Motorcycle riding in Michigan's UP


Bond Falls on Michigan's upper peninsula - Wikipedia photo
Bond Falls on Michigan's upper peninsula - Wikipedia photo

 

Enjoy riding Michigan's Upper Peninsula for over 1000 miles on our scenic route through vast stands of maple trees and along the shores of Lake Superior, with many waterfalls and lighthouses, and small towns with friendly people. In Michigan you have a short summer with long days, and daylight as late as 10pm.  

 

Here's the 617 mile part 1 and the 392 mile part 2 of our 1000 mile route, or take our shortened  584 mile route map if your time here is short.  Just don't miss the ride from Grand Marais to Munising.

 

617 mile part 1 of our Michigan Upper Peninsula route map. Click the map to enlarge it.
617 mile part 1 of our Michigan Upper Peninsula route map. Click the map to enlarge it.
392 miles on Part 2 of our Michigan Upper Peninsula route map. Click the map to enlarge it.
392 miles on Part 2 of our Michigan Upper Peninsula route map. Click the map to enlarge it.

General information

 

Harleys can be rented in Gaylord, 65 miles south of St. Ignace, or possibly rented at the Mackinaw City location at the northern tip of lower Michigan. Click on their links for more info.

 

If you need repairs on all makes of motorcycles, you can head for Shiny Side Up in Iron Mountain, MI, winner of the people's choice award for Best of the Best, according to their webpage.

 

The UP Cruising Guide is free at Welcome Centers in the UP, or by mail for a shipping fee.  Here's an interactive zoomable map of the UP with drop down menus to highlight places of interest to you, another site with maps and useful info, and a foldout UP map for sale.

 

The UP has a bike week in late July and you can check this events calendar for local bike nights.  

 

Here's a Michigan camping map. Click on a county for camping locations. Click on adjacent county names to display that county. 


Wikipedia photo - Soo Locks.  Click the photo to enlarge.
Wikipedia photo - Soo Locks. Click the photo to enlarge.

 

Our route begins in St. Ignace, MI on the north end of the nearly five mile long Mackinac toll bridge

 

The Sault Ste. Marie or Soo locks allow ships to navigate the 21 ft drop in elevation of the St. Mary's River between the lakes. Read the Wikipedia article. You can take a boat tour for a first hand experience. Watch "Lakers" and "Salties" (ocean-going vessels) as they navigate the rise/drop of the water levels. Check out the history of the locks. The free admission Soo Locks Visitors Center312 W. Portage Avenue, is open mid-May thru mid-October. The Lockview Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a view of the locks. 

 

There are dozens of lighthouses in the Upper Peninsula, such as the Point Iroquois Light Station and Whitefish Point Light, the lake's oldest active light.  Each year Whitefish Point Light holds a memorial service for the crew of the 729 ft Edmund Fitzgerald, lost in a storm in 1975.  Marquette County has six lights and there are 15 at the straits of Mackinac

 

There are more lights on the Keweenaw Peninsula. Both US41 and M-26 are outstanding motorcycle roadsCopper Harbor Light, which has no access road, can be reached by a 15 minute boat ride. Gull Rock Light and Manitou Island Light are offshore to the east of the peninsula. 

 

Wikipedia photo - sunset over Lake Superior at McLain State Park
Wikipedia photo - sunset over Lake Superior at McLain State Park

 

Not shown on the route map is Eagle Harbor lighthouse & museum on M-26

(see it on a map), which loosely follows the southern edge of Lake Superior for

22 miles. The Keweenaw Waterway Upper Entrance Light can be viewed from McLain State Park near Hancock.  

 

Here's info on other Michigan lighthouses.

Tahquamenon Falls is 50' high and 200' wide, one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River. East of Paradise (I), Hwy 123 travels past Tahquamenon Falls State Park.  

