Blue Water Bridge-Port Huron

14 Iconic Michigan Bridges to Cross

Michiganders love traveling, and one of the iconic Michigan bridges is usually part of any road trip in the Mitten State. Crossing these famous bridges is required to reach a destination, but the bridges are much more than that.

From the mighty Mackinac Bridge connecting Michigan’s two peninsulas and the unique Blue Water Bridge to the state’s many covered bridges, these are all impressive engineering feats that continue to be admired and used by Michiganders each day.

A trip to visit or cross over iconic bridges in Michigan can be a memorable experience, showcasing the very best of the state.

Mackinac Bridge-Mackinaw City
Mackinac Bridge | photo via @greendrinks

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinaw City to St Ignace

Michigan’s most iconic bridge is also the biggest. Spanning nearly five miles, the Mighty Mac connects Michigan’s two peninsulas. It’s a welcome sight for residents and visitors alike as they drive over it in either direction toward St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula or Mackinaw City in the Lower Peninsula.

The bridge is a shining example of 20th-century engineering and opened to the public on November 1, 1957. Before this, visitors who wanted to cross over to either peninsula faced long wait times and ferry rides that lasted between one and three hours.

The bridge is the site of the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk, where residents and visitors alike are invited to walk across the state’s superstructure. For many walkers, the bridge is a unique, if not humbling, bucket-list experience that allows them to see the majesty of the Straits of Mackinac.

Blue Water Bridge-Port Huron
Blue Water Bridge | photo via fariaararipe

Blue Water Bridge

Port Huron to Canada

This Thumbcoast bridge stretches over the St. Clair River, connecting Port Huron with Port Edward, Ontario, Canada.

What some Michigan residents and visitors may not know about the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron is that it’s two bridges with one span going in each direction. The original span opened in 1938, and the other opened in 1997.

In 1935, the Michigan Legislature created a commission to finance the design and building of what became the Blue Water Bridge. Lead engineer Ralph Modjeski, who became known as “America’s greatest bridge builder,” faced several obstacles during construction but settled on a cantilevered-through-truss design to allow a mandated vertical clearance requirement for shipping.

Did you know that Mojeski was a consulting engineer on the Ambassador Bridge and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge? He also was the chief engineer on many projects, including the Benjamin Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia.

When the bridge opened in 1938, it had two lanes for vehicles and sidewalks. The sidewalks were removed during the 1980s to open a third lane for vehicle traffic. Increased vehicle traffic by the early 1990s necessitated a second span.

Amid some debate, a continuous-tied arch design was chosen for the second span. This allowed the new span to stand out without taking away the history of the original span.

Note: You’ll need a passport to cross this Michigan bridge.

Boyne Mountain Skybridge Michigan
photo courtesy of Boyne Mountain Resort

Sky Bridge

Boyne Mountain

SkyBridge isn’t trying to overshadow the Mackinac Bridge. But as a strictly pedestrian bridge that’s open year-round, SkyBridge is a thing of beauty that’s already drawn thousands of visitors since it opened in 2022.

SkyBridge spans 1,200 feet between the peaks of Disciples Ridge and McLouth at Boyne Mountain Resort, so visitors must be at the top of one of the mountains to reach it.

Stepping on the bridge triggers movement, but fear not. It’s kind of like stepping onto a wooden playground bridge and there is railing and fencing on both sides. Visitors are encouraged to walk (not run) at their own pace and enjoy the sites around them.

SkyBridge is an incredible spot to enjoy Michigan’s fall colors and the holiday season when colorful lights are strung across this massive structure.

Ambassador Bridge-Detroit
Ambassador Bridge | photo via clovisphotos

Ambassador Bridge

Detroit to Canada

When you hear a Michigander say you can get to Canada by driving south, the Ambassador Bridge is the gateway to make that happen.

That’s because Detroit sits north of Canada, and travelers going to Canada from Michigan will arrive in Windsor. The bridge is open 24/7, and travelers should have their passports, passport cards, and other needed documents/information handy.

The Ambassador Bridge opened in 1929 and is one of North America’s busiest international border crossings. This suspension bridge covers 7,500 feet in length and sees over 10,000 trucks and 4,000 vehicles cross each day.

Note: You’ll need a passport to cross this Michigan bridge.

Zilwaukee Bridge-Saginaw
Zilwaukee Bridge | photo via adrien.m15

Zilwaukee Bridge

I-75, Saginaw County

Michiganders know that a road trip “Up North” doesn’t truly begin until they cross the Zilwaukee Bridge over the Saginaw River.

This massive eight-lane structure was completed in 1988, replacing an older four-lane bridge. It spans about 8,000 feet and rises 125 feet at its highest point.

The Zilwaukee Bridge is part of I-75 and US-23, allowing travelers to drive over the bridge toward Northern Michigan or south toward Mid-Michigan and Metro Detroit.

Its name comes from the city of Zilwaukee in Saginaw County. While the name’s origin is shrouded in some mystery, it’s thought to be a deliberate attempt to attract visitors who want to visit Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge

Sault Ste Marie to Canada

Michigan’s oldest city, Sault Ste. Marie, marks the end of I-75 in Michigan. Once I-75 ends, travelers can head over the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge to the twin city of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

The International Bridge crosses the St. Mary’s River and is almost three miles long. The bridge opened in 1962 and continues to be one of the busiest passenger crossings along the US-Canada border.

The steel truss arch bridge sees traffic of around 7,000 vehicles daily. Bikes are also allowed to cross, but there aren’t dedicated bike lanes, so travelers are encouraged to use caution.

