Michigan Heritage Route

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Michigan Heritage Routes
Michigan Historic Heritage Route.svgMichigan Recreational Heritage Route.svgMichigan Scenic Heritage Route.svg
Highway markers for Historic, Recreational, and Scenic Heritage Routes
Map of the Michigan Heritage Routes
  Historic   Recreational   Scenic
System information
Maintained by MDOT
Formed: June 22, 1993 (1993-06-22)[1]
Length: 880.949 mi[2] (1,417.750 km)
Highway names
Interstates: Interstate nn (I-nn)
US Routes: US Highway nn (US nn)
State: M-nn
System links

A Michigan Heritage Route is the designation for a segment of the State Trunkline Highway System in the US state of Michigan that is a "scenic, recreational, or historic route that is representative of Michigan's natural and cultural heritage."[1] The designation was created by the state legislature on June 22, 1993, and since then five historic, six recreational and five scenic heritage routes have been designated by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) in both the Upper and Lower peninsulas of the state. Another three have been proposed.


Working with local communities, organizations, and government agencies, the Heritage Route program strives to identify roads that access Michigan's unique natural, scenic, historic, recreational, and cultural resources. The program also attempts to preserve the unique and irreplaceable qualities of selected corridors, improve distinct roads in a careful and considerate way, promote a greater awareness of and appreciation for the state's scenic, recreational, historical and cultural resources; thereby, providing economic benefits by stimulating tourism.[3][4] Additions to the system are made when local organizations apply to MDOT through a two-stage process.[5]


The three types of heritage routes are defined in Public Act 69 of 1993, the legislation that established the system. The Legislature defined these types to be:

significant to the history, archeology, architecture, engineering, or culture of this state.
facilities normally associated with leisure-time activities, including, but not limited to, parks, public access sites, wildlife refuges, forest areas, marinas, swimming areas, hiking trails, and sightseeing areas.
an area of outstanding natural beauty whose features include, but are not limited to, significant natural features such as vegetation, land form, water, and open areas with exceptional vistas and views, that singly or in combination make that area unique and distinct in character.[1]


There are five historic, six recreational and five scenic heritage routes in Michigan, with three additional routes in various stages of proposal.

List of Michigan Heritage Routes
Type Name Length (mi)[2] Length (km) Southern or western terminus Northern or eastern terminus Designated Description References
Historic Bay City Historic Heritage Route 1.474 2.372 Madison Avenue in Bay City Livingston Street in Bay City October 23, 1997 Follows M-25 through the Center Avenue Neighborhood Residential District in Bay City [6][7]
Recreational Chief Noonday Trail Recreational Heritage Route 16.963 27.299 US 131 in Bradley M-43 near Hastings 1998 Follows M-179 in Allegan and Barry counties [8][9]
Scenic Copper Country Trail 47.617 76.632 Portage Lake Lift Bridge in Hancock M-26 in Copper Harbor September 26, 1995 Follows US 41 in the Copper Country; also designated as a National Scenic Byway by the Federal Highway Administration; first Scenic Heritage Route in the state [10][11]
Recreational I-69 Recreational Heritage Route 47.188 75.942 Indiana state line south of Kinderhook CalhounEaton county line October 8, 2004 Follows I-69 from the Indiana state line in Branch and Calhoun counties in the southern Lower Peninsula [12][13]
Historic Iron County Heritage Trail 15.577 25.069 M-189 (4th Avenue) in Iron River 5th Street in Crystal Falls 2000 Follows US 2 through Iron County [14]
Scenic Leelanau Scenic Heritage Route 81.007 130.368 BenzieLeelanau county line south of Empire M-72 in Traverse City 2002 Follows M-22 (66.956 mi, 107.755 km and M-109 (6.831 mi, 10.993 km) around the Leelanau Peninsula, along the Lake Michigan and Grand Traverse Bay shorelines and includes M-204 (7.220 mi, 11.619 km) across the peninsula [15]
Proposed M-134 50.233 80.842 I-75 north of St. Ignace Four Corners on Drummond Island Would follow M-134 across the southeastern section of the Upper Peninsula and onto Drummond Island [16][17]
Historic Marshall's Territorial Road Heritage Route 2.052 3.302 Western Marshall city limits Eastern Marshall city limits January 11, 2001 Follows Business Loop I-94 along the former Territorial Road in Marshall [18][19]
Historic Monroe Historic Heritage Route 2.115 3.404 Southern Monroe city limits Northern Monroe city limists 1995 Follows M-125 through downtown Monroe [20][21][22]
Scenic Old Mission Peninsula Scenic Heritage Route 17.304 27.848 Peninsula Drive north of Traverse City Cul-de-sac at Old Mission Lighthouse March 7, 2008 Follows M-37 along the Old Mission Peninsula north of Traverse City [23][24]
Proposed Ontonagon County 82.389 132.592 Loop in Ontonagon County Would follow US 45, M-26, M-38, M-64, and M-28 connecting Bruce Crossing, Ontonagon, Silver City and Bergland [17]
Recreational Pathway to Family Fun Recreational Heritage Route 72.765 117.104 Waldron Road in Clarkston M-25 in Bay City July 8, 1998 Originally called the "Miles to Smiles Recreational Heritage Route"; follows M-15 from Clarkston in Oakland County to Bay City [25][26]
Recreational Sunrise Side Coastal Highway 193.061 310.702 Cedar Street in Standish Nicolet Avenue in Mackinaw City May 6, 2004 Follows US 23 along the Lake Huron shoreline [27][28]
Scenic Tahquamenon Scenic Heritage Route 62.505 100.592 M-28 south of Newberry M-28 near Eckerman November 9, 2007 Follows M-123 in an inverted U-shape north of M-28 in Luce and Chippewa counties past the Tahquamenon Falls State Park [16][29][30]
Scenic Tunnel of Trees Scenic Heritage Route 21.028 33.841 Western Harbor Springs city limits C-66/C-77 (State Road) in Cross Village January 1, 2003 Follows M-119 through the "Tunnel of Trees" [31][32]
Recreational UP Hidden Coast Recreational Heritage Trail 64.451 103.724 Wisconsin state line in Menominee Mather Avenue in Gladstone August 28, 2007 Follows M-35, US 2, and US 41 along the Green Bay and Little Bay de Noc [33][34]
Historic US 12 Heritage Trail 210.367 338.553 Indiana state line in New Buffalo Woodward Avenue in Detroit June 9, 2004 Follows US 12 across the southern Lower Peninsula, including segments previously designated separately along Michigan Avenue in Saline and in Lenawee County [35][36]
Proposed West Michigan Pike 356.527 573.775 Indiana state line south of Niles Mackinaw City Would follow US 31 northward along the route of the former West Michigan Pike and along the Lake Michigan shoreline [37][38][39]
Recreational Woodward Avenue Recreational Heritage Route 25.475 40.998 Jefferson Avenue in Detroit Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard in Pontiac August 4, 1999 Follows M-1 and BL I-75/BUS US 24 (Woodward Avenue); also designated the Automotive Heritage Trail All-American Road by the Federal Highway Administration and a part of the MotorCity National Heritage Area [40][41][42]

