Special Places

Highlighted Areas

Au Sable National Scenic River

Au Sable National Scenic River

The Au Sable National Scenic River, is a 23-mile portion of the Au Sable River that stretches from Mio to Alcona Pond. President Ronald Reagan signed the law establishing the segment of river as a National Scenic River on October 4, 1984.  By receiving this designation, this free-flowing segment from below Mio Pond to the upper end of Alcona Pond received national recognition for its outstanding and remarkable scenic, recreational, biological and historical values and a national commitment to its protection.  People have enjoyed the scenic beauty of the Au Sable for hundreds of years.

In pre-European settlement times, Native Americans used the river as a travel route.  After European settlement of the area, the Au Sable River was a major throughway for floating white pine to sawmills or waiting barges at ports on Lake Huron. During those years many of the logs and fallen trees that littered the river were carried downstream with the harvested white pine. In recent years efforts have been made to replace logs in the river to help reduce erosion and maintain the world-class trout fishing river as an aquatic habitat.

Brochure with map:  This brochure is set to print on 11 x 17 paper, landscape (wide) orientation.  To print on 8 1/2 x 11 paper set the print area to "shrink to printable area", this will make the text on the page smaller.

Flickr Photo Album

Kirtland's Warbler and Jack Pine Wildlife Tours

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.

  • Tour Map: Jack Pine Wildlife Viewing Tour (pdf)
  • Story Map: Jack Pine Wildlife Viewing (html)


Guided Kirtland's Warbler Tours

Unfortunately, the Mio Ranger District will not be offering guided Kirtland's warbler tours in 2021. 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 MioKWTours@fs.fed.us.

Tours will be offered by the Michigan Audubon in northeast Michigan.

Tours out of Hartwick Pines State Park will be held at 7 a.m. on Fridays and 7 and 11 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays from May 28 through June 27. Tours are limited to 20 people and pre-registration is required. More information can be found at michiganaudubon.org/kirtlands-warbler-tours/

The AuSable Valley Audubon will not be offering tours this year.


Find Out More

Learn more about the Kirtland's Warbler. 

North Country National Scenic Trail

North Country National Scenic Trail

Did you know that the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCNST) passes through three National Parks, eight National Forests, and one National Grassland?

The North Country National Scenic Trail is being constructed across federal, state, county and private land.  Upon completion the trail will extend from Crown Point, New York to Lake Sakakawea, North Dakota.  It will be the longest, continuous hiking trail in the United States.

The 128.8-mile portion of the NCNST that goes through the Manistee portion of the National forests has 15 spur trails to other forest hiking and interpretive trails.

The NCNST is marked with blue rectangle-shaped blazes.  Connector trails are marked with white rectangle blazes on trees.  For information on the NCNST visit the National Park Service www.nps.gov/noco/index.htm.


Brochure with map:

This brochure is set to print on 11 x 17 paper, landscape (wide) orientation.  To print on 8 1/2 x 11 paper set the print area to "shrink to printable area", this will make the text on the page smaller.


Flickr Photo Albums

River Road National Scenic Byway

River Road National Scenic BywayThe twenty-two mile River Road National Scenic Byway extends westward from Lake Huron into the Huron National Forest. It parallels the historic Riviere aux Sable (River of Sand). The Au Sable River was a major transportation route for floating Michigan’s giant white pine from forest to the sawmill towns on Lake Huron. You can learn more about this lumbering history at Lumbermen’s Monument Visitor Center that sits at the center of the byway.

Byway travelers will find abundant recreation opportunities, from motorized trails for off-road vehicles and snowmobiles to quiet trails for hiking and cross-country skiing. Camping, fishing and boating facilities are accessible from the byway. For a more relaxed experience, visitors will enjoy the lush forest and breathtaking vistas from the many scenic overlooks along the route. Visit www.byways.org for more information.

For information on Lumberman's Monument, Monument Campground or the Visitor Center visit the Lumberman's Monument section of the website.

Brochure with map:

  • River Road National Scenic Byway (pdf) - this brochure shows River Road, the Au Sable River and Lumberman's Monument
  • Highbanks River Trail Map (coming soon)
  • Eagle Run Trail Map (coming soon)

The brochure is set to print on 11 x 17 paper, landscape (wide) orientation.  To print on 8 1/2 x 11 paper set the print area to "shrink to printable area", this will make the text on the page smaller. The trail maps are set to printon 8.5x11 paper.

Flickr Photo Albums:

Loda Lake National Wildflower Sanctuary

Loda Lake - Wildflowers

Loda Lake is an area that includes a small spring-fed lake, a bog-like wetland area, a creek and riparian marshy areas, oak forest, pine plantations, and an early successional old farm site.  Botanist Clayton Bazuin noted, “Loda Lake is ideally suited as a wildflower sanctuary and although near one of Michigan’s busy highways, can still be a natural reservoir of wild plants. This is due to the large number of ecological associations it affords in which they may survive".

Loda Lake is the only Wildflower sanctuary in the National Forest System, a project supported both financially and botanically by the Federated Garden Clubs of Michigan for over seventy years.

Brochure  This brochure is set to print on 8 1/2 x 11 paper, landscape (wide) orientation.

Map This map is set to print on 8 1/2 x 11 paper, landscape.

Flickr Albums -