#MITrailsWeek: Cut River Bridge

When traveling through the Upper Peninsula it is very easy to focus on one’s destination and overlook some fantastic scenic opportunities along one’s journey. This is definitely understandable – especially along US-2, where individual minutes can seemingly stretch into hours. Nonetheless, many stops along this highway merit consideration, and one of the best is the Cut River Bridge roadside park, 26 miles west of St. Ignace.

With access from both sides of the bridge, this park offers travelers an excellent option for taking a break from driving and seeing some truly beautiful northern Michigan scenery. Originally constructed in the 1940s (with construction interrupted by World War II), the bridge itself is 147 feet above the Cut River, and a generous stairway with 230-plus steps provides access to several trails along the river and to the Lake Michigan shoreline.

On my visit in August, while returning from the western U.P to lower Michigan, I was able to enjoy a remarkable sunset where the Cut River flows over rocks and sand into Lake Michigan. As an added bonus, I got some much-needed exercise before crossing the Mackinac Bridge and settling into the last 230 miles of my trip. It was absolutely a good choice, and there’s no question that I’ll be going back to see the same picturesque river valley during the autumn color season.

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