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This rugged 18-mile trek winds through the wildly scenic Jordan River Valley, an 18,000-acre swath of state-owned forestland. The tract has dramatic elevation changes and is home to the pristine Jordan River. This is a great destination for aweekend backpacking trip; stay overnight at Piney Bridge Campground, a rustic camping spot with 15 hike-in tent sites located about halfway along the trail. For an easy day hike, try the three-mile Deadman’s Loop. Find the main trailhead off Deadman’s Hill Road, six miles north of Alba on US 131. State Recreation Passport required. 989.732.3541, MICHIGANDNR.COM.
Elm Pointe, formerly the pioneer homestead of the Monroe family, is one of East Jordan’s loveliest parks. Monroe Creek winds its way through the 11 acres of parkland, which includes beach frontage and a picnic area on the south arm of Lake Charlevoix. The historic Monroe home still stands on the property (available as event space for weddings and gatherings), as does the East Jordan Portside Art and Historical Museum, open (with free admission) on weekends in June and Thursdays through Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in July and August. 1787 N M-66, EAST JORDAN, EASTJORDANCITY.ORG.