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tunnel of trees m-119

The Ultimate Guide to Michigan’s Jaw-Dropping Tunnel of Trees on M-119

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    Ranked one of the most scenic roads in the United States and most iconic attractions in Michigan, the Tunnel of Trees Scenic Heritage Route offers spectacular nature views, activities, and historical sites. Located in Northern Michigan, it’s part of the M-119 state road that stretches from Cross Village to Harbor Springs. With Sturgeon Bay to the north and Little Traverse Bay to the south, the Michigan Tunnel of Trees runs along the coastal bluff of Lake Michigan.

    Michigan's Tunnel of Trees on M-119
    photo credit: @mipeninsulas

    Ultimate Guide to Michigan’s Tunnel of Trees on M-119

    M-119 begins at the north end of Petoskey, but it doesn’t officially become The Tunnel of Trees until north of Harbor Springs. From there, the state highway becomes very narrow, running 20 miles along a spectacular bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. Take a look at this Tunnel of Trees Michigan map to get a visual of where and how long it is. As you can see, the winding Michigan Tunnel of Trees is about 20 miles long and has more than 135 curves as it winds its way along the coastal bluff of Lake Michigan.

    Where the Tunnel of Trees starts depends on where you are. From the north end, it starts in Cross Village. From the south end, it starts in Harbor Springs. Where the Tunnel of Trees ends also depends on where you are. When you start from the north side, it will end in Harbor Springs. When you start on the south side, it will end in Cross Village.

    At a maximum speed of 45 mph, it takes about 40 minutes to drive the Tunnel of Trees without stopping – closer to 50 minutes if you include the additional 10 miles into Petosky. Stopping to visit some of the many attractions along the way, however, makes it easy to spend three hours or longer on this stretch of road.

    Although most people tour the road to see the brilliant Tunnel of Trees fall colors, there’s plenty to do all year. In fact, the surroundings feel different depending on the season in which you visit. For example, trilliums cover the ground throughout spring. In the winter, snow cloaks the hardwood trees. No matter the season, the best time to visit the Tunnel of Trees is during the week because there’s less traffic on the road. Look out for slow drivers and cyclists as you enjoy the scenery.

    Luckily, we’ve put together a driving guide to take the guesswork out of your Michigan Tunnel of Trees experience. While our ultimate guide to Michigan’s Tunnel of Trees on M-119 starts in the north at Cross Village and takes you south to Harbor Springs, you’re welcome to start in the south and work your way north instead.

     

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    Tunnel of Trees on M-119: Places to Visit in Cross Village

    Often remembered for the giant white cross that overlooks Lake Michigan, Cross Village is an unincorporated community with a rich, varied history that began in the 1600s. The first residents were Odawa and Ojibwa Native Americans. In the late 17th century, Jesuit priests visited and established a mission in the area. The town grew throughout the 1800s and flourished in the fishing and lumber industries.

    After a devastating fire in 1918, the Cross Village residents rebuilt the town. Now it features many things to do, but here are six places that you can check out as you start the drive south.

    Museum of L’Arbre Croche History

    Founded in 1995, the Museum of L’Arbre Croche History has a main hall and four rooms of displays that detail the background of the area between Cross Village and Good Hart. The displays include a range of artifacts from the Native American tribes and early white settlers.

    Legs Inn

    As one of the few hotels near the Tunnel of Trees in Michigan, Legs Inn is a historic landmark and dining destination. In fact, the MLive newspaper has named it the second-most iconic restaurant in the state. With rustic stone architecture, this spot serves authentic Polish cuisine in a scenic outdoor garden. There are live music events and rental cottages too.

    Cross Village Beach

    You can’t miss the view of Lake Michigan from Cross Village Beach. Just a short walk from Legs Inn, it has a boat launch and restroom facilities. There are plenty of hardwood trees and open spaces as well.

    photo credit: Cross Village Beach

    Three Pines Studio

    Before you leave the town, check out Three Pines Studio. This unique art gallery features works by more than 40 artists from across Northern Michigan. You can find ceramics, woodwork, glass, metalwork, paintings, jewelry, and more. There are also beautiful sculptures in the outdoor garden.

    Woollam Family Nature Preserve

    Just 1.5 miles outside of Cross Village, the Woollam Family Nature Preserve stretches for 69 acres. It has 3,300 feet of Lake Michigan shoreline, and you can walk the 0.5-mile trail through the woods and to the beach.

    The Old Council Tree

    With a highway marker about 1.5 miles south of the preserve and about 4 miles north of Good Hart, you can see The Old Council Tree. It’s the location where Native American tribes once held councils. A meeting between the Chippewa, Menominee, and Ottawa Tribes in 1763 is one of the most legendary. They gathered to decide their next move against the British.

    Tunnel of Trees | Scenic M-119
    photo credit: ARTifactsbyJane on Etsy

    Tunnel of Trees on M-119: Must Visit Attractions in Good Hart, Michigan

    Positioned about halfway between Cross Village and Harbor Springs on the Michigan Tunnel of Trees route, Good Hart is an unincorporated community with rich Native American history. Some tribal citizens originally called it “L’Arbre Croche,” which referred to the huge, crooked tree nearby. Others called it “Opit-awe-ing”, which means “halfway.” Later, white settlers called it Middle Village and then Good Hart, which became permanent in 1827.

    As a resort area, the Good Hart community relies on tourism and has several interesting attractions. Below are eight places that are worth exploring as you drive toward Harbor Springs.

