mosquitoes. Also, the trail can be muddy; wood planks have been placed over the worst areas, and bridges have been built over all water crossings. If time allows, visit the National Fish Hatchery located within the park property.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(1 within a 30 mile radius)

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