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
System information
Formed: June 22, 1993 (1993-06-22)[1]
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.


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.[2][3] Additions to the system are made when local organizations apply to MDOT through a two-stage process.[4]


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.

List of Michigan Heritage Routes
Type Name Image Description Designated Length (mi)[5] Length (km) References
Historic Bay City Historic Heritage Route Center Avenue in Bay City Follows M-25 through Bay City October 23, 1997 1.5 2.4 [6]
Recreational Chief Noonday Trail Recreational Heritage Route Follows M-179 from Bradley in Allegan County to Hastings in Barry County 1998 17.0 27.4 [7]
Scenic Copper Country Trail Covered Trail section of US 41 south of Copper Harbor Follows US 41 from Houghton to Copper Harbor; also designated as a National Scenic Byway by the Federal Highway Administration; first Scenic Heritage Route in the state September 26, 1995 47 76 [8][9]
Recreational I-69 Recreational Heritage Route Follows I-69 from the Indiana state line to the CalhounEaton county line in the southern Lower Peninsula October 8, 2004 80 130 [10]
Historic Iron County Heritage Trail Iron County Courthouse in Crystal Falls Follows US 2 through Iron County 16 26
Scenic Leelanau Scenic Heritage Route Fall color along M-22, part of the Leelanau Scenic Heritage Route Follows M-22 and M-109 around the Leelanau Peninsula, along the Lake Michigan and Grand Traverse Bay shorelines and includes M-204 across the peninsula 2002 64 103 [11]
Historic Marshall's Territorial Road Heritage Route Michigan Avenue downtown Marshall, part of the Territorial Road Follows Business Loop I-94 along the former Territorial Road in Marshall January 11, 2001 1.2 1.9 [12][13]
Historic Monroe Historic Heritage Route Monroe Street downtown Follows M-125 through downtown Monroe 1995 2.1 3.4 [14][15]
Scenic Old Mission Peninsula Scenic Heritage Route A pastoral farm scene on the Old Mission Peninsula Follows M-37 along the Old Mission Peninsula north of Traverse City March 7, 2008 18 29 [16]
Recreational Pathway to Family Fun Recreational Heritage Route Originally called the "Miles to Smiles Recreational Heritage Route"; follows M-15 from Ortonville in Oakland County to Bay City July 8, 1998 85 137 [17]
Recreational Sunrise Side Coastal Highway US 23 running next to Lake Huron Follows US 23 from Standish to Mackinaw City along the Lake Huron shoreline May 6, 2004 200 320 [18]
Scenic Tahquamenon Scenic Heritage Route Tahquamenon Falls Follows M-123 north of M-28 in Luce and Chippewa counties 2007 62 100 [19]
Scenic Tunnel of Trees Scenic Heritage Route M-119's "Tunnel of Trees"; note the lack of a centerline Follows M-119 from Harbor Springs north to Cross Village through the "Tunnel of Trees" January 1, 2003 13 21 [20]
Recreational UP Hidden Coast Recreational Heritage Trail M-35 in Menominee County Follows M-35 from Menominee to Gladstone along the Green Bay and Little Bay de Noc August 28, 2007 64 103 [21]
Historic US 12 Heritage Trail Part of US 12 is also the Iron Brigade Memorial Highway Follows US 12 from New Buffalo to Detroit, including segments previously designated separately along Michigan Avenue in Saline and in Lenawee County June 9, 2004 212 341 [22]
Recreational Woodward Avenue Recreational Heritage Route Woodward Avenue during the Dream Cruise in 2007 Follows M-1 (Woodward Avenue) from Detroit to Pontiac; also designated the Automotive Heritage Trail All-American Road by the Federal Highway Administration and a part of the MotorCity National Heritage Area August 4, 1999 28 45 [23][24]

See also[edit]


  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. ^ Staff. "Michigan: State Program". National Scenic Byway Program. Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved July 14, 2012. [dead link]
  3. ^ Staff. "Heritage Route Program". Highway Programs. Michigan Department of Transportation. Retrieved January 7, 2012. 
  4. ^ Staff (August 20, 2010). "How to Apply". Highway Programs. Michigan Department of Transportation. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  5. ^ Staff (December 8, 2010). "Interactive Heritage Route Listing". 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. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ Staff. "Copper Country Trail: Official Designations". America's Byways. Federal Highway Administration. Archived from the original on June 21, 2013. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ Baker, Gary (October 9, 2004). "Stretch of I-69 Designated as MDOT Recreation Heritage Route". Coldwater Daily Reporter. News section. ISSN 0745-6794. 
  11. ^ Leelanau Scenic Heritage Route Committee. "The Leelanau Scenic Heritage Route" (PDF). Northwest Michigan Council of Governments. p. 6. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  12. ^ Hinde, Jill (January 12, 2001). "West Michigan Avenue Designated as a Michigan Heritage Route". The Marshall Chronicle. p. 1. Retrieved August 4, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Marshall's Michigan Avenue Honored as Michigan Heritage Route (Historic)". The Marshall Chronicle. October 29, 2001. p. 15. Retrieved August 4, 2013. 
  14. ^ Staff. "Monroe Street (M-125)". America's Byways. Federal Highway Administration. Archived from the original on October 18, 2011. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ 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. 
  17. ^ 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. 
  18. ^ "US 23 Heritage Route Gets Official Designation". Iosco County News-Herald (East Tawas, MI). May 12, 2004. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  19. ^ 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. 
  20. ^ Gray, Fred (June 26, 2003). "Scenic Heritage Route Dedicated Saturday". Petoskey News-Review. Retrieved August 4, 2013. 
  21. ^ "MDOT Declares UP Road as Heritage Route". Negaunee, MI: WLUC-TV. August 28, 2007. 
  22. ^ "US 12 Gains National Heritage Trail Moniker". The Blade (Toledo, OH). p. B1. OCLC 12962717. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  23. ^ 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)
  24. ^ Tamboer, Andrea (October 28, 2009). "Woodward Avenue (M-1) Gets All-American Road Designation". Detroit: Booth Newspapers. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 

External links[edit]