Description - The Huron-Manistee National Forest is actually two forests combined for administration purposes. The Huron-Manistee National Forests contain approximately 964,974 acres of National Forest System (USFS) lands, including 5,786 acres of wetlands. The twenty-two mile River Road Scenic Byway parallels the historic Riviere Aux Sable (River of Sand). Today, the Au Sable River is still a major waterway, with six hydroelectric dams providing power and water recreation. Travelers will enjoy lush forests and breathtaking vistas from high banks along the river. Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness is a small area (3,450 acres) situated on the east shore of Lake Michigan. It is one of the few wilderness areas in the U.S. with an extensive lakeshore dunes ecosystem. The Nordhouse Dunes are interspersed with woody vegetation such as juniper, jack pine and hemlock. There are many small water holes and marshes dotting the landscape and dune grass covers many of the dunes.
Copyright: USDA Forest Service
Nordhouse Dunes, Huron-Manistee National Forests
- Within a day's drive of Chicago, Detroit, and Grand Rapids, the forest draws thousands of visitors from these metropolitan cities during all four seasons. Hiking, canoeing, mushroom gathering, mountain biking, birding, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, fall color viewing, hunting, horseback riding, off-road vehicle riding, camping, and other recreation opportunities keep visitors returning.
The River Road Scenic Byway, paralleling the Au Sable River, features the Lumberman's Monument Visitor Center, a great place for Forest visitors to become oriented with their surroundings. A treasure trove of recreation information waits. This is also the place to obtain your special use permit. The Byway is home to three Forest campgrounds, generally open May through September. Camping outside campgrounds is allowed on most areas of the Forests including many rustic sites accessible only by boat or canoe. A variety of impoundment access sites are available for boating and canoeing activities. The Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness, situated on the east shore of Lake Michigan, boasts a wide and sandy beach, excellent for solitary walks and sunset viewing. Dispersed camping is available, with some restrictions.
Recreation - Recreations pursued on the Huron-Manistee National Forests include hiking, backpacking, canoeing, mushroom gathering, mountain biking, birding, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, fall color viewing, hunting, horseback riding, off-road vehicle riding, and camping.
Climate - This area experiences four distinct seasons. Winters are cold and often bring snow for winter recreation activities. Spring and autumn are transitional periods, with normally mild temperatures but occasional seasonal fluctuations. The area is renowned for its spectacular autumn colors. Summers bring warm temperatures. Expect plenty of mosquitoes during the summer months.
The Huron-Manistee National Forest is located in the northern lower peninsula of Michigan. Spreading across the state from Lake Michigan on the west to Lake Huron on the east, the Manistee and the Huron are "united by rivers." The Forest is headquartered in Cadillac, with offices also in Oscoda, Baldwin, Manistee, and Mio. Lumberman's Monument Visitor Center is located along the River Road Scenic Byway on the AuSable River, at the east end of the Forest.