See also[edit]

Michigan has three National Forest Scenic Byways that run along county roads that are not eligible to be Michigan Heritage Routes:


  1. ^ a b c Michigan Legislature (June 22, 1993). "Public Act 69 of 1993: Michigan Heritage Routes" (PDF). Michigan Compiled Laws. Legislative Council, State of Michigan. p. 1. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Michigan Department of Transportation (2009). MDOT Physical Reference Finder Application (Map). Cartography by Michigan Center for Geographic Information. http://www.mcgi.state.mi.us/prfinder/. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
  3. ^ Staff. "Michigan: State Program". National Scenic Byway Program. Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved July 14, 2012. [dead link]
  4. ^ Staff. "Heritage Route Program". Highway Programs. Michigan Department of Transportation. Retrieved January 7, 2012. 
  5. ^ Staff (August 20, 2010). "How to Apply". Highway Programs. Michigan Department of Transportation. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  6. ^ Maxwell, Terrion (October 23, 1997). "Bay City Receives Historic Heritage Route Designation" (Press release). Michigan Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on December 12, 2008. Retrieved May 10, 2008. 
  7. ^ Center Avenue Heritage Route Trust. "Center Avenue Heritage Route (M-25)". Heritage Route Application, Appendix B: Regional and Route Location Maps (Map). Scale not given.
  8. ^ Randall, Gary L. (February 3, 1999). "House Chamber, Lansing, Wednesday, February 3, 1999". Journal of the House of Representatives, 90th Legislature. Retrieved August 4, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Chief Noonday Trail Corridor Map" (Map). Scale not given.
  10. ^ Staff. "Copper Country Trail: Official Designations". America's Byways. Federal Highway Administration. Archived from the original on June 21, 2013. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  11. ^ Meyer, Zlaty (June 29, 2008). "You Haven't Lived Here Until ... You've Topped Out At Copper Harbor". Detroit Free Press. p. B4. ISSN 1055-2758. 
  12. ^ Baker, Gary (October 9, 2004). "Stretch of I-69 Designated as MDOT Recreation Heritage Route". Coldwater Daily Reporter. News section. ISSN 0745-6794. 
  13. ^ "Attachment A: Narrative Description of Proposed Route". I-69 Recreation Heritage Route Application. I-69 Recreation Heritage Route Management Team. p. 1. 
  14. ^ Friends of the Iron County Heritage Trail (October 2013). "Figure 2: Corridor Map". Iron County Heritage Trail Corridor Management Plan (Map). Cartography by Western UP Planning & Development. pp. 1, 7.
  15. ^ Leelanau Scenic Heritage Route Committee. "The Leelanau Scenic Heritage Route" (PDF). Northwest Michigan Council of Governments. p. 6. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  16. ^ a b Eppley, Jonathan (October 23, 2008). "Plan Would Make M-134 a Heritage Route: Regional Planning Commission Sees Economic Benefits". St. Ignace News. p. A1. OCLC 36250796. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  17. ^ a b Michigan Department of Transportation (PDF). Michigan Byways (Map). Scale not given. Cartography by MDOT. http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdot/MichiganHeritageRoutesByways11_12_406214_7.pdf. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
  18. ^ Hinde, Jill (January 12, 2001). "West Michigan Avenue Designated as a Michigan Heritage Route". The Marshall Chronicle. p. 1. Retrieved August 4, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Marshall's Michigan Avenue Honored as Michigan Heritage Route (Historic)". The Marshall Chronicle. October 29, 2001. p. 15. Retrieved August 4, 2013. 
  20. ^ Staff. "Monroe Street (M-125)". America's Byways. Federal Highway Administration. Archived from the original on October 18, 2011. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  21. ^ Staff. "Monroe Street (M-125): Official Designations". America's Byways. Federal Highway Administration. Archived from the original on December 30, 2011. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Year 2000 Nomination Form". Monroe Historic Heritage Route Corridor Management Plan. City of Monroe. 2000. 
