Things to do / Travel Guide
Because so many of the routes in Michigan's Northern Region have been dubbed “most beautiful in the state,” it is difficult to choose the truly most beautiful. That being said, it is easy to incorporate many of the scenic byways into your travel itineraries as you head for other popular travel destinations. Many of northern Michigan's most scenic routes will also take you to and around the places you already plan to see.
Northern Lower Peninsula
Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive on the Leelanau Peninsula is a 7.4-mile paved loop that meanders through wooded areas and traces a beautiful stretch atop the sandy dunes. The drive offers scenic lookouts over Glen Lake, the Sleeping Bear Dunes, and Lake Michigan.
The 50-mile drive between Traverse City and Charlevoix is noted as one of northern Michigan's most scenic stretches. Varicolored cottages, sweeping sandy beaches, and quaint cherry orchards are a few of the things that you'll see along this route.
The Tunnel of Trees is a 31-mile stretch of State Road 119 from Harbor Springs to Cross Villages. The narrow road winds along Lake Michigan from atop a high outcrop and offers striking views of the Beaver Island archipelago. Fall colors in the Tunnel of Trees are particularly noteworthy when the leaves' bright orange and fiery red conflagration sparks the area's color-collage.
There is a 10-mile drive from Mackinaw City to Sturgeon Bay through Wilderness State Park on the northern coast of the lower peninsula. In the spring and summer this drive offers an interesting display of wildflowers, including the calypso orchid and the lady's slipper. In addition to colorful blossoms the scenic route also provides a view of Waugoshance Point and Cecil's Bay.
The Black River Road National Scenic Byway is located in Gogebic County of the Upper Peninsula. This is a 15-mile, two-lane, wooded stretch of State Road 513 that runs north from Bessemer to Lake Superior, following the Black River. Along this road you will see the 364-foot Copper Peak along with the Copper Peak Ski Flying Hill that measures 421 feet.
Brockway Mountain Drive is a picture-perfect 10-mile route that snakes along the elevated ridge between Copper Harbor and Eagle Harbor. The road sweeps up to an altitude of 735 feet above Lake Superior (Lake Superior's elevation is 602 feet above sea level) and is the highest paved road between the Rockies and the Allegheny Mountains.
The drive from Grand Marias to Munising goes right through the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Grand Sable Bank, and the giant Grand Sable Dunes. This hilly and winding, 58-mile dirt road will take you right through the dunes, and the lolling shoreline hills of Lake Superior.