Michigan Highways: Since 1997.

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M-22 & M-109 junction route signage in Glen Arbor, Michigan
Pure Michigan BywaysRecreational Heritage Route Marker

Recreational Byways & Heritage Routes

Below are listings and details for each of the current Recreational Byways & Heritage Routes around the state, including the limits of the Route, its length, notes and related links.

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M-1 Route MarkerI-75BL Route MarkerBUS US-24 Route MarkerAmerica's Byways Route MarkerWoodward Avenue Heritage Route logo

Woodward Avenue Byway –
Automotive Heritage Trail

Southern End:   I-75/Fisher Frwy in downtown Detroit
Northern End:   Downtown Pontiac
Length: 28 miles
Notes: From MDOT: "Woodward Avenue (M-1), southeast Michigan's Main Street is home to many of Michigan's historic, recreational and cultural jewels. This 28 miles of asphalt ribbon is rich in 200 years of urban history, bright with city lights and shaded in suburban green. That ribbon entwines Detroit's theater, art, education and medical centers with neighborhoods both grand and faded. It ties together stable suburban middle class residential streets and wealthy enclaves and links strips of independent retail shops with landscaped professional office centers, bustling small downtown districts and industrial giants."
  Also from MDOT: "Detroit’s Main Drag, Woodward Avenue is home to many of Southeast Michigan’s historic, recreational and cultural gems. From its riverfront origin, the 28-mile ribbon travels northwest through the heart of downtown, past Midtown’s museums and the Detroit Zoo, on to the Cranbrook Education Community in Bloomfield Hills, then ends at the city of Pontiac. The route is rich in urban history, bright with city lights and shaded in suburban green. You’ll find plenty to see and do, as nearly every mile includes historical sites that have shaped the life of a region, state and nation."
  The Woodward Ave Recreational Heritage Route is actually longer than M-1. Technically, the designated Heritage Route extends northerly from M-1's northern terminus at Bloomfield Hills into downtown Pontiac via BL I-75/BUS US-24. However, since the vast majority of the route encompasses M-1, that designation is used here as the primary highway route.
  On October 16, 2009, the Woodward Avenue (M-1) Automotive Heritage Trail was additionally designated as an "All-American Road," part of the America's Byways program.
Weblinks: Woodward Avenue: Visit Our Byway (link dead) - from the Woodward Avenue Action Association (link dead).
  New! Woodward Avenue Corridor Management Plan – Update - adopted in 2006.
  New! Woodward Avenue (M-1) - Automotive Heritage Trail, All-American Road, Michigan - from the FHWA's America's Byways website.
  New! Woodward Avenue The Original Urban Byway - from American Road magazine.
  New! Woodward By Any Other Name... - from the Pure Detroit website.
  M-1 Route Listing
  BUS US-24 (Pontiac) Route Listing
  BL I-75 (Pontiac) Route Listing
   
M-15 Route MarkerM-15 Recreational Heritage Route logo

M-15 Pure Michigan Byway
(Pathway to Family Fun
Recreational Heritage Route)

Southern End: Clarkston in northern Oakland Co
Northern End: Northern terminus of M-15 east of downtown Bay City
Length: 85 miles
Notes: From MDOT: "From Clarkston to Bay City, Michigan’s very first Recreational Heritage Route parallels I-75, offering motorists pleasant surprises and a welcomed diversion from fast paced freeway travel. Clarkston kicks things off at the south end with its summer festivals, parades and outdoor concerts. There’s plenty of camping, fishing and hiking to do along the 85-mile route. Just a few miles from Millington is the Murphy Lake State Game area, a great source of hunting land, trails, lakes and streams. The route concludes just east of downtown Bay City, where marinas, museums, galleries, a lighthouse and a magnificently restored city hall await travelers."
  The name of this route has evolved into the Pathway to Family Fun Recreational Heritage Route.
Weblinks: New! 2023-05 M-15 Pure Michigan Bwyay Corridor Management Plan 2019 Update – from East Michigan Council of Governments
  M-15 Pure Michigan Byway – from East Michigan Council of Governments
  M-15 Route Listing
  M-15 Recreational Heritage Route - Facebook Page; may be unmaintained.
   
