This boardwalk/sidewalk wanders along the shore of the Manistee River 1.4 miles through downtown Manistee to Lake Michigan. It is the most interesting urban pathway in these four counties. There is parking provided at multiple locations along the length of River and Water Streets in Manistee, and at 1st Street Beach. Designed for pedestrians and handicapped accessible, there are multiple benches, picnic areas, interpretive signs, private docks, charter fishing docks, and nearby businesses. The trail ends at Lake Michigan. There are lights at the east end, so you could stroll the downtown sections after dark on a summer evening.
Boat Launch- at First Street Beach at the west end of the Riverwalk, just west of Cherry Street
Fishing- Fishing is allowed from the boardwalk in any location which does not interfere with boats docked or other obvious permissible uses.
The description begins at the parking lot at the end of Jones St. where there is ramped access to the boardwalk. Turn west, and go under the US 31 bridge. Stair access (about 30) to House of Flavors. Deck and seating at the top of the stairs. Pass several docks at the river edge.
Stairs to River St at Division St, pass back sides of several businesses close to the water, stairs and ramp to River St, stairs to River St at Greenbush St with decorative iron gateway at the top. Pass parking area with handicapped parking spots at river level. Pass a fish cleaning station, and River Street Gallery
The boardwalk splits into two levels occasionally with handicapped access on one level, and stairs as an option for walkers to another level. It does so here. Pass under the Maple Street Bridge. Stairs to River St at Maple St with decorative iron gateway at the top.
Pass behind Glik's Clothing store, a large gray building. Stairs to River St at Pine St. Several areas on the boardwalk are widened into decks with picnic tables. One of these is here. More docks at the river edge, and there is a picnic grill.
Access behind the Senior Center from an alley. You could drive down to drop someone off, public parking at street level and city restrooms. Pass the Marina and the park located at the end of Spruce St. This is a lovely park on several terraced levels. Picnic tables, grills, bench swings, shade, historical marker . A low stone fence separates it from River St on the upper side.
Boardwalk jumps up one level with ramp and stairs provided (12 steps). Handicapped parking spaces at Elm St crossing. Boardwalk widens to octagonal deck. Long ramp rising one level, continuing above many private docks at river level.
Boardwalk ramps back down to river level. There are fairly new condominiums across the river and the Shipwatch Marina. Pass two more fish cleaning stations at private marinas. Ramp back up on narrower switchbacks to higher level again. Pass above several small buildings on the river side, and below the Cedar St Marina on the upper side with stairs access to Water St.
Pass behind the old yellow brick Waterworks building which now houses historical displays. There is public parking, and good handicap access to the Riverwalk via an asphalt ramp. Located at the corner of Water and Cedar St. Ramp back down two long switchbacks to river level again.
Pass more private docks. The riverwalk passes between the bank and a small net-drying shed, a cute recreation of an historical building. The boardwalk veers slightly away from the shore so it is actually completely over water for a short distance before returning to hugging the shore.
Reach the end of the boardwalk section at the beginning of the First St Beach park, cross street Cherry St. The walk continues on paved sidewalk across open grassy park to the river outlet to Lake Michigan. There is public boat access, gazebos, picnic facilities, playground and more. This park will be covered in a separate entry, in the future.
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Picnicking- Picnic tables are found at various locations along the boardwalk. In addition, there are tables and grills at the park at River and Spruce St.
Historic Site- Waterworks building at Water and Cedar St. Museum formerly housed here, but is now at 425 River St. Historical marker at the Spruce St. Park about the American Judiacature Society
Swimming- First Street Beach
Handicap Accessibility- several of the access points are handicap accessible including Jones Street, Greenbush Street, Elm Street, Waterworks Building, Cherry Street. The entire length of the boardwalk is accessible, with ramps provided as well as stairs when it changes levels.
Rest Rooms and Potable Water
Rest Rooms- Manistee Marina at Pine St.
Potable Water- Manistee Marina at Pine St.
Access- Park any one of many places along the length of the Riverwalk, or on River St. Most parking is marked 2-hour limit. Not every parking area or pedestrian access is handicapped accessible, but many of them are.
Restrictions- No dogs, no skateboards, no bicycles. Don't feed the ducks.
Seasonality- The boardwalk is not cleared of snow in winter, and the interpretive signs are removed.
Distance and time- About 1.4 miles total. Plan on time to read the signs and enjoy the river. You can walk one way in about 40 minutes if you just walk with no stops.
Trail Markers- none
Treadway- mostly wooden boardwalk, occasional cement sections, width varies approximately 6 to 10 feet. From just west of Cherry St. to Lake Michigan is asphalt sidewalk.
Grades- flat with occasional ramps and stairways to change levels
Marking- occasional interpretive signs, no markers needed, just stay on the boardwalk
Ecosystem- small city urban riverfront environment. The river is on one side, the backs of city businesses on the other. There have been some attempts to present a more attractive aspect of the stores to the Riverwalk users, but this has yet to reach its full potential.
Other points of interest- US 31 and Maple Street bascule bridges occasionally open for boat traffic to pass through. Various sailboats, etc may be docked along the river. Lake Michigan breakwall at the west end. Waterworks building at Water and Cedar St. Museum at 425 River St.
Most recent date this info personally checked on foot- July 2019
More- Maintained by- the City of Manistee.
70 Maple Street
P.O. Box 358
Manistee, MI 49660-0358
Manistee County Riverwalk site Back to map
Take US 31 to Manistee, and turn east on River St, just south of the bridge. Turn left in one block on Jones.