Experience Michigan from Great Heights

From iconic lighthouses to oft-photographed bridges, Michigan’s highest points deliver beautiful points of view.

A couple looking over the side of a walkable suspension bridge.
SkyBridge Michigan at Boyne Mountain Resort | Photo Courtesy of Pure Michigan

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With more than 3,200 miles of freshwater shoreline and nearly 130 lighthouses lining its shores, visiting Michigan’s lighthouses is a local tradition.

Snap photographs of the black-and-white Big Sable Point Lighthouse that watches over Lake Michigan. Standing more than 100 feet high in Ludington State Park, this landmark is among the tallest in the state. Get in a full workout as you hike 1.8 miles from the parking lot and climb 130 steps to catch sprawling lake views from the top of the tower. Or keep it easy in the original keeper’s quarters where you can browse the quaint gift shop.

Fort Gratiot Lighthouse
Fort Gratiot Lighthouse | Photo Courtesy of Pure Michigan

Overlooking Lake Huron, Fort