Each June, travelers can participate in the International Bridge Walk, where walkers can travel from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario via the bridge. This annual tradition has taken place since 1987 and draws thousands of participants.

Note: You’ll need a passport to cross this Michigan bridge.

Gordie Howe International Bridge-Detroit
Gordie Howe International Bridge | photo via bobbysworld313

The Tridge

Chippewa and Tittabawassee Rivers in Midland

This must-see attraction in Midland’s Chippewasee Park fittingly crosses the Chippewa and Tittabawassee Rivers. It’s the official name of a wooden footbridge that consists of a single 31-foot pillar that supports three spokes, each of which is eight feet wide and 180 feet long.

The Tridge opened in 1981 and is a favorite of walkers, bikers, skaters, and skateboarders. The three spokes are massive and spread out through Chippewassee Park, St. Charles Park, and the area of town that includes the local farmer’s market. In the summer, the Tridge is a popular gathering spot for concerts.

Gordie Howe International Bridge

Detroit to Canada

This cable-swayed bridge is named for Detroit Red Wings hockey legend Gordie Howe, and construction began in 2018.

Spanning 2.5 miles across the Detroit River into Windsor, Canada, the bridge is expected to open in 2025. Once completed, it will link I-75 in Michigan with Ontario’s Highway 401, providing interrupted freeway traffic flow.

Note: You’ll need a passport to cross this Michigan bridge.

Little Mac Bridge-Manistee County
Little Mac Bridge | photo via winfieldscottcreative

Little Mac Bridge

NCT, Manistee County

The Little Mac Bridge in Manistee County was built in 1996 and named after the Mackinac Bridge. But rather than trying to copy the Mighty Mac, the Little Mac is a hidden gem that still stands out.

This wooden suspension bridge is in the heart of the Manistee National Forest. It takes visitors over the Manistee River and is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts looking to hike, do some photography, or go on a scenic walk.

The bridge spans 245 feet across the river and is pedestrian-only. The bridge is a popular spot for hikers because it’s part of the North Country Scenic Trail, which stretches across the Upper Peninsula and winds through the Lower Peninsula down to the Ohio border before continuing through several more states.

Ada Covered Bridge-Kent County
Ada Covered Bridge | photo via luvanurse443

Covered Bridges in Michigan

In contrast to some of Michigan’s larger bridges, several covered bridges in the state exude nostalgia and rustic charm. Some are still vehicle-friendly, but all can be visited, photographed, and enjoyed.

Ada Covered Bridge

Kent County

Built in 1913 for $3,000, the Ada Bridge is a Brown truss design still enjoyed as a pedestrian-only wooden bridge more than a century after its construction. It’s been recognized on the National Register of Historic Places and honored with a State of Michigan historic marker.

The bridge is the site of Beer at the Bridge each August and Tinsel Treats and Trolleys in December. 

Langley Covered Bridge

Three Rivers

This Howe truss design bridge was constructed in 1887 and named for resident Thomas Langley. The historic bridge covers 282 feet over three 94-foot spans over the St. Joseph River.

The bridge is well known for its distinct red color and is a tower 16 feet high. It became a designated Michigan historic site in 1965.

Pierece Stocking Drive-Sleeping Bear Dunes
Pierece Stocking Drive | photo via lucyvonbago

Pierce Stocking Covered Bridge

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

The Pierce Stocking Covered Bridge is an attractive Stringer truss bridge that’s been a local fixture for decades along one of Lake Michigan’s most popular scenic drives. After porcupines ate the sides of the original bridge, it was rebuilt with a taller top for more vehicle clearance.

A pull-off area allows visitors to take a break and take photos of or admire the bridge. One thing is certain, this covered bridge in the heart of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, is one travelers don’t want to miss.

Fallasburg Covered Bridge

Lowell

With its picturesque location over the Flat River, the Fallasburg Bridge connects Fallasburg Park and Fallasurg Village. The Brown truss-style bridge was built in 1871 and covers 100 feet.

Visitors can drive over the bridge (very slowly). The bridge became part of the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. it remains a scenic spot to visit on the way to the park or the village.

Frankenmuth
Frankenmuth | photo via nspiredadventures

Zehnder’s Holz Brucke

Frankenmuth

This breathtaking covered bridge was dedicated in 1980 and crosses the Cass River. It connects Frankenmuth’s Main Street with the other side of the river, home to Heritage Park and the famous Bavarian Inn Lodge.

This Town lattice truss-style bridge is made up almost entirely of Douglas fir clad in cedar shingles. It features two traffic lanes and two covered sidewalks covering nearly 250 feet.

If you’re picturing postcard-worthy covered bridges, this is the one that will probably come to mind.

Fallasburg Covered Bridge-Lowell-Fall
Fallasburg Covered Bridge | photo via gsticks

Visit One of Michigan’s Iconic Bridges

These are but a few of the many bridges in Michigan; in fact, the Great Lakes State has more than 11,300 bridges. But these iconic bridges in Michigan are some of the most scenic, most traveled, and well-known.

A trip across just one of these bridges is a memorable experience for any Michigander. A trip across the Mackinac Bridge may hold memories of trips to St. Ignace or Mackinac Island; a trip across the Zilwaukee Bridge may bring back memories of childhood trips up north to the family cottage.

These bridges hold a special place in the hearts of Michiganders, and crossing them or stopping to admire or photograph them is just one more thing that makes Michigan a special place.

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