Photo by Todd and Brad Reed Photography
The “Tunnel of Trees,” the M-119 Heritage Route traveling from Harbor Springs to Cross Village, is a stunning display of northern hardwoods located very close to the roadway, creating the feeling of traveling through a tunnel. The route is a favorite of Northern Michigan visitors because of its rolling terrain, stunning vistas, and dramatic turns and curves.
Although not officially part of the Lake Michigan Circle Tour which takes travelers along US-31 from Petoskey to Mackinaw City, M-119 is a more scenic alternate route along the Lake Michigan shoreline.
Designated a state Scenic Heritage Route, the views along this 27.5 mile drive are among the most stunning outlooks of Lake Michigan in the state. While this drive is spectacular all year ’round, the fall colors along the route bring people back year after year to experience the glorious foliage.
The panoramic views from a 900-foot elevation provide some of the most spectacular views of Lake Michigan and the Beaver Island archipelago available from M-119.
According to local residents, the Five Mile Schoolhouse was owned by the local school district from 1880-1960. By the 1950s, the school was no longer utilized for classes and the local community formed the Five Mile Creek Community Association to promote its upkeep.
The area below the bluff from Rolling Ridge Farm is known as Seven Mile Point. Native Americans and other explorers used this location as a destination and starting point to traverse the Bay to and from Charlevoix’s Nine Mile Point. A Native American village, She-na-bah-ma-kong, may also have been located in the vicinity.
Intermittent, short views of Lake Michigan can be seen here. The forested area here is typical of the canopied “tunnel” the road is known for.
Located at the intersection of M-119 and Middle Village Road, this spot provides an excellent view of the St. Ignatius Church below the bluff in Middle Village an old settlement dating back hundreds of years. The St. Ignatius church steeple is visible from the roadway and frames the view. The church serves as a gathering place and is a community cultural asset as well as a historic feature.
Here you’ll find a general store/post office, an antique shop, furnishings store that also serves tea, and a number of homes and cottages.
The Council Tree is a mature white pine located in close proximity to the road in Readmond Township. Local Native American tribes used this tree as a site to hold council. Although its precise history is unknown, historic references indicate that a large group of Native Americans gathered at this location in 1787.
The tunnel of trees ends in Cross Village, the historic community located high atop a Lake Michigan bluff. From here, head north along the shoreline to Mackinaw City or return to Harbor Springs via State Road.
Advertisement – Please scroll below for more information.
Wildlife sanctuary Thorne Swift Nature Preserve is located 3 1/2 miles north of Harbor Springs, between Lower Shore Drive and Lake Michigan.
The Harbor Springs History Museum offers a unique look at the history of the community, starting with the first Catholic missionaries.
The many ski resorts in Northern Michigan have winter activities for the entire family including sledding, sleigh rides, tubing, and more.
The National Shrine of the Cross in the Woods is a 55′ x 22′ redwood cross cut from one redwood tree and with a 28′ tall bronze crucifix.
Historic Mill Creek Discover Park has 625 acres along Lake Huron, 3.5 miles of hiking trails, a reconstructed saw mill, mill dam, and more.
Fisherman’s Island State Park has more than 2,600 acres and miles of gorgeous Lake Michigan beach and is located just south of Charlevoix.
Within the historic Chicago/West Michigan railroad depot in Petoskey, the Little Traverse History Museum is a history filled gem.
Get off the ferry from Mackinaw City or St. Ignace to Mackinac Island and the first thing you’ll see is the historic downtown area.
This 36 acre, 1.5 mile long Bear River Valley in Petoskey is truly spectacular and filled with natural beauty and things to do.
Built during World War II to haul heavy materials during the winter, the Icebreaker Mackinaw was in service for 62 years then became a museum.