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Scenic Byways and Roads

Michigan has approximately 1,500 miles of roads that have received national, state, or county scenic designations. Among numerous other benefits, these special roads provide stunning views of the Great Lakes, access to many of our state’s most beautiful  parks, and even the ability to travel through time when we visit points of historical significance.  As such, we believe these corridors deserve considerable attention,  thoughtful planning,  and viewshed protection where warranted.

In 2017, Scenic Michigan started our review of scenic byways by conducting what we believe to be the first inventory of all roadways that have received scenic designation in the state.  We hope the map below (click on the full screen for more navigation options)  may help you as you think about exploring  a new corner of our incredible state. And, if you live near one of these corridors, we welcome your help in preserving and protecting the special attributes and enhancing the less than scenic components. 

The world of scenic byways preservation is constantly evolving. In 2022, the federal government announced their first round of funding for the National Scenic Byways Program since 2012. This includes $16 million for the designation of new byways nationwide! The remainder of the Federal Highway Administration’s resources regarding the National Scenic Byways Program can be found here.

The State of Michigan also has a program for designating byways as “Pure Michigan Byways” through the Michigan Department of Transportation. On this page your community can even apply for this designation if your byway meets the following criteria for MDOT to review:

  1. Verify the route is on a state trunkline (I, M or U.S. route).
  2. Be prepared to show evidence of support from local units of government along the proposed byway.
  3. Prepare the pre-application form listing at least one or more of the following intrinsic qualities of the route: scenic, historic, recreational, cultural, archaeological, or natural.

If your community, or you personally, wish to designate a byway in Michigan don’t hesitate to reach out to Scenic Michigan for assistance!

If you want to learn more about Scenic Michigan’s original scenic byways report it can be found here:  2017 Scenic Road Inventory Report

There is also plenty of resources available at the state and federal levels, and from our partner organizations (the first link is great for travelers!):

We’ve collected numerous corridor planning documents, federal and state guidance documents, and other resources about Byways and Michigan Scenic Byways.  These resources are available in this Google Folder.  Please share any resources you may have with us. And, if you have any challenges accessing the resources in this folder, please contact us. 

We would love to get you involved as one of our scenic ambassadors.

Michigan Scenic Roadways

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News and Updates

Scenic Michigan Releases 2nd Edition of Michigan Sign Guidebook and Offers May Trainings

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