US-23 Route MarkerCopper Country Trail Scenic Heritage Route logo

Huron Shores
Recreational Heritage Route

Southern End: Standish
Northern End: Mackinaw City
Length: 193 miles
Notes: On May 6, 2004, US-23 from Standish to Mackinaw City was officially designated as a Recreational Heritage Route and given the moniker Sunrise Side Coastal Highway. That moniker, however, has now evolved into the current name Huron Shores Recreational Heritage Route.
  From MDOT: "Initiated by Rep. Sheltrown and Tom Ferguson of Michigan's Sunrise Side Travel Association in the summer of 2001, the process began with the collection of resolutions of support from local units of government along the route. Northeast Michigan Council of Governments and East Michigan Planning & Development were contracted to develop a management plan for the route with the guidance and advice of local volunteers."
  Also from MDOT: "From Mackinaw City to Standish, this 200-mile Heritage Route takes travelers by spectacular scenic views of Lake Huron, and an impressive array of large public forest, park and recreational properties. The coastal counties of Alcona, Alpena, Arenac, Cheboygan, Iosco and Presque Isle contain some of the most extensive and significant recreational, ecological, historical and cultural sites in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. And, unlike other parts of the state where Great Lakes shores are privately owned, extensive tracts of publicly owned land make much of the Lake Huron shoreline along the coastal highway free and accessible to residents and visitors alike."
Weblinks: Discover Heritage Route US-23 - from NEMCOG.
  US 23 Heritage Route Management Plan from NEMCOG.
  US-23 Sunrise Side Coastal Highway Management Plan 2003 - from NEMCOG.
  US-23 Route Listing
   
US-41 Route MarkerM-35 Route MarkerUS-2 Route MarkerU.P. Hidden Coast Heritage Route logo

U.P. Hidden Coast
Recreational Heritage Route

Southern End: Updated 2024-02 Southern terminus of M-35 at US-41 in Menominee
Northern End: Updated Gladstone north city limit on US-2/US-41 at Mather Ave
Length: Updated 2024-02 61.95 miles
Notes: Updated The U.P. Hidden Coast Recreational Heritage Route begins at the Michigan/Wisconsin state line at Menominee and continues northerly via US-41 through Menominee to M-35 on the north edge of the city. There, the byway runs northerly along M-35 from Menominee all the way to Escanaba. From there, the byway continues northerly along US-2/US-41/M-35 into Glasdstone and yet northerly still via US-2/US-41 to the northern city limit of Gladstone at Mather Ave.
  New! 2024-02 The southern end of this Heritage Route has been changed to the southern terminus of M-35 at US-41 in Menominee as no Recreational Heritage Route signs are to be found along US-41 between the Wisconsin state line—the formerly noted southern end of the Heritage Route—and its junction with M-35. The first Heritage Route sign on nbd M-35 is found at the Menominee north city limit.
  On August 26, 2007, MDOT designated 64 miles of M-35 between Gladstone and Menominee as the U.P. Hidden Coast Recreation Heritage Route to promote tourism and economic development in the area.
  From CUPPAD: "The U.P. Hidden Coast Recreation Route runs from Menominee, the gateway to the Upper Peninsula, through to the northern city limits of Gladstone; 64 miles along the western shoreline of Lake Michigan in the central Upper Peninsula of Michigan. As it navigates between water and wilderness, natural vegetation obscures the view of Lake Michigan's bays. The best way to view the Lake is to exit the highway and pull into one of the several (over 25 public owned) recreational areas along the U.P. Hidden Coast."
  From MDOT: "The excitement and intrigue of exploring 64 miles of state highway between Gladstone and Menominee await adventuresome travelers along the U.P. Hidden Coast Recreation Heritage Route. Natural vegetation may obscure the view of Lake Michigan’s bays throughout much of the coastal route, but there’s no secret to all there is to see and do. You’ll find something for everyone: parks, waterways, forests, trails, attractions, boat launches, harbors, historical sites and campgrounds. And the friendly people of Delta and Menominee counties are certain to make you feel at home as they roll out the welcome mat and share their U.P. heritage."
Weblinks: U.P. Hidden Coast Recreational Heritage Route - the primary tourism and infrormational website for the Route from CUPPAD.
  CUPPAD: Heritage Route Planning - the Central Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Regional Commission's comprehensive page regarding its U.P. Hidden Coast Recreational Heritage Route planning efforts.
  M-35 named U.P. Hidden Coast Recreation Heritage Route - MDOT Press release.
  US-41 Route Listing
  M-35 Route Listing
  US-2 Route Listing
   
M-55 Route MarkerPure Michigan Byways

M-55 Recreational
Scenic Byway
(Proposed)