  23. ^ Skinner, Victor (March 7, 2008). "M-37 on Old Mission Designated Scenic Route". Traverse City Record-Eagle. OCLC 30098364. Archived from the original on April 14, 2014. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  24. ^ M-37 Scenic Heritage Route Nominating Team (September 1, 2000). "M-37 Proposed Heritage Route". Old Mission Peninsula Scenic Heritage Route (Map). Cartography by Northwest Michigan Council of Governments, Michigan Center for Geographic Information. p. 22.
  25. ^ Graham, David V. (July 8, 1998). "Road Less Traveled Getting Some Respect: M-15, Old 'Up North' Route Gets State Designation". The Flint Journal. p. C1. OCLC 9974225. 
  26. ^ M-15 Recreation Heritage Route Revised Management Plan. M-15 Heritage Route Management Committee. 2013. pp. 4, 9. 
  27. ^ "US 23 Heritage Route Gets Official Designation". Iosco County News-Herald (East Tawas, MI). May 12, 2004. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  28. ^ Northeast Michigan Council of Governments; East Central Michigan Planning and Development Regional Commission (2009). US 23 Huron Shores Heritage Route Management Plan. Northeast Michigan Council of Governments. 
  29. ^ Lake, James (November 9, 2007). "M-123 Tahquamenon Scenic Heritage Route Expanded" (Press release). Michigan Department of Transportation. Retrieved June 19, 2014. 
  30. ^ Tahquamenon Scenic Heritage Route Committee (2007). Tahquamenon Scenic Heritage Route Management Plan (PDF). Sault Ste. Marie, MI: Eastern UP Regional Planning and Development Commission. p. 2. Retrieved June 19, 2014. 
  31. ^ Gray, Fred (June 26, 2003). "Scenic Heritage Route Dedicated Saturday". Petoskey News-Review. Retrieved August 4, 2013. 
  32. ^ M-119 Tunnel of Trees Scenic Heritage Route Committee (2008). "M-119 Scenic Views". M-119 Tunnel of Trees Scenic Heritage Route Management Plan Update (Map). Scale not given. Cartography by Northwest Michigan Council of Governments.
  33. ^ "MDOT Declares UP Road as Heritage Route". Negaunee, MI: WLUC-TV. August 28, 2007. 
  34. ^ UP Hidden Coast Recreation Heritage Route Planning Committee (September 2013). "Chapter 1: Introduction". UP Hidden Coast Recreation Heritage Route Management Plan. Escanaba, MI: Central Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Regional Commission. p. 2. 
  35. ^ "US 12 Gains National Heritage Trail Moniker". The Blade (Toledo, OH). p. B1. OCLC 12962717. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  36. ^ SmithGroup JJR & Michigan State University Department of Park, Recreation and Tourism Resources (December 2003). US 12 Historic Heritage Trail Application & Corridor Management Plan. US  12 Heritage Trail Council. 
  37. ^ "Will Old US 31 Become a Michigan Heritage Route?". The Muskegon Chronicle. Chronicle News Service. March 31, 2008. Archived from the original on May 26, 2014. Retrieved April 13, 2014. 
  38. ^ Lupo, Lee (May 5, 2008). "Return of the Pike". The Muskegon Chronicle. Archived from the original on May 26, 2014. Retrieved April 13, 2014. 
  39. ^ Kloosterman, Stephen (December 8, 2011). "Get Your Kicks ... on the West Michigan Pike". Holland Sentinel. Archived from the original on May 26, 2014. Retrieved April 13, 2014. 
  40. ^ Ballou, Brian (August 4, 1999). "Woodward Winner Storied Avenue Labeled a Michigan Heritage Road: Plans In Works For Continuous Identity From Detroit To Pontiac". Detroit Free Press. p. B1. ISSN 1055-2758. Retrieved July 14, 2012.  (subscription required)
  41. ^ Tamboer, Andrea (October 28, 2009). "Woodward Avenue (M-1) Gets All-American Road Designation". Detroit: Booth Newspapers. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  42. ^ Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (1998). "Woodward Avenue Heritage Route Designation". Woodward Avenue Heritage Route Management Plan (Map). Cartography by SEMCOG. p. 9.

External links[edit]

Route map: Google / Bing