Kirtland's Warbler and Jack Pine Wildlife Tours

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Kirtlands Warbler

Self-Guided Jack Pine Wildlife Viewing Tour

The Jack Pine Wildlife Viewing Tour is a self-guided, 58-mile auto-tour through jack pine ecosystems that are home to a variety of wildlife, including the endangered Kirtland's warbler. The tour is marked with signs that display an image of the Kirtland's warbler and the watchable wildlife symbol.  Along the route are also opportunities to stop at one of the many recreation sites available to access the Au Sable River.

Along the route there are many examples of wildlife habitat. Interpretive signs discuss specific management methods at the five stops. Occupied Kirtland's warbler habitat is closed to public entry during nesting seasons to protect the birds.  Closed areas will be posted with signs.

Maps are available at the Mio Ranger Station.

Guided Kirtland's Warbler Tours

Unfortunately, the Mio Ranger District will not be offering guided Kirtland's warbler tours in 2020.  An alternative opportunity is the self-guided Jack Pine Wildlife Viewing Tour.  Kirtland's warbler breeding areas are closed to entry during the breeding season because this ground-nesting bird is sensitive to disturbance.  However, forest visitors are welcome to bird for Kirtland's warblers from roadsides.  If further assistance is needed locating breeding areas, the Mio Ranger District office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 to 4:30, or emails can be sent to

Tours will be offered by several partners in northeast Michigan.  Michigan Audubon is offering daily tours at Hartwick Pines State Park in Grayling from May 23 through June 30 at 7 am with an additional 11 am tour on Saturdays and Sundays.  More information can be found at

AuSable Valley Audubon is offering tours through the Tawas Point State Park Migration Event (May 15 -16) and at the Camp Inn Lodge in Oscoda on May 17 and 18 at 7:00 am and Saturdays at 7:00 am from May 30 to June 27.  Details can be found at

Tours will also be available at the Kirtland's Warbler Festival in Roscommon on June 6.  Follow the Festival on Facebook for updates.

At a Glance

Area Amenities: Parking
Fees No Fee
Permit Info: Special Use Permit -
  • No special use permit is required for individuals or small groups.  However, larger groups are encouraged to speak with the Mio Ranger District to schedule a guided tour.
Usage: Light
Best Season: May 15 - July 10
Restrictions: Forest-wide Closures - Kirtland's Warbler Habitat -
  • Kirtland's Warbler habitat is closed to public entry during the nesting season. Contact the Mio Ranger District prior to taking the self-guided tour for more information. 
Au Sable River Corridor - Camping -
  • Camping is prohibited in the AuSable National Scenic River Corridor on the Huron-Manistee National Forests, except at designated campgrounds or campsites.
  • Using a designated campsite or other area described in the order by more than 10 persons at one time is prohibited.
Closest Towns: Mio, McKinley, Glennie, Curtisville
Operated By: Mio Ranger District - (989) 826-3252
Information Center:

General Information

General Notes:

Location -  Kirtland's Warbler Habitat

Nearby Recreation Areas -  

  • Au Sable River    

County -  Oscoda, Alcona

Seasonal and Other Information -

  • These sites are not gated during the off season.
  • These sites are not maintained in the off season:
    • Access roads and/or parking lots are not plowed.


From Grayling -

Clear-cut -

  • Travel east on M-72 for 30 miles. 
  • Turn left and travel north on M-72/M-33 for .5 miles. 
  • Turn right and travel east on McKinley Dr./F-32 for 7 miles.
  • Turn ____ and travel ____ on Old State Rd./F-32 for 7 miles.
  • The site is located on the right.

Ecosystem Management Area -

  • Travel east on M-72 for 30 miles. 
  • Turn right and travel south on M-33 for 6 miles. 
  • Turn left and travel east on County Rd. 604/Curtisville Rd. for 16.5 miles. 
  • Turn left and travel south on Au Sable Rd. for 1 mile.
  • The site is located on the right.

Mack Lake Burn -

  • Travel east on M-72 for 30 miles.
  • Turn right and travel south on M-33 for 6 miles.
  • Turn left and travel east on County Rd. 604 for 4 miles.
  • Turn left and travel north on FR 4460 for 1 mile.
  • Turn left and travel west on County Rd. 489 for 1 mile.

Snags -

  • Travel east on M-72 for 30 miles. 
  • Turn right and travel south on M-72 for 6 miles.
  • Turn left and travel east on County rd. 604 for 6 miles.
  • The site is located on the left.


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



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Parking 3 vehicle capacity - at each site