Magoon Creek Natural Area 2024: Scoop Up Beach Glass & Rock Finds at This Enchanting Lake Michigan Park

rockhounding beach lake michigan magoon creek manistee

A Gorgeous Michigan Coastal Nature Area Worth Exploring

With so much amazing coastline to explore in Michigan, it can be a challenge to pick which area to start with.

Save your time, we’ve done all the research for you on where to go on your next adventure. Not far from Manistee is Magoon Creek Park and you won’t be sorry you took our advice!

If you’re looking for aquamarine-colored water, sweeping lake views, and a little privacy, we have a treat for you.

magoon creek manistee

Magoon Creek Natural Area

Red Apple Rd, Manistee, MI 49660

The hardest part of a visit to Magoon Creek Natural Area is deciding how to spend your time.

Will it be rockhounding, picnicking, swimming, or hiking? Maybe plan enough time to do it all!

This 97-acre Flier Township park is off the beaten path.

It’s typically less crowded than other Lake Michigan access points, which is suprising given the amazing views.

More visitor perks include free parking, a looped hiking or biking trail, and an accessible picnic area.

Magoon Creek Park Manistee Michigan location

Picnic With a View

Magoon Creek is a great spot for an afternoon picnic.

Sitting atop a high bluff, you’ll find amazing views from plenty of picnic tables in the wooded area.

Picnicking under the deep evergreen canopy of towering hemlock trees adds to the magic of a visit to Magoon Creek.

Magoon Creek Natural Area Picnic Area

magoon creek hemlocks manistee

Benches dot the high bluff, offering unparalleled views of Lake Michigan. It’s a great place to watch freighters go by.

The Manistee channel is visible to the north.

magoon creek bluff view manistee

Several grills are available throughout the park, as well as a small pavilion.

If you need water during your visit, enjoy using the old-fashioned hand pump to pump it yourself!

Getting to the Beach

Before the beach fun can start, you need to be able to get to and from the beach.

Be aware that shoreline erosion has made it tricky to get down to the beach.

cliff rockhounding beach lake michigan magoon creek manistee

Eroded bluffs have gotten steeper even over the last year – I had to scramble up this steep trail using my hands to get back up the bluff.

Some visitors report that the beach is a little easier to access via adjacent Sundling Park at 2925 Red Apple Rd, Manistee, MI 49660, just north of Magoon Creek.

Once you’re down on the beach using the Magoon Creek pathways, head north to the creek outlet. You will likely have to wade around fallen trees. The creek is shallow, clear, and sparkling and a whole lot of fun for kids to splash in.

If you’re looking for rocks, head south once you land on the beach. You’ll be able to see high bluffs in the distance.

magoon creek bluff view manistee

You’ll also likely see clay cliffs along the back of the beach. Kids love playing with clay just about as much as they like hunting for treasure rocks.

clay cliffs beach lake michigan magoon creek manistee

Rock lovers have reported finding all sorts of gems at Magoon Creek Beach, including:

  • Petoskey Stones
  • Beach Glass
  • Jasper
  • Agate

When you visit, plan to stay for hours. Pack a cooler.

After visiting Magoon Creek, you might need to invest in a rock tumbler.

hunting on the rock beach lake michigan magoon creek manistee

Pro tip: Wear water shoes and bring a bag for your rock finds.

(Also note: The 25-pound limit of rocks or minerals per person per year rule is in effect here.)

rockhounding beach lake michigan magoon creek manistee

You’ll Be Surprised By How Quickly the View Changes on a Magoon Creek Hike

There’s a surprising amount of variety on the relatively short 1.5-mile hiking loop at Magoon Creek Natural Area.

When you make the trek, you’ll pass through wooded upland areas, dunes, the shoreline, former farmland, and the marshy creek area.

At one point, you’ll even come upon the foundation of an old building on this mostly hard-packed trail.

The terrain is flat in places and somewhat steep in others, including a switchback. For more elevation info, see this topographic map of the park.

magoon creek hiking trails manistee

magoon creek hiking area manistee

magoon creek hiking area manistee (1)
magoon creek hiking area manistee

If you’re lucky, you’ll find a brochure in the mailbox at the trailhead parking area. The brochures correspond to numbered interpretive stations along the trail.


This park is somewhat accessible.

The northern parking lot has been paved and features an accessible picnic table and vault toilet.

magoon creek accessible picnic area manistee

magoon creek accessible picnic area manistee

magoon creek accessible parking area manistee

The trail along the top of the bluff is relatively level, but does run downhill.

A wheelchair or stroller would not be able to make it down the bluff to the beach, however.

magoon creek hiking manistee

If You Go

Magoon Creek Park has two parking areas, both accessed by the same drive.

The parking area the north is improved and features the vault toilets and picnic tables.

The south parking area is packed earth and serves as an entrance to the hiking trails. Both trails are about equidistant from the beach entrance.

The park is open year-round, but the gate is locked in winter. In that case, you may park at Red Apple Road gate and hike or snowshoe into the park.

Note: The area is open for hunting. Wear proper clothing for visibility during hunting season.

Nearby Lodging

With so much to do in the Manistee area, you’re going to want to stay for more than just one day.

Why not make it a long weekend with one of these lodging options?

Have You Been to Magoon Creek?

Do you have any Magoon Creek tips to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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