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  1. #1

    Hiking the MRT/ NCT Loop in early May. Any Tips?

    My brother and I will be traveling from Louisiana & Texas to hike the MRT/ NCT loop in early May. We have no earthly idea of what type of weather to expect or what kind of wildlife that we should expect to encounter. Both of us will be "hanging" formthe trip. Can anyone give us a few tips and what to expect? I know, it's a loooong way for us to travel to hike this loop, but i have a business trip scheduled for th following week and didn't want to miss an opportunity to hike and hang in Michigan!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Stone's Avatar
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    Early in May the weather is a crap shoot, of course that applies to anytime of the year in Michigan. Wildlife, you will hear coyotes everynight on the NCT side, not so much on the MRT side. Have never had a problem with animals on the trails there, but there are bears in the area.

    For the trail, the NCT has more hills than the MRT side. Water on the NCT side is limited to the Red Bridge trailhead and Eddington Creek at the north end. The Eddington Creek area is a great place to hang, either in the Pine Barrens before you reach the creek or on the other side by the power lines, and down in the valley just to the east, which has easier access to the creek. Hope that helps, if you have anymore questions dont be afraid to ask.
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  3. #3
    sr1355's Avatar
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    What he said... I'd start at Upper River Trail head which is roughly downriver end of NCT side. Hike to Eddington day one, 6-7 miles. Great place to stay with good water source. Day two finish NCT side and head down river on MRT to Slagle Creek area and backcountry in the woods along creek. Probably around 9-10 miles or so day two. Day three finish MRT side and head back to TH, 3-4 miles. You can do it in two days as well stopping on MRT side further upriver than Slagle creek. NICE spring hike and the woods should be waking up after a long winter...
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  4. #4
    Thanks for the tips, but I have a question about the bear thing. Do I need to have an actual bear bag or will any bag do as long as we hang it down wind from camp site and 200 ft cross wind from meal site? Never had to deal with bears! Also, is breakfast from the hammock even possible in bear country?

  5. #5
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    I've hiked the nct/mrt loop several times as its my favorite close to home hike. I've done the loop in a single day, two, and three days. I prefer starting at red bridge and doing the nct side first and then taking my time down the mrt side as it hugs the river most the way. Hammock hanger heaven. Bears and critters have never been an issue for me but I hang a simple ditty bag with food at least 10 feet up and about 30-50 yards from camp. Although not necessary given how well the trail os marked, the NCT office in Lowell, MI has a great map of the loop identifying mileage, intersecting forest roads, spurs, water sources, and the handful of federal backcountry campsites. You can camp pretty much anywhere and there are many commonly used sites on both sides. There are a few rules about distance off trail and from water that you should check out (can be found by either googling or get the map). I did a short youtube video of a trip with my son a few years ago of this loop. There are several youtubes of various hikers if you search backpacking the MRT. I have hiked the area mid May and it was mild, no bugs, and everything green and lush. That said, agree with the earlier comment, it's a crap shoot on weather. Enjoy!

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