River Road Scenic Byway

National Scenic BywayMichigan

All Photos (62)

  • Westgate Welcome Center Viewing Deck

    At Westgate Welcome Center, travelers will view Loud Pond of the Au Sable River from two observation decks.

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  • Au Sable River Queen

    The only paddlewheel river boat operating in northern Michigan, the Au Sable River Queen prepares to set out on a two hour excursion along the shoreline of Foote Pond of the Au Sable River.

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  • An Entrance to Huron National Forest

    The National Forest sign welcomes visitors into the fall dappled forest along Highway 72.

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  • Loud Dam Pond Fishing Access

    The shore leads effortlessly to the bright blue lapping waters of the Loud Dam Pond. This is a fishing access site.

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  • Portal Sign for Huron National Forest

    Dark green pines huddle around a sign on Monument Road, welcoming visitors to the Huron National Forest.

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  • Rollways Picnic Area

    Fall colors overhang the log-built Rollways Picnic Shelter. The cabin sits near Loud Pond of the Au Sable River.

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  • Spring Fishing below Foote Dam

    Fishermen lean on the railings to try to catch a steelhead fish at the Foote Hydroelectric Dam.

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  • Cooke Dam

    The red brick of the Cooke Hydroelectric Dam powerhouse contrasts brightly with surrounding snow and ice.

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  • Canoeing the Au Sable

    Canoeists float along the pristine waters of the Au Sable River.

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  • Cross-country Skiing on the Corsair Trail System

    Skiiers enjoy a day on the Corsair Trail System.

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  • Winter Ski on the Highbanks Trail

    A lone set of ski tracks marks the snow between tall trees along the Highbanks Trail.

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  • Canoers Memorial

    The pale stone of Canoers Memorial is edged by trees in fall color.

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  • Dune Trail at Lumberman's Monument

    Visitors enjoy an autumn walk along the Dune Trail at Lumberman's Monument Visitor Center. This short trail is hard surfaced and flat, ending at the dune area observation deck.

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  • Unimproved Boat Launch below Cooke Dam

    Shadows dapple the dirt road leading to the unimproved boat launch below Cooke Dam.

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  • Path along Foote Dam with View of Hydroelectric Building

    When visiting the Foote Dam, visitors can take a leisurely stroll along this path by the AuSable River.

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  • Hydroelectric Building on Foote Dam

    A weathered hydroelectric building associated with Foote Dam operations stands in the distance. The dam is on the AuSable River on the River Road Scenic Byway.

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  • Tailwater View of Loud Dam

    The water path of the AuSable River leads effortlessly up to Loud Dam.

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  • Leading down to Iargo Springs.

    A fenced walkway leads the visitor through the pined woods.

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  • Hardwood Forests along the Au Sable River

    Reflected as if it were in a pool of glass, this forest is on fire with color.

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  • The Au Sable River Queen

    The River Queen, the only paddlewheel river boat operating in northern Michigan, take off from the docks.

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  • Eastgate Welcome Center Orientation Kiosk

    This signboard located at Eastgate Welcome Center contains orientation maps and other information to help travelers with their destination plans.

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  • Fall Colors at Westgate Welcome Center

    The blue of the Au Sable River is made brighter by surrounding autumn foliage in this view from the east overlook at Westgate Welcome Center. The viewing platforms are fully accessible and located close to parking.

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  • Entrance Sign for River Road Scenic Byway

    Bright, bold signs welcome visitors to River Road Scenic Byway and the Huron-Manistee National Forests. The unique signing along River Road lets travelers know they are entering a special area within the forest.

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  • M-65 Sign for River Road Scenic Byway

    A scenic byway assurance marker is attached below the larger M-65 and River Road Junction sign.

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  • Accessible Fishing Pier at Cooke Dam

    This public fishing pier on Cooke Pond provides an easily accessible area to anyone wishing to dangle a hook in the water. It's also an inviting place to sit and enjoy the water or view the operation of Cooke Dam.

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  • View from Foote Pond Overlook

    The Foote Pond Overlook offers a broad view of the Au Sable River Valley landscape. The overlook is an excellent location for taking fall color photographs or watching for bald eagles soaring over the water.

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  • Westgate Welcome Center Orientation Kiosk

    The many panels of an orientation kiosk offer helpful information at the Westgate Welcome Center. The Westgate and Eastgate Welcome Centers have large maps showing the Byway route, features, trails, and visitor facilities. Interpretive panels tell about historical events and natural features of the Au Sable River Valley.

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  • Canoers Memorial Entrance Sign

    Immediately evident from the highway, the unique design of the Canoers Memorial Entrance Sign lets travelers know this is a Byway attraction.

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  • Fishing Area at Whirlpool River Access

    This fishing area at Whirlpool River Access is one of three located along River Road. These fishing piers offer easy access to the water for those travelers that don't want to negotiate steep banks or don't have a boat to get out onto the water.

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  • Iargo Springs Kiosk

    These interpretive signs at Iargo Springs tell of the area's cultural and natural history. A pictorial display of the spring area gives those unable to go down the stairway an opportunity to share the experience through photographs.

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  • Highbanks Sand Dune

    The view from the Highbanks Sand Dune at Lumberman's Monument is legendary. Close to 200 feet above the Au Sable River, this expansive view is spellbinding to visitors of all ages.

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  • Footsite Park

    The park is still quiet in this early spring photo, but as the only swimming beach along River Road, the spot will explode with activity come summer.

