Michigan’s Tunnel of Trees: Best Scenic Drive
The Tunnel of Trees is one of northern Michigan’s not-so-best-kept-secrets.
This beautiful scenic byway north of Harbor Springs takes you under a leafy ceiling of leaves and hardwood trees…deep greens in the spring and summer and beautiful reds and golds in the autumn months.
Michigan’s Tunnel of Trees is a perfect spot for Michigan fall color tour, and it’s worth exploring in the summer and winter months, too.
If you enjoy scenic drives, you’ll fall in love with Michigan’s Tunnel of Trees.
Join us as we explore northern Michigan and the famous Tunnel of Trees scenic heritage route.
What is Michigan’s Tunnel of Trees?
Scenic roads like the Tunnel of Trees are a Michigan travel experience that can’t be outdone.
Start in Harbor Springs and follow the narrow road of M-119 that hugs the Michigan border through a wooded 20 miles of color and light.
The fall colors of the trees make this road trip perfect for autumn, but spring and summer host their own scene of beautiful greenery for the drive.
The M-119 Tunnel of Trees is a weekend getaway complete with beach, forest, and dunes and plenty of surprises, too: it might be a bluff overlooking the deep blue Lake Michigan, or a picturesque log cabin set back under the hardwoods.
Read on to discover everything to you need to know about taking an unforgettable drive through the Tunnel of Trees.
Take a Trip through the Tunnel of Trees
What would it look like to journey from Harbor Springs through the Tunnel of Trees’ leafy canopy, to Cross Village (or the other way around), on an unforgettable pure Michigan road trip?
We’ve put together the perfect trip plan structured around the Tunnel of Trees, so you can know before you go.
We’ve included things to do near the tunnel, places to stay before and after the drive, and all the sights you can’t miss on this adventure.
We’ve also created a map of things to see and do along this scenic route at the bottom of this post. Use it to start making plans to explore Michigan’s scenic heritage route.
Start your Tunnel of Trees Journey Here
We recommend starting your Tunnel of Trees drive in Petoskey, follow the US-31 through town until you get to M-119.
Head north on M-119 through Harbor Springs in continue north through Good Hart until you get to Cross Village.
Petoskey, MI: Your Tunnel of Trees Starting Point
If you’re coming up from the southern side of Michigan, you’ll reach Petoskey, set on the shores of Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay.
As you make your way up to the Tunnel of Trees scenic drive, set aside some time to explore the unique city of Petoskey. You’ll find so much to do in the quaint town, from exploring downtown Petoskey’s historic Gaslight Village to Bayfront Park.
The Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau is a great place to start if you want to learn more about the historical site of Petoskey, and we have two guide to this beautiful area to help you make a more thorough visit.
Use our Ultimate Petoskey Travel Guide for the most-up-to-date information about where to stay, play, eat and beach in Petoskey.
Petoskey Area Attractions
Check out these other fun spots to explore in Petoskey before you head for the trees on M119.
Bear River Valley Recreation
Your next stop in Petoskey on the M-119 Michigan highway is Bear River. Petoskey’s Bear River Valley Recreation Area is 1.5 miles of rushing rapids, forested trails, and beautiful nature walks.
Whether you need to throw a little adventure into your trip with some white water rafting or let yourself breathe among nature for an hour or two, Bear River is the place to stop.
Stop on the observation deck and enjoy the stunning Bear River vistas.
Discover Petoskey’s Beaches
When you’re done at Bear River, Petoskey State Park on the shores of Lake Michigan will be ready for you.
This is not just any state park. One of the most memorable parts of this city is the Petoskey Stones you may find in the sand and in the shallow waters.
As the state’s stone, it can only be found in Michigan, but you may have to hunt along the beach a little. You can read more about finding the in out Guide to Hunting Michigan’s Petoskey Stones.
A stop at the state park is the perfect way to take a break from driving and stretch your legs along Lake Michigan’s shoreline while taking in the beauty of the lake.
If you want to take a longer stay in Petoskey, explore Bay Harbor!
This beach neighborhood is an excellent choice for swimming, sunbathing, and taking in views of Lake Michigan.
This luxurious Little Traverse Bay area is a perfect bridge between Charlevoix and Petoskey, so save a visit for this sweet little beach neighborhood as well!
Explore Harbor Springs Michigan
As a bay town on the coast of Lake Michigan, Harbor Springs is home to some beautiful Michigan stops.
Charming, upscale downtown Harbor Springs is a fun spot to explore, and be sure and stop by Zoll Street Beach on the shores of Little Traverse Bay and catch a glimpse of the Little Traverse Lighthouse.
Must-Visit Harbor Springs Spots
Pond Hill Farm is a delightful, rustic cafe with visitor opportunities to eat, drink, and hunt for gnome houses with your kids.
In the winter, Pond Hills is the perfect place in Harbor Springs MI to hike, fat tire bike, and ski around their 1.5 mile trail loop.
Enjoy the market, explore the trails, and take some time for delicious jams and wine at Pond Hill Farms!
Toms Moms Cookies is a quaint shop that has been selling award-winning cookies since 1985.
Stop by on your road trip for some treats to go!
Gurneys Harbor Bottle Shop, established in 1792, is another place to stop if you need a break from driving for a quality meal.
Here you can build your own sandwich and take your pick from fresh bread, cheese, and meat.
Thorne Swift Nature Preserve is another great stop in Harbor Springs for a boardwalk journey through the forest and along the beach.
