Little Manistee River - 9-Mile Bridge
The Little Manistee River offers some great kayaking.
Starting upstream and working down, you have 9-Mile Bridge 6-Mile Bridge, Little River Weir, Old Stronach Bridge, and Manistee Lake as potential starting/ending phases.
Have traveled the 6-Mile on down range of the river in several variations of put-in/take-out and every phase of the journey is enjoyable. Wildlife galore, eagles, deer, fish, turtles, otters, muskrat, etc...
This weekend, a group and I tried the 9-Mile point of entry. This was a disastrous decision. The river has numerous deadfalls and log jams blocking your way. At least 8 places where there is no choice but to portage, and many more where you have a very small window of success possible. 4 of 5 of us were experienced kayakers - not experts, but pretty adept. This was the first time in a kayak for the 5th person and let me tell you this ruined him for kayaking forever. If he had been alone, I am certain he would have drowned.
Everyone tipped at least once. There are large variations in depth - from scraping bottom to way over your head. The over your head areas are almost always adjacent to a treacherous log jam or sharp corner.
This stretch doesn't qualify as challenging. In my opinion challenging means that there is a chance you can make it if you are an expert and there are several no-win places where you must portage regardless of skill.
Please take heed of the 9-Mile warning!
Don't try it just to prove you can do it. You can do it, I did it, but it is not enjoyable. There is nothing to prove unless you like misery.
Day trip only, but Bungalow in Manistee is a good after-paddle restaurant offering American food from burgers on up to an excellent prime rib Fridays and Saturdays.
US-31 North toward Manistee, East on Hoague Road. Northeast on Rybicki, East on South County Line Road. Left on 6-Mile Bridge road to river crossing.
Forget 9-Mile - I won't even tell you how to get there lest I have your death on my conscience.