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  • Log Jam Display at Lumberman's Monument

    Visitors climb through a simulated log jam at Lumberman's Monument Visitor Center. This is one of several exhibits that tell the lumberjacks' stories.

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  • Iargo Springs

    Low-level log dams create small waterfalls on two of the springs.Viewing decks offer quiet areas to reflect and enjoy the gurgling streams that flow year-round.

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  • Cross on Au Sable River

    This cross has stood on the banks of Cooke Pond for several decades. Tucked among the trees, it marks the grave location of a lumberjack that lost his life while floating logs to Lake Huron.

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  • Kiwanis Monument

    The Kiwanis Monument was constructed by the Kiwanis Clubs of Michigan, in recognition of their contribution to the reforestation efforts on the national forest. Each club is recognized with its own marker on the Monument.

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  • Great Blue Heron at Tuttle Marsh Wildlife Area

    A great blue heron stands in one of the flooded ponds at Tuttle Marsh Wildlife Area.

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  • Cross-Cut Saw Area at Lumberman's Monument

    Visitors try their hand at using a cross-cut saw. Cut your own lumberjack cookie using a cross-cut saw in just one of many hands-on opportunities at Lumberman's Monument Visitor Center.

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  • Vegetation Management Along M-65

    Trees line a wintry stretch of M-65. Byway travelers will experience a working national forest including tree harvesting, prescribed burning, wildfire control, and wildlife habitat improvement.

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  • Lumbering History Program at Lumberman's Monument

    Michael Deren entertains the audience while telling the stories of the Michigan lumberjack. Interpretive programs are offered at Lumberman's Monument throughout the summer.

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  • Recreation Area at Old Orchard Campground

    Old Orchard Campground sits along the shoreline of Foote Pond. The campsites are well shaded with plenty of room for large trailers and RVs. This campground does get busy on summer weekends and will fill up on holiday weekends.

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  • Lumberman's Monument Gift Shop

    Visitors browse the small gift shop inside Lumberman's Monument Visitor Center, which features many books about the area's history, native plant and animal species, and travel guides. Postcards, T-shirts, and other souvenirs can be found here, as well.

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  • Eagle Interpretation at Foote Pond Overlook

    These panels at Foote Pond Overlook highlight the Bald Eagle, its history along the river, identification tips, and how the National Forest protects this magnificent bird.

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  • Radio Station Sign

    Signs such as this one can be found at each entrance to the River Road Scenic Byway and let travelers know to tune their radios to 1610 for up-to-date information about Byway activities, recreation, and where to go for more information.

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  • Bottle Gentian Along the Au Sable River

    A lovely example of Bottle Gentian grows along the Au Sable River.

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  • Spring Birding at Iargo Springs

    A byway enthusiast watches for birds at Iargo Springs.

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  • The Boardwalk at Iargo Springs

    Several hundred feet of elevated boardwalk meander through the Iargo Springs Interpretive Site and lead to small platforms overlooking the river. Large pines, maple, hemlock, and cedar give the impression of walking through an ancient forest.

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  • Iargo Springs Stairway

    This stairway at Iargo Springs is 304 steps down to the spring area. Large white and red pine, hemlock, and maple line the staircase, providing shade on hot summer days.

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  • Horseshoe Island Seen from Lumberman's Monument,

    Horseshoe Island nestles in blue waters against an autumn backdrop.

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  • Tailwater Fishing Area below Cooke Dam

    The waters of the Cooke Dam lap up against the artificial shores.

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  • Lumberman's Monument

    Lumberman's Monument is a 14 foot bronze and granite statue that pays tribute to the early lumbermen who played a significant role in the development of Michigan.

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  • Canoe Portage Sign on top of Cooke Dam

    A sign on top of Cooke Dam signals to canoers that there is a place to dock here.

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  • View of Au Sable River from Westgate Welcome Center

    This view of Loud Pond and the Au Sable River is from the small observation deck at Westgate Welcome Center. The observation deck is tucked among large pines, allowing an eagle's eye view of the water below.

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  • River Road OHV Trailhead

    Large information boards provide route maps, rules and regulations, and information for riders at the River Road off-highway vehicle (OHV) trailhead.

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  • Wanigan at Lumberman's Monument

    A wanigan, the floating cook shacks that followed the river drivers as they floated logs to the sawmills, sits at the bottom of the 300 step stairway at Lumberman's Monument Visitor Center.

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  • Eagle Run Trail in Winter

    A bench alongside the Eagle Run Trail waits for skiers in need of a rest.

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  • The Au Sable River Adorned in Fall Foliage

    The rhythmic current of the Au Sable River flows past thickly clustered trees that have become red and gold in fall's cool air.

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  • Wintery View from the Highbanks Trail

    A Corsair Trail volunteer enjoys the view from the Highbanks Trail during a pause in her cross country ski run.

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  • Cross Country Skier on the Highbanks Trail

    A skier pauses during a cross country skiing run on the Highbanks Trail.

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  • Moonlight Ski Party on the Corsair Trail System

    A group of skiers enjoys a midnight bonfire on the Corsair Trail System.

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  • Busy Day at the Wright Lake Trailhead

    Skiers gather at the Wright Lake Trailhead for a day of cross country skiing on the Corsair Trail System.

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  • Corsair Trail at Sunset

    A freshly groomed trail on the Corsair Trail System glitters in the sunset.

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