 

Don't miss H-58

 

Leaving Grand Marais on county road H-58 (Au Sable Point Trail) to Munising is another scenic ride not to be missed.  H-58 turns west on Adams Trail near Nevins Lake, then Melstrand Rd and finally Munising Van Meer-Shigleton Rd heading into Munising.  Paving was completed Oct 2010. 

 

Marquette County has a motorcycle guide and the most waterfalls in Michigan. Click on the link to see 12 waterfalls or download their visitors guide.

 

55 miles west of Marquette, as US41 turns north toward Hancock & Houghton, you pass by Canyon Falls Roadside Park, ten miles south of L'Anse. A trail provides a great view of the falls.  Here's another review of the park, with photos.

 

As you head west of Eagle River, M-26 crosses the Eagle River Timber Bridge, and roadside Eagle River Falls.  

 

More scenic views on Brockway Mountain Drive  

Eagle River Timber Bridge - Wikipedia photo, click to enlarge
Eagle River Timber Bridge - Wikipedia photo, click to enlarge

Both M-26 and US41 offer up wonderfully scenic rides along the Keweenaw Peninsula, but also take the spectacular nine mile long Brockway Mountain Drive, with scenic overlooks of Lake Superior between Copper Harbor and Esrey Park (see map). Here's lots of Copper Harbor info, and photos

 

At the south end of the peninsula, Quincy Mine on Hwy 41 (see map) reaches a depth of over 9000 ft.  Quincy Mine and Hoist: Keweenaw National Historical Park, 49750 U.S. 41 Hancock, MI 49930‎ 

 

Leaving Houghton behind, M-26 winds you for 70 miles to ‎Bond Falls on US45, but don't miss the M-26 left turn after 38 miles or the left on US45 in about 4 miles after Mass City. Our route also includes a detour past Agate Falls Scenic Site on M-28, before turning south toward Bond Falls. There's some nice photos of Bond Falls here.

 

Agate Falls

"Considered by many to be one of upper Michigan's most picturesque waterfalls, Agate Falls is located on the middle branch of the Ontonagon River. The falls are created as the river finds its way over an extended shelf of terraced sandstone. The resulting waterfall is a broad band of interlacing cascades and small falls nearly 40 feet high. Access to view the falls is via an improved, accessible foot trail. Parking, water, toilets and picnic tables are available at the park, which is generally open from early May through late October."

http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=413&type=SPRK

 


AJ's Walleye Lodge on Lake Gogebic in Bergland is just 20 miles west of our route.
AJ's Walleye Lodge on Lake Gogebic in Bergland is just 20 miles west of our route.

 

Near Agate Falls, enjoy a stop at AJ's Walleye Lodge on Lake Gogebic in Bergland, MI. They have a nice webpage highlighting area information. It's just 20 miles west of our original route.

 

"There is a lot of Cruisin’ to be had in the Lake Gogebic area.  The area is home to some fantastic waterfalls, some great roads, and some breathtaking sights. ... The ride up to Lake Gogebic is an amazing ride in itself."

http://www.walleyelodge.com/cruisin-u-p/  

 

Peak fall color is late September / early October. Check out the Walleye Lodge's fall colors page.


The home stretch takes us through Iron Mountain, where they repair all makes of motorcycles at Shiny Side Up, winner of the people's choice award for Best of the Best, according to their webpage.

 

John Henes Park, Menominee, open Memorial Day thru Labor Day,‎ overlooks the Bay of Green Bay at the south end of the UP, about 50 miles north of the city of Green Bay, WI.  

 

Back in St Ignace, you can take a ferry to historic Mackinac Island. It's a major tourist destination. Here's a virtual tour. There are no motorcycles allowed on the island, but Shepler's Ferry has motorcycle parking and lockers for those who ride the ferry to the island. 

 

St Ignace holds a car show each summer.  Check their event calendar.  You can request or download their visitor guide on the page.  

 

Straits State Park sits in the shadow of the Mackinac Bridge. There's campsites and mini cabins.  The park has great views of the bridge.