For the locals, it’s where they go when they get a break in schedules. For guests to the area, it’s the fall color route they most often ask about. And for those of you who have not yet made it the Petoskey Area, the Tunnel of Trees is where anyone who has come before will tell you to go.
There are many reasons to visit the Petoskey Area in the fall – from the festivals in Petoskey, Harbor Springs, and Boyne City, to shopping at Bay Harbor to the chance to see for miles from a scenic chairlift ride at Boyne Mountain or The Highlands. Yet time and time again, visitors flock to the region to take in stunning color, while also enjoying unique points of interest, on a scenic tour through the world-famous Tunnel of Trees.
Snaking its way along the Lake Michigan shoreline from Harbor Springs to Good Hart and all the way to historic Cross Village – a 20-mile trek, the Tunnel of Trees offers unparalleled views of the coast. Along the way you’ll also catch a glimpse of Beaver Island and two lighthouses. And with more curves than Marilyn Monroe (137!) this beautiful route is NOT one to try and rush through – note the 25mph signs are not simply a suggestion.
Be sure your passengers keep their cameras ready, as this route is filled with terrific photo opportunities including overlooks from near Birchwood Farms and just north of Stutsmanville Road.
For those looking for something beyond the beauty, there are historical markers and places of interest including St. Ignatius Church, a Native American burial ground, and Devil’s Elbow, once said to be the home of an evil spirit.
Need to mail a postcard? You can do that at the Good Hart General Store which also serves as a post office, but we suggest you pick up a souvenir M-119 hat, tee shirt, or one of the store’s famous pot pies. No cooler? No worries! Good Hart General Store will ship for you.
Good Hart General Store isn’t the only cool stop along the Tunnel of Trees. Primitive Images/Good Hart & Soul Tea Room serves up more than 50 different teas in an 1850’s log cabin filled with rustic furnishings. Three Pines Studio is a terrific gallery that also offers classes. And Pond Hill Farm is a real working farm that has fun kids’ activities like a gnome house hunt and is also home to Harbor Springs Vineyard and Winery for the over-21 crowd. And no trip on the Tunnel of Trees is complete without a stop at the quirky Legs Inn. This historic landmark destination is just as famous for its interesting architecture as for the incredible views and authentic Polish food.
While we’re still waiting for the bright yellows that grace the Tunnel of Trees – it’s running late everywhere in the Petoskey Area – keep this drive in mind. Go up (or down) M-119 and make the return trip on State Road, which parallels the Tunnel of Trees and puts on its own fiery show of color.
For five breathtaking color tours, including the Tunnel of Trees, download the Petoskey Area Fall Color Guide.
About the author
Diane Dakins is passionate about all of the communities that comprise the Petoskey Area of Michigan: Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor and Boyne City. As assistant director of the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau, she has “been there – seen that” when it comes to virtually every area attraction. She strives to create informative content that gives potential visitors the scoop on planning a northern Michigan vacation.