Six Autumn Experiences for a Fall Getaway in the Oscoda Area

This summer has been a memorable one, but we can’t wait for fall! Whether you want to enjoy the changing leaves or learn about unique Michigan history, the Oscoda area offers an unforgettable experience. Read more on just six of the many things to check out when visiting Oscoda, via The Oscoda Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The chance to experience Michigan’s beauty doesn’t end once fall brings about seasonal changes.

Photo Courtesy of The Oscoda Convention and Visitors Bureau

Photo Courtesy of The Oscoda Convention and Visitors Bureau

The lush greens of spring and summer turn to hues of orange, yellow and brown. Sandals, shorts and T-shirts are replaced by walking shoes, jackets and long pants to more comfortably explore Michigan’s natural beauty.

One perfect Michigan destination for day trippers and weekend explorers is the Oscoda area. Located on the east side of the state and on the south side of the Au Sable River in Iosco County, the Oscoda area features some of the state’s signature sites and experiences.

Here are some sites and experiences the Oscoda area offers for you next Pure Michigan adventure:

  • The 22-mile River Road National Scenic Byway is a great way to take in all the color Northeast Michigan has to offer. It stretches westward from Lake Huron into the Huron-Manistee National Forests. While visiting, don’t forget to drop by the 14-foot bronze Lumberman’s Monument statue and its accompanying visitor’s center. Travelers will also find numerous recreation opportunities, from motorized trails for off-road vehicles to quiet hiking trails.
  • The Iargo Springs Interpretive Site, also located on the River Road Scenic Byway, offers a breathtaking view of the Au Sable River Valley from its observation deck that is 300 feet above the river. The adventurous can also walk down a flight of 294 steps to experience where the underground springs come together and form cold water streams.
Photo Courtesy of The Oscoda Convention and Visitors Bureau

Photo Courtesy of The Oscoda Convention and Visitors Bureau

  • There are more than 3,500 acres of Michigan hiking trails in and around the Oscoda area. Visitors can head out on the Reid Lake Trail and see natural sites like a beaver pond, marshes and bogs, as well as an abundance of birds and wildlife. The Highbanks Trail is a 7-mile trail that gives hikers and backpackers a great view of the Au Sable River. The Highbanks Trail is also where you’ll see the MCRA Canoer’s Memorial Monument, which was erected in memory of canoe racers who have died.
Photo Courtesy of George Falkenhagen of Oscoda

Photo Courtesy of George Falkenhagen of Oscoda

  • The Au Sable and Oscoda Historical Society and Museum is where you’ll find Native American artifacts, as well as information about the region’s history concerning commercial fishing, ship wrecks and the railroad industry. The museum also has information about the Au Sable River, its dams and the notorious fire of 1911 that caused mass destruction to the community.
  • The Au Sable River Queen is the only paddle-wheel boat that runs from summer into fall, allowing passengers to take in the autumn colors from its decks. Passengers can enjoy a two-hour round trip on the Au Sable River, but should dress warm for those fall evenings and call in advance to reserve a spot.
  • Paul Bunyan Days will be held September 23-25 in downtown Oscoda. Come on out and bring the whole family for a day of fun, including carnival rides, craft vendors, a classic car show, a pie eating contest, kids activities and a hospitality tent with live music Friday night and Saturday night from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. There is a $5.00 admission fee, but children 16 and under can enter for free. Gates open Friday from 4 p.m.-10 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Call 989-739-0900 for more information.

For more information about the Oscoda area and the attractions you’ll find there, go to

What do you plan to do in the Oscoda area this fall?

Scenic Byway Diversions

Follow the gentle curves of the Au Sable River through forests along the River Road National Scenic Byway. The 22-mile drive from Oscoda is lovely, but make sure to get out of your car to really experience it. There are plenty of sightseeing options: pullover for a picnic, hike along the river with views of Huron-Manistee National Forest, fish the rushing waters. Grab your binoculars and camera and come along as the editors of Michigan Travel Ideas® share some of their favorite stops.

Lower Au Sable Scenic Overlook (less than 5 miles west of Oscoda): A wide wooden staircase adjacent to the parking lot leads anglers and those who want a close look at the river waterside. Fish for steelhead here or trout above the dam. But know that this section of the river can be dangerous, so even when it looks calm, wading is not advised.

Foote Pond Scenic Overlook (5 miles west of Oscoda): A sand dune cascades below a stone overlook less than 100 yards from the parking lot. Enjoy a picnic lunch while perched on the ledge soaking in panoramic views of the river and bald eagles reeling overhead.

Au Sable River Queen (6 miles west of Oscoda): The red, white and blue paddleboat makes daily two-hour trips on the river late May through early September. It’s especially popular for seeing fall color. Not far from the dock, children love to play in the nearby sandy beach; picnic tables are perfect for relaxing and spotting wildlife.

Lumberman’s Monument Historic Site (15 miles west of Oscoda): The star of the site may be the 14-foot-tall bronze monument of three lumbermen, but there’s much more to see—and do. Allow at least one hour, a half-hour more if you plan to hike the Forest Discovery Interpretive Trail. The Sand Dune Trail, an easy 10-minute walk, leads to incredible views of the river. For a closer look of the river, descend 272 steps to Cooke Dam Pond. The reward? A peek at a replica wanigan: A floating cook shack that supported men working on the river.

Iargo Springs Interpretive Site (18 miles west of Oscoda): Get inspired by panoramic vistas from the 200-foot high overlook, then brave a long staircase down to a system of boardwalks winding through forest and past gurgling springs that flow into the river. Benches make the trek back up to the overlook manageable. Once there, hikers can access the Highbanks Trail and the two points of interest along its 6-plus miles: Canoer’s Memorial (1.75 miles) and Lumberman’s Monument (3.5 miles).