“Color Tour Along US-23”
Episode #1516 Travel planner
When the colors change there is no better place to experience the autumn beauty than a trip on the water and down the shore. Today you will be entertained with the eye candy of changing seasons in the Tawas Bay area on Michigan’s Sunrise Coast.
Tawas Bay Area
Welcome to Natures’ Best! Beautiful scenery abounds in every corner of the Tawas Bay area, from the shoreline of Lake Huron to the storied Au Sable River. The area provides a hundred reasons to have one great vacation for the entire family. The Tawas Bay area is a people-friendly area that still has that wonderful “Up-North/Small Town” appeal.
When we left Tawas, we took the most scenic drive to our destination, Monument Road. This drive will start your color tour winding through the autumn beauty of the Huron-Manistee National Forest and avoiding the traffic of US-23. Quicker, more colorful, easy to get to and less traffic. Perfect!
Location: 5401 Monument Road - Oscoda, MI (44.43592, -83.62381)
Hours: Grounds open year-round. Visitor Center open May to October daily, including weekends, from 10am to 5pm.
Contact: Lumberman's Monument Visitor Center (989) 362-8961
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. Enjoy a Kid’s Day program or take a guided nature hike.
- Lumberman's Monument Visitor Center [Huron National Forest]
- Lumberman's Monument Visitor Center - Info [USDA Forest Service 61kb]
- Lumberman's Monument Map [ 75kb]
- Lumberman's Monument - Auto Tour [Michigan DNR 70kb]
- River Road National Scenic Byway [USDA Forest Service 9.87mb]
- Monument Campground [Huron National Forest]
- Highbanks River Trail [Huron National Forest]
Cooke Damn Pond
Location: AuSable River between Five Channels Dam and Cooke Dam
Phone: (989) 739-0728 Huron Shores Ranger Station
The Au Sable is known for its high water quality, scenery, recreational opportunities, cold-water fishery, and historic and cultural significance. It may just be the finest brown trout fly-fishing east of the Rockies. If that were not enough reason to visit the river, the Au Sable is also one of the best canoeing rivers in the Midwest. This section of the AuSable River provides motorboat opportunities with a lake fishing atmosphere. Its flow of water still serves as an important link in the production of the state's electrical power supply.
Historic points of interest in the Cooke Pond area include the Wanigan and the Rollways. Wanigan is a borrowing of Ojibwa waanikaan, or "storage pit. It denoted a boat containing small supplies for a lumber camp, or the camp provisions in general. The Wanigan that was used on the AuSable was mainly used for cooking and feeding the workers. The Rollways are the areas that the Lumberman cleared from the top of the hill down to the water to roll their logs down to the river so they can be gathered a lot easier than hauling them through the wood.
Foote Pond (Eagle's Nest Overlook)
Foote Dam Pond Overlook: 44.45131, -83.51624 (also called Eagle's Nest Overlook)
Hours: Open year round
Contact: Huron Shores Ranger Station (989) 739-0728
The Eagle's Nest Overlook is one of the most famous overlooks on the Huron National Forest. The Nest is just west of the visitor center and has been used by a pair of bald eagles since about 1985. Rare is the fall day that you do not see eagles soaring over Cooke Pond. The view into the nest is better if you remember to bring binoculars of at least six power. Accessible parking is available. The path to the observation area is paved and over 36' wide. The observation deck is paved.
- Foote Pond Overlook [Huron National Forest]
Canoeing The AuSable River
ALCONA CANOE RENTAL
Location: 6351 Bamfield Road - Glennie, MI
Phone: (989) 735-2973
Paddlers enjoy the calm, but swift paddling of the river and the lake-like atmosphere below the impoundments. Canoeing the AuSable River is a family tradition that you and your kids will always remember. Older teenagers, college students and adults enjoy heading down the AuSable in any combination of inner tubes, canoes and kayaks.