Magoon Creek is a Filer Township Natural Area. It was developed in 1983 with money from the Natural Resources Trust Fund and the cooperation of a number of agencies.
There are about 1.5 miles of trail which traverse a diverse number of ecosystems, given the small area of the park. There are interpretive stations, a Lake Michigan beach, and a picnic area.
It's a great place for a quick hike or a whole afternoon with the kids.
Hiking and Snowshoeing
The description begins at the parking lot by the road (so as to follow the numbered signs in order). During the summer there are supposed to be brochures in the mailbox on the north edge of the parking where the trail begins. These booklets are prepared by Filer Township and give information that corresponds to the numbered posts.
These trails would be fine for snowshoeing in the winter with the possible exception of the Steep Hill Section.
North Trail Section (posts 1-10)
Leave the parking area to the north and turn west almost immediately. This trail is wide and level, and the entrance road is often visible to your left. Reach a trail junction. Take the right fork to access the picnic area (pavilion is visible), and the left fork to continue on the numbered trail. (0.3 mile)
Steep Hill Trail Section (posts 11-19)
Take the left fork which leads south to the access road. Cross this between posts 12 and 13. At post 14 the trail skirts an extra parking area and begins to drop down the steep hill. This trail is eroded and rutted. Reach a fork triangle. Right turn goes to beach. Left turn continues numbered trail. (0.2 mile)
Lower Trail Section (posts 20-31)
Turn left (east) and you are now following the marshy area which borders Magoon Creek. This section of trail is level, but slightly ditched. Reach point 31 and the old Wojczechowski homestead site where the foundation is still intact. The official trail turns uphill, but there is a well-used volunteer trail which also continues straight. (0.1 mile)
Switchbacked Trail Section (posts 32-39)
There are several posts in the vicinity of the homestead, but after finding them, take the most used trail which leads uphill. This trail makes a couple of switchbacks in order to make the climb easier, and also to protect the hillside. At about post 36 the trail becomes more level and wider. Return to parking area near Red Apple Road. (0.25 mile)
Beach Trail and connector (posts A-E and creekside)
From the picnic area, cross the parking area to reach the large rock with a placque noting the cooperative effort to create this park. Follow the old road gradually downhill. There are a couple of sandy turnoffs crossing this trail which lead to the beach (right), or connect with the Lower Trail Connector. Keep going straight to reach Magoon Creek. Follow the creek until you reach a small bridge (this is private!- there is Magoon Land on the south side of the creek to the east, but it is so marshy, it's not pleasant exploring). Take a left turn at the bridge and follow this trail (the two small side trails from the beach trail will come in on your left) until you come to the triangle junction at posts 18-20. (0.5 mile)
Outer Hill Trail Section
From the Wojczechowski homestead you can continue on the level for another 200 feet, and then this less-used and unofficial trail will turn uphill. It rejoins the numbered trail near post 37. (0.25 mile)
Access- Three parking areas, one by Red Apple Road open year round, two areas inside gate.
Restrictions- No camping
Distance and time- About 1.5 total miles of trail
Trail Markers- none- paths are well-worn, and the interpretive posts on the main loop are 4x4s with white tops and green numbers
Treadway- natural surface, mostly packed forest soil, some loose sand
Grades- All north-south trails must climb/descend the hill to the creek. The least steep is the beach route.
Ecosystem- sand bluff on the shore of Lake Michigan. Mixed deciduous woods. Creek outlet to Lake Michigan. Wetlands. Second-growth over old homestead sites.
Other points of interest- The city of Manistee is a few miles north with small city services.
Most recent date this info personally checked on foot- March 2012
Back to map Comment
Interpretive- This is one of the nicest interpretive trails in the area. The numbered signs have been repainted this year, and are mostly in place. The trick is to get a booklet to go with the posts. There are supposed to be some in the white mailbox by the road. However, if there are none there you can also check with the Visitor's Bureau (310 1st St., Manistee, MI 49660, 877-626-4783 or 231-398-9355) or at Filer Township Hall (2505 Filer City Rd, Manistee, MI 49660, 231-723-3138). There are some of the stations where the plant or tree is no longer to be found, and there is no help given in the booklet as to idenfication, so there may be some frustration at some of the posts. However, with 39 numbers and 5 letters with interpretation, there is plenty to see and read about even if you can't find all the items.
Be kind to others and return the booklet to the mailbox when you are done!
Picnicking- There are a number of picnic tables in a wooded area on the bluff. Several grills. Small pavilion. There is a rail fence to protect people from accidental falls down the steep bank.
Scenic Views- Great views of Lake Michigan from the bluff. You can see the Manistee Channel and lights to the north.
Rest Rooms and Potable Water
Rest Rooms- Latrines open in summer
Potable Water- hand pump available in summer
Swimming- Lake Michigan sand beach at the Magoon Creek outlet is accessible on foot from the main parking area. The creek outlet is sandy and shallow- a nice place for children to wade.
Handicap Accessibility- This park is somewhat accessible. The North Trail Section is wide and level, and could certainly be navigated by someone is a sport wheelchair. The Switchbacked Trail Section is wide and level until about post 36, at which point you would need to go back.
From the bluff parking lot, you have to change from gravel to natural surface, but it is level to reach the picnic tables.
The latrines have a slight lip (one inch or less) to change from the path to the cement. The hardest part of latrine access is that the path is wood chip, and is not completely level, so it could be difficult.
Additional Facilities- none
Seasonality- parking at Red Apple Road is open all year, but gate with access to other areas is locked in winter. The area is open for hunting. Take proper precautions in season.
Ecosystem- Various- Lake Michigan shorline, high dry bluff, creekside wetland, former farmland/orchard
Potable Water- hand pump at picnic area for summer use
most recent date this info personally checked- March 2012
Maintained by- Filer Township, 2505 Filer City Rd, Manistee, MI 49660, 231-723-3138
From US 31 on the south edge of Manistee, take Red Apple Road west. It will curve southward in 2 miles and Magoon Creek Park is on the right (west) in another 2 miles.
Or, from the south, take Fox Farm Road west from US 31, and go 3 miles till reaching Red Apple Road. Turn north, cross Magoon Creek, climb a hill and the park will be on your left.