This beautiful, 22 mile long road along the AuSable River is a short 15 minute drive from my house. You can pick it up in downtown Oscoda at US-23 and take it West until it merges with M-65 and ends near Rollaway Road. M-65 continues past that point but the official “scenic byway” ends there. There are many places to stop and admire the scenic vistas, have a picnic lunch, go for a hike, camp, check out the dams located long the river or even go on a riverboat cruise. There are black bear, deer, fox, porcupines and a variety of other wildlife to try to spot. *It can be hard to get cell phone reception so keep that in mind when you visit. It helps to take screen shots of anything off your phone you may need before you go.
Use this link for further information about the history of the route, upcoming events and a map: River Road Scenic Byway
I have visited in every season and I love them all. The following are my own personal favorite stops:
Foote Pond Overlook provides a spectacular
view from the high sand bluffs overlooking Foote
Pond. Visitors may see eagles that nest nearby.
The overlook has a paved access road and
parking and barrier-free access to a wood deck.
The access road and parking lot are too tight for
buses or motor homes to negotiate.
Lumberman’s Monument Visitor Center interprets the area’s colorful lumbering past. The 14-foot Lumberman’s Monument stands on a high bank with the Au Sable River providing a scenic backdrop.
Learn about the industry that helped develop northern Michigan and the men who cut the timber that helped build a nation. Climb through a log jam, use a peavey, cut a wooden cookie with a cross-cut saw, and learn about the life of a lumberjack through video and displays. Hike the stairway down to the wanigan, a loggers floating kitchen, or take the short trail to the dune observation deck.
Picnic tables, bathrooms, visitor information, vending machine and small gift shop are available.
Canoer’s Memorial was erected to honor canoers who have participated in the Au Sable River Canoe Race held each year. The Au Sable River Canoe Marathon was the idea of two men, Harold Brubaker and Frank Davis. They conceived the idea in 1947 as an aid to tourism. The first race took place in Sept. of 1947 in canoes made of wood and canvas. There were 46 teams entered, 15 teams finishing the race. Allen Carr and Delbert Case of Grayling finished first with a time of 21 hours and 40 minutes.
There is a spectacular panoramic view of Cooke Dam Pond.
For more on the annual race click here: Canoe Marathon
Iargo Springs offers a breathtaking view of the AuSable River Valley from a observation deck 300 feet above the river. For the adventurous, walk down 294 steps and enter a mystical place where springs come together and form cold water streams. Walk along the elevated boardwalk and enjoy the serenity. There is an observation deck, displays and at the top for those who do not wish to do the stairs. There are also picnic tables and restrooms.
So pick a nice day, pack your camera, a lunch and some comfortable shoes and find your own personal favorite spots along this beautiful route!