The southern entrance to the Tunnel of Trees Road (Route 119) is about 35 miles southwest of the very popular tourist stop of Mackinac Island, which is located in the Straits of Mackinac - the juncture of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. "The Straits" is the waterway which separates Michigan's Lower and Upper Peninsula. The starting point for this route is at the town of Harbor Springs, MI. From Harbor Springs simply follow Route 119 north along the Lake Michigan shore and all the way up to Cross Village.
This road hugs the eastern shoreline of Lake Michigan through a dense forest. On one side you get glimpses of old summer cabin homes tucked back in the forest and on the other side you get brief glimpses of the Lake Michigan shoreline. This is a very narrow and twisty road that runs through the dense forest of trees and is literally one of those roads that you always see photos in travel magazines that make you crave to drive down. You look ahead of you down the narrow tunnel of trees road and cannot help but wonder what will be around the next curve. If you are on 18 wheels it would be a nightmare, if you are pulling a camper it would be a hassle, if you are driving 4 wheels it would be wonderful. But, if you are driving 2 wheels, it is the road that you always kind of dream of finding.
Additional Scenery description from May 18, 2011: Beautiful ride along the Northern Michigan coastline. Becomes an ideal fall ride during the color change - an absolute must for any enthusiast!!! You can start this route as far south as Petoskey. But as you ride North around the harbor you go through the town of Harbor Springs and head up the coast and this is where things really get good. A very scenic tour of the Northern Michigan coastline and a very serene ride. Best time of year is during the fall color change - September is prime riding time! Plenty of places to stop for pictures or soak in the view.
The road is paved all the way but it is very narrow and has a number of very tight twist-backs. The speed limit varies from 15-30 mph and we spent about 90 minutes to complete the 22 miles, due to the number of sightseeing stops. We drove the road in the last week of September and we were literally all by ourselves on the road, meeting about 4 other vehicles on the entire route. About halfway through, the dense forest opened up on the east side and a large meadow area was literally full of deer out grazing in the deep grass.
A must stop for either lunch/supper or a drink is at the ***Legs Inn in Cross Village. This is an old rustic cabin-style restaurant made of field stone, drift wood and old large logs and lit with warm amber lighting inside that just makes you feel good the moment you walk through the front door. Legs Inn serves a variety of items but they specialize in Polish ethnic foods and I will tell you that they are absolutely fantastic. We stopped for supper at about 6:00pm and when we finished we walked through their garden backyard overlooking Lake Michigan and watched the beautiful sunset over the lake.
Dec 2013 Update: Amy with the Good Hart General Store graciously provided MotorcycleRoads.com with a link to a very nice official Tunnel of Trees Commemorative Map that was a cooperative effort between all the businesses along the road.