    Readmond Township Beach Reserve

    With a sign visible from the road, Readmond Township Beach Reserve is located off M-119 on Lamokin Drive. Carry-in boat access, a picnic area, and restroom facilities are available. This map of the area gives you an idea of how far away it is from Woollam Family Nature Preserve.

    St. Ignatius Mission Church and Middle Village Park

    Before you return to the Tunnel of Trees, backtrack on Lamokin Drive, and turn south on Lamkin Road to St. Ignatius Mission Church. It was built in honor of St. Ignatius of Lyola. The current building is the third to be erected after the first two were burned down.

    A Native American burial ground sits next to the church. Also next to it is a pathway with an observation deck that leads to Middle Village Park. There’s a beach for swimming, restroom facilities, and boat access.

    A Studio Shop

    When you’re ready, head north on Lamkin Road to return to the Tunnel of Trees. You’ll notice the red roof of your next stop on the right: A Studio Shop. With fun finds and one-of-a-kinds items, it’s a seasonal boutique with accessories and gifts. You can only visit the shop from Memorial Day through October.

    photo credit: A Studio

    Primitive Images

    Just over 100 feet away is Primitive Images, which is the perfect shop for buying antiques and rustic furniture. It has handmade jewelry, rugs, and other items too. In addition, the Good Hart & Soul Tea Room offers tea tastings and beverages, which are served in the garden and on the outdoor deck.

    Good Hart General Store

    Right next to Primitive Images, you can’t miss the Good Hart General Store. This must-visit, authentic 1934 shop is a red building. It’s the area’s bakery, deli, grocery, and post office. You’ll enjoy the homemade baked goods, especially the famous potpies. The store has Good Hart-branded clothes and gifts as well.

    Good Hart Glassworks

    Are you interested in blown glass? Stop at Good Hart Glassworks during your Tunnel of Trees tour. The art studio and gallery is about 2 miles from the general store and off the scenic road. It offers educational demos and lessons about glass blowing.

    Devil’s Elbow

    Once you get back on the Tunnel of Trees Scenic Heritage Route, Devil’s Elbow is an infamous hairpin turn with a historical marker just 0.5 miles south. According to the legend, an evil spirit lived in the ravine and haunted the local Native Americans after dark. Former residents reported hearing sounds and voices coming from the ravine.

    Trillium Woods Antiques and Espresso

    Another 0.5 miles south before you get to Harbor Springs, Trillium Woods Antiques and Espresso is an intriguing place to visit. Known for having an eclectic collection, you can look for a variety of vintage items. Afterward, you can get a chai latte, espresso, or other beverage.

    Tunnel of Trees in Good Hart, Michigan
    KainulainenPhotos on Etsy

    Tunnel of Trees on M-119: Explore the City of Harbor Springs

    Harbor Springs is a popular vacation destination in Northern Michigan. Although it’s situated at the end of this Tunnel of Trees scenic road trip, the city is a great place to visit. Full of culinary talent, it has a quaint waterfront on Little Traverse Bay and a plethora of activities, including gallery exhibitions, theater performances, swimming, hiking, and more. Here are two must-visit places before you get to downtown and a third highly recommended stop among the hustle and bustle.

    Pond Hill Farm

    About 5 miles before you get to downtown Harbor Springs, stop at Pond Hill Farm. For more than 20 years, it has ensured that couples and families have a great time. The farm is home to Harbor Springs Vineyards and Winery as well as Tunnel Vision Brewery. Both offer tastings and a wonderful escape for adults.

    During your visit, you can walk across grassy fields and through the woods on miles of groomed trails. Winter is a great time for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing on the trails, or you can cruise a sled down Vineyard Sled Hill. Additionally, Pond Hill Farm offers a Gnome Scavenger Hunt all year. There’s even a Garden Cafe that serves seasonal dishes and a market where you can purchase fresh produce and homemade goods. The property features a livestock barn, playground, and special events throughout the year too.

    Pond Hill Farms via Facebook

    Thorne Swift Nature Preserve

    Only about 2 miles south of Pond Hill Farm, Thorne Swift Nature Preserve is spread across 30 acres with 950 feet of Lake Michigan shoreline. You can explore the Elizabeth Kennedy Nature Center, which is full of information about the surrounding animals and plants. Afterward, you can walk the 1.5-mile trail to the dune and pond observation platforms.

    Harbor Springs Lyric Theatre

    On Main Street in Harbor Springs, the Lyric Theatre is a nonprofit movie theater that offers entertainment all year. Stop by for a classic, family, or foreign movie to wind down after your day of traversing the Tunnel of Trees.

    Lyric Theatre - Harbor Springs Michigan
    photo credit: Lyric Theatre

    More to Discover Along the Tunnel of Trees Scenic Heritage Route on M-119

    Above are only 17 of the stops that we think you should make on the drive between Cross Village and Harbor Springs. It’s possible to spend multiple days exploring everything there is to see and do along Michigan’s Tunnel of Trees on M-119.

    There are a few hotels near the Michigan Tunnel of Trees, so you can turn your adventure into a weekend getaway. Aside from Legs Inn in Cross Village, Blisswood is just 2 miles north of Good Hart and Birchwood Inn is less than 1 mile south of Thorne Swift Nature Preserve in Harbor Springs.

    Tunnel of Trees: Gorgeous in Any Season

    No matter what time of the year you visit Michigan’s Tunnel of Trees on M-119, you’re in for a beautiful drive… from snow cover boughs in the winter to leafy greens in the spring and summer to the brilliant colors of fall, a drive through the Tunnel of Trees needs to be on your list of things to do in Michigan!

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