Western End: New! 2023-11 Western terminus of M-55 at jct US-31 near Manistee
Eastern End: New! 2023-11 Eastern terminus of M-55 at jct US-23 in downtown Tawas City
Length: New! 2023-11 150.973 miles
Notes: New! 2023-11 A new "recreational scenic" byway was proposed in 2023 to take in the whole length of M-55 across the entire Lower Peninsula, from Manistee on Lake Michigan to Tawas City on Lake Huron. The verbiage on MDOT's website refers to the route as the "M-55 Recreational Scenic Byway," implying the route may be categorized as both a recreational and a scenic Pure Michigan Byway, which would be a first in the program dating back to the debut of the Heritage Routes. From MDOT's website:
"The Houghton Lake Area Tourism Bureau reached out to Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) with a desire to create an M-55 Recreational Scenic Byway Route that crosses the state of Michigan from Manistee County to Iosco County, a designation that would highlight the diverse recreational opportunities and unique characteristics that could attract more visitors to a Michigan coast-to-coast trunkline. Supporting points of interest were highlighted along the M-55 corridor in Roscommon County and outward towards both Manistee and Tawas. This designation will help protect regional attributes, views, and pastoral land use. It will provide funding opportunities for new and existing improvements to infrastructure, protection of special assets and resources, and provide marketing opportunities to attract visitors and encourage economic growth to the area."
  New! 2023-11 Until it is made clear, this proposed Pure Michigan Byway will be listed both here in the Recreaetional Byways section as well as in the Scenic Byways section.
  New! 2023-11 In October 2023, both the Missaukee County Board of Commissioners and the Cadillac City Council approved motions urging MDOT to designate the M-55 Pure Michigan Byway as soon as possible.
Weblinks: New! 2023-11 Coast to Coast on MI 55, A Pure Michigan Byway – an ArcGIS Storymap prepared by MDOT
  M-55 Route Listing
   
I-69 Route MarkerI-69 Recreational Heritage Route logo

I-69 Recreational
Heritage Route

Southern End: Southern entrance of I-69 at the Indiana state line near Kinderhook
Northern End: Calhoun/Eaton Co line southwest of Olivet
Length: 47 miles
Notes: On October 8, 2004, I-69 in Branch and Calhoun Co was officially designated as a Recreational Heritage Route in a ceremony held at the newly-reconstructed Coldwater Welcome Center south of Coldwater.
  From MDOT: "Stretching along more than 80 miles [sic.] of Interstate 69, from the Indiana border north through Branch and Calhoun counties, the I-69 Recreational Heritage Route links several Michigan communities, including Coldwater and historic Marshall. United by their common recreational amenities, each community offers its own particular brand of fun. You’ll discover areas with miles of trails and land for hiking, skiing, and snowmobiling, as well as inland lakes that sport some of the best fishing in Michigan. The I-69 Recreational Heritage Route is a historically significant region where visitors can enjoy fresh foods, the largest collection of restored homes in the Midwest, and colorful stories about people who shaped the land."
  Regarding the dedication ceremony, Calhoun Co Community Development notes: "The ceremony included the history of the formation of the I-69 Recreation Heritage Route Management Team, as well as information about the program, its partnership with MDOT, some of its planned projects and the unveiling of the new sign designating the area a Recreation Heritage Route. During his speech, Mike Boyce, Convis Township Supervisor and manager of the Baker Bird Sanctuary, spoke about a future project of the I-69 RHR Management Team and its intention of placing Kestrel nesting boxes within the I-69 corridor right-of-way to encourage the increase of nesting opportunities and habitat of Kestrels."
  Pure Michigan BywaysNew! In 2017, the Recreational Heritage Route signs along the I-69 Recreational Heritage Route were replaced with the new Pure Michigan Byways markers, although the official name of the route still seems to be the "I-69 Recreational Heritage Route." (The route's website has not been updated since 2011, so it is difficult to know how active the support is for this particular route.)
Weblinks: I-69 Recreation Heritage Route (dead link) - website as managed by the Southwestern Michigan Planning Commission.
  I-69 Scenic Corridor Management Study - information sheet from MDOT.
  I-69 Route Listing
   
M-179 Route Marker

Chief Noonday
Recreational Heritage Route

Western End: Western terminus of M-179 at US-131 near Bradley south of Wayland
Eastern End: Eastern terminus of M-179 at jct M-43 west of Hastings
Length: 17 miles
Notes: From MDOT: "The natural beauty of the Chief Noonday Trail (M-179), coupled with its many recreational and historic sites, make this an outstanding Heritage Route. This area was once the hunting ground for native woodland Indians. It continues to heavily wooded and inhabited by a wide variety of wildlife. A large portion of the road is bordered by state owned land. This is the gateway to the Yankee Springs Recreational area and the Barry State Game Area. The combination of state and local facilities provide the visitor a wide variety of recreational and historic opportunities. Activities available include camping, hiking, swimming, boating, fishing, hunting, biking, horseback riding, water an cross country skiing, berry and mushroom picking, photography and visits to historical sites and museums."
  The M-179 Recreational Heritage Route is also known as the Chief Noonday Recreational Heritage Route.
  This route is named after Chief Noonday, an Iroquois hero of the War of 1812. Legend has it that it was Chief Noonday who carried the body of Tecumseh, Pawnee leader of the Indian warriors, from his final battlefield. Chief Noonday was also instrumental in the negotiations that opened much of Michigan to settlement. Living out his last years in the Yankee Springs area at Slater's Mission, his grave lies near Prairieville. The local chapter of the North Country Trail is also named after Chief Noonday.
Weblinks: M-179 Route Listing
   

 

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