Driving the Tunnel of Trees – What You Need to Know

One of the “must” do things to do in Michigan in the fall is to see the famed Tunnel of Trees. This is a drive that essentially spans between Harbor Springs and Cross Village in the Northwest corner of the state The official road name is M-119. While this road is beautiful year-round, fall truly is the most visited time of year for this stretch of road which runs along Lake Michigan. As the leaves change colors, the trees lining the road with the backdrop of water to the west provide incredible views. Additionally, there are many homes and cottages, ranging from quaint to large log cabins and newly built luxury homes that add to the scenery.


If you are driving the road from south to north, as typically most tourists do, as you get outside of Harbor Springs, you will start to see a distinct pattern of trees overhanging the road. Additionally, the road gets very windy with several sharp turns. Some things to remember:

Typical speed limits posted are between 35 and 45, but slow down. First, you are likely trying to take in the scenery, but be sure that the driver is also paying attention!

Don’t follow the cars in front of you too closely. As turns are sharp, drivers can slow quickly. Also, drivers in front of you are also stealing glances at the water, trees and beautiful homes. Additionally, there are many deer and turkeys in the area, so be prepared to possibly abruptly stop. And as always for the driver, phones should be put away!

Aaron Burden aaronburden, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons


Both Harbor Springs and Petoskey offer a large selection of dining options, from casual to high end. Petoskey offers fine dining downtown at resturants such as Pour and Chandler’s, down to more casual breweries like Beards and the Petoskey Brewing Company. Harbor Springs is a niche, higher class report town with offerings such as The New York Resturant and Stafford’s Pier. A very popular spot is to go to Legg’s Inn in Cross Village at the “top” of the Tunnel of Trees. This is a historic, stone eatery and bar with authentic Polish food and outdoor seating with high waterfront views.


If you are looking to book a room in the fall, book early, especially on weekends. Petoskey has a wide range of place to stay, from chains such as the Hampton Inn to either of the older, elegant Stafford properties of the Perry Inn or the Bayview Inn or the Inn at Bay Harbor, which overlooks Bay Harbor. Habor Springs offers the boutique hotel Colonial Inn. All through the area, there are numerous Air BnB and VRBO opportunities as well.