10 Scenic Drives In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
The beauty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula rivals that of any place in the country, with its vast amounts of unspoiled wilderness, scenic waterfalls, historic sites and shoreline on Lakes Michigan and Superior. While there are many beautiful drives to be found here in “God’s country,” we have selected 10 of our favorites from 20-plus years of vacations. Let us know your favorites from this list, or feel free to add others in the comment section below.
US-2 from St. Ignace to Manistique – The drive west on US-2 after crossing the Mackinac Bridge showcases miles of sandy shore on Lake Michigan and some popular beaches. The Cut River Bridge, Seul Choix Point Lighthouse and small towns like Epoufette and Naubinway highlight this drive as you approach Manistique.
Brockway Mountain Drive – Towering over the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula and at one point 720 feet above Lake Superior, Brockway Mountain Drive is often considered one of the most beautiful 8-mile stretches in the state. Stretching from Copper Harbor at its north end to Eagle Harbor at its south, this drive offers several stunning views of the area from above and is a popular spot for birdwatchers.
M-28 from Marquette to Munising – Highlights of this route include miles of beaches and roadside parks on Lake Superior, and stunning views of Grand Island. Bay Furnace Campground and historic site, Scott Falls, Lakenenland, the Grand Island Range Lights in Christmas and the Kewadin Casino are among the top points of interest along this stretch of highway
H-58, Munising to Grand Marais – This scenic drive covers the entire length of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and side trips lead to stunning limestone cliffs and picturesque waterfalls as well as a historic lighthouse and towering dunes. Improvements from 2006 to 2010 have now led to this road being paved for this entire stretch, so enjoy smooth roads and a few new or improved scenic overlooks.
Curly Lewis Memorial Highway/M-123 Sault Ste. Marie to Whitefish Point – Especially beautiful in the fall, this drive heads west from Sault Ste. Marie and hugs the shore of Lake Superior. It passes the historic Point Iroquois Lighthouse, a fish hatchery and offers several scenic turnouts with opportunities for swimming and hiking.
M-123 from Newberry to Paradise – Attractions along this route include the Whitefish Point Light Station, Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, and Tahquamenon Falls State Park. The scenery includes Lake Superior shoreline and miles of forest with the chance to possibly spot an elusive Michigan moose. CR-500 heads north to Crisp Point Lighthouse and the Two Hearted River off of this route as well.
107th Engineers Memorial Highway, Silver City to Lake of the Clouds – This short drive follows the shore of Lake Superior to one of the most scenic spots in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – Lake of the Clouds. Parking areas for hiking trails, the park’s winter sports recreation area, rental cabins and more can be found on this stretch, as well as the entrance to an old mine.
M-26, Houghton to Copper Harbor – Explore the Keweenaw Peninsula on this amazing stretch of highway as you cross the Portage Lake Lift Bridge and head into the heart of Copper Country. Mining ruins, historic lighthouses in Eagle Harbor and Copper Harbor, Fort Wilkins and many scenic waterfalls are highlights of this route. This is one of the most popular stretches of the Lake Superior Circle Tour in Michigan.
Black River Scenic Byway – With five stunning waterfalls in a five-mile stretch, the Black River Scenic Byway’s scenery rivals that of any road in the state. Copper Peak, the tallest ski flying hill in the world, is also located off of this road. Four separate parking areas lead to five different waterfalls, with each being unique and beautiful in its own way. The road ends at Black River Harbor, which features a National Forest Campground and day-use area with a swimming beach.
Marshland Wildlife Loop, Seney National Wildlife Refuge – This seven-mile loop takes visitors through various animal habitats on the refuge, with the chance to view swans, beavers, sandhill cranes, eagles, osprey and more. Seney NWR is located on M-77 north of Germfask and south of M-28. The Marshland Loop begins near the visitor center, off of the main entrance drive.