This nature preserve is 30 acres of bright green grass and foamy white waves.
If you’re interested in hiking trails, Thorne Swift is the place to be!
Stafford’s Pier Restaurant is a fabulous waterfront seafood restaurant with three indoor eating spaces and a deck.
Celebrate the maritime heritage of Harbor Springs in this historic restaurant while enjoying the beautiful Little Traverse Bay views.
Boyne Highlands Ski Resort is a space for biking, skiing, golfing, ziplining, horseback riding, and even more outdoor activities. It also provides a luxurious place to stay if you want to spend more time in Harbor Springs on your way to the Tunnel of Trees.
If you’re ready to start your journey on M119 Harbor Springs, Boyne Highlands has a Tunnel of Trees Color Excursion Tour!
M-119’s Tunnel of Trees Route
Finally, the reason you’ve come: the monumental drive through the Tunnel of Trees along M119.
We suggest driving it more than once – and in different seasons – for a fuller experience.
The beauty of the age-old trees in their pristine natural setting never gets old, and you’ll find something new with each glance through your car window.
The branches of the hardwoods and evergreens along M119 stretch over the road like a magical canopy.
This is arguably the best of Michigan highways that meanders right alongside a Michigan Great Lake. If you’re more into biking or hiking, try taking on just a portion of the Tunnel of Trees.
If you do drive straight through the Tunnel of Trees is a great option, there are a few places nearby worth checking out to make your wooded adventure even more exciting:
As you make your way up (or down) the Tunnel of Trees heritage route, head east a few miles toward to the Crooked River, which connects Burt Lake and Crooked Lake.
Explore the river by kayak or canoe to encounter Michigan wildlife (including deer and herons) up close. You’ll paddle through the Devils Elbow, as the river flows through Emmet County.
Explore Good Hart MI
Don’t blink, or you’ll miss it, and you don’t want that to happen.
Also known as Middle Village by the Odawa Native Americans of the area, the town of Good Hart is an ideal place to stop on your way through the tunnel.
Good Hart General Store
You’ll want to spend some time inside the Good Hart General Store filled with gifts, apparel and other “Made in Michigan” items. Don’t miss their famous gourmet pot pies and other homemade treats.
St. Ignatius Church and Cemetery
Added to the National Register of Historic places in 2007, this is one of four churches making up the Catholic community of L’Arbre Croche. Next to the church is a Native American burial ground wit ha path leading to the Middle Village Park and Lake Michigan Beach. This quiet, windswept Lake Michigan beach is a must-see spot along your trip.
A Studio Shop
This seasonal gift shop offers an unique and eclectic collection. It’s a fun spot to stop…from trinkets to bouquets of heavenly-scented freshly-cut flowers, you never know what you’ll find.
Good Hart Glassworks
This unique glassblowing art studio and gallery at times gives educational demos of the glass-blowing process. Plan some time to browse the collection of beautiful, hand-blown pieces.
Things to See in Cross Village, MI
Harbor Springs and Cross Village are the two end points of the Tunnel of Trees’ unforgettable journey.
Whether you’re starting or finishing in Cross Village, you’ll find opportunities for even more memories to be made.
While you’re here, look for the tall, white cross overlooking Lake Michigan on one of Cross Village’s beaches. It’s one of the well-known beacons that tourists admire if they stumble across it.
Be sure not to miss these special places along you Tunnel of Trees Tour:
The relaxing atmosphere of Legs Inn is the perfect way to end your Tunnel of Trees drive. After taking in the stunning colors and fresh smell of the woods, kick back and enjoy house-made Polish cuisine (and American food), refreshing drinks, and live music.
Three Pines Studio
Take a turn around Three Pines Art Studio and gallery to spark your intellectual side. The quiet and peaceful atmosphere of Three Pines is a lovely way for all different ages to explore art, browse gardens, and stock up on crafts supplies.
A few extra miles north from the Tunnel of Trees, but undeniably worth it, Sturgeon Bay offers all the delights of beach life: bright blue waves, three miles of sand, and dunes for climbing.
Black Barn Farm
This family-run farm specializes in naturally grown vegetables, flowers, herbs, pasture raised eggs as well as a variety of homemade pastas and pesto. Visit their store for some home-spun treats.
Woolam Family Nature Preserve
This pristine 62-acre natural preserve offers 4000 feet of Lake Michigan beach front. We like to fill our picnic basket with treats from the Good Hart General Store, and head here to watch the sunset as we dine.
This is the perfect place to wrap up your Tunnel of Trees tour.
Tunnel of Trees F.A.Q.
A. Michigan’s Tunnel of Trees is located along a 20-mile stretch of M-119, a state highway that hugs the scenic coast of Lake Michigan. You’ll find quaint shops and art studios tucked in the trees along the highway, as well as spectacular Lake Michigan vistas.
A. If you drive the 20-mile state road without stopping, it will take you about 40 minutes. That, however, is no way to fully experience this magical place. You’ll want to plan for at least 4-5 hours to allow yourself time to get out of your vehicle and explore.
About the Author
Kyrsten Newlon is a content writing and editing intern for mymichiganbeach.com. Growing up in Kalamazoo, she wrote and read everything she could. Now, she is a student at Grace College with Journalism and Communications majors and an English minor. She has been published by Grace College, the Winona Lake Newsletter, Input Fort Wayne, and various online blogs. Kyrsten loves raising puppies to be service dogs, spending time in coffee shops, and adventuring through Michigan.
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