Dept. Natural Resourceswrite a review 7186-7254 Sunset Trail Southeast
Fife Lake, MI 49633
GPS: 44.613, -84.992
|Last Price Paid:||$15|
|Number of Sites:||32|
Cell Phone Coverage
Big Big Trippers would stay here again
“Very Nice and Quiet State Forest Campground on Manistee River”
Reviewed Jun 12, 2018
While searching for a convenient spot to camp during an early June, mid-week fly-fishing trip to the Manistee River, we discovered Michigan’s CCC Bridge State Forest Campground. Located six to nine miles down graded gravel and dirt roads (depending upon which way you approach the campground), the campground is divided into two sections, one on each side of the Manistee River and separated by the Sunset Trail Bridge (I’m guessing this isn’t the historical CCC Bridge because it’s a pretty new). The campground on the northern’ish side of the river is smaller and consists of eight small sites adjacent to the river. The remaining sites are on the other side of the river, along with a boat launch and recovery area, as well as a day-use area.
We had our pick of sites as only one other camper was there during our stay. We picked site number 21. Although #21 wasn’t on the river, it was the largest, grassiest, and was the most open site in the campground. Because we were spending a couple of nights, we wanted the most exposure for our solar panels and site 21 fit the bill beautifully. There were two or three other sites that were more wooded and would have worked with frequent relocation of our portable solar panels, but site 21 let us park and relax because our rooftop solar panels easily recharged our batteries after a chilly night with our furnace running.
The campground has several sets of fairly primitive but clean pit toilets. Both campgrounds had a hand operated, fresh water pump that worked fine for filling our gerry can for dishwashing water. There is no dump station at this campground.
The campground itself was well kept and clean, but site 21 was a disaster when we pulled in. There was trash strewn about the campsite and in the fire pit, including various electronic pieces/parts and a bowl of rotting meat. It was freaking disgusting and I spent 20-minutes policing the site and filled a trash bag in the process. Once that was done, the site was fantastic.
While CCC Bridge is pretty isolated, there was a fair amount of traffic at the front of the campground due to fishermen launching or recovering their drift boats from the river, but it isn’t really a big deal. In the summer, the majority of the traffic is in mid-afternoon and late-evening as the sun is going down due to the timing of Michigan’s hatches. So you may see headlights and hear the happy banter of anglers returning from a great (or maybe not so great) late afternoon on the Manistee.
It’s a fair hike into the nearest town from CCC Bridge, so you want to come fully stocked for your stay. A trip into Grayling (the nearest town of any size with substantial services) will set you back an hour in roundtrip travel time.
The connectivity was practically non-existent on our AT&T phones and hotspot, but we would periodically get 1-bar of LTE, quickly followed by nothing. Just enough to tease us… We fired up our Verizon Jetpack and got a couple bars of 3G.
If you plan to fly fish or just paddle the Manistee River, this is a great campground. There are several great public access spots just upstream of the campground (follow King Road), as well as accesses for launching or recovering your raft or kayak. I had a wonderful 3-1/2 hour float (fishing) from the Burnt Cabin access (approx 2-miles up King Road from the campground). Alternatively, you could launch from the campground and get out at the Three Mile Bend Access spot downstream (this is also a 3-4 hour fishing float—shorter if you’re paddling for fun). The Three Mile Access is located 2.2-miles downstream on King Road.
The gravel roads can be a bit sketchy. We came in from the west via 66 and Mecum Road, turning right onto Sunset Trail. This route was all graded gravel and was very easy with our Airstream (only washboard for a mile or so on Sunset Trail). We drove back/forth to Grayling utilizing two other routes: going into Grayling we used Sunset Trail to Riverview until we reached M72—this route was barely a step up from a two-track and was very narrow with a lot of soft sand—I had to use 4WD at one point due to the deep sand. Returning to the campground from Grayling we stayed on M72 until we reached Sunset Trail, taking that the entire way and it was much better than Riverview—wide with a lot of clearance, but fair amount of soft sand and some pretty significant pot holes. Coming and going with a trailer, the 66 and Mecum Rd route would be our recommendation.
This review is the opinion of a Campendium member and not of Campendium.com
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