Au Sable Scenic River Highbanks Overlook

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Au Sable National Scenic River

This observation area is located in Alcona County, 100 feet above the beautiful Au Sable National Scenic River. After traversing down a short, level, gravel path, visitors will enjoy a view of the river and surrounding forest. More adventurous visitors, or fisherman, can walk down to the river using the staircase. Be it spring, summer or fall, bird-watching is an excellent activity for this area, with visitors spotting many varieties of waterfowl, along with King Fishers.

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

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Annual services at the site will resume for spring on April 15.
Operational Hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week unless otherwise posted.
Rentals & Guides: Canoe Rentals -
  • Glennie:
    • Alcona Canoe Rental
  • Hale:
    • Rollways Resort
  • Mio:
    • Gotts Landing
    • Hinchman's Acres Resort
  • Oscoda:
    • Au Sable River Kayaking Company LLC; B & B LLC (Hunts)
    • Oscoda Canoe Rental
Area Amenities: Parking
Fees No Fee
Permit Info: Special Use Permit -
  • No special use permit is required for individuals or small groups (74 people or less).
  • Permits are required for commercial, event or large groups (75 people or more).
Visit the Passes and Permits section for more information on obtaining a special use permit.
Open Season: April 15 - November 30
Usage: Light
Busiest Season: May - September
Restrictions: As a visitor to the National Forest, you are asked to follow certain rules designed to protect the Forest, natural resources and to provide for public safety of visitors. These rules are available to you on-line or at any office of the Huron-Manistee National Forests. Please take time to read and understand them. General Topic orders apply across the Forests. Applicable Orders -
  • Au Sable National Scenic River Corridor; R904-14-18
  • Motorized Vehicle Use of Roads, Trails and Off-road Areas; R904-14-02
  • Occupancy and Use; R904-14-03
Highlights - Camping is prohibited, except at designated campgrounds or campsites.
Closest Towns: McKinley, Glennie
Water: None
Restroom: None
Operated By: Mio Ranger District - (989) 826-3252
Information Center:

General Information

General Notes:

Location - Au Sable National Scenic River

Nearby Recreation Area -

  • Au Sable Loop Campground

County - Alcona

  • This site is not gated during the off season. 
  • This site is not maintained in winter:
    • Access road and/or parking lot are not plowed.


From Grayling -

  • 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./Curtisville Rd. for 16.5 miles.
  • Turn left and travel on Au Sable Rd. for .5 miles.
  • Turn left and travel on FR 3993 for .25 miles to parking lot.

  • Parking area is gravel.
  • Path is narrow and packed earth.
  • Observation area is grassy/lawn.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Nature Viewing

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Parking 6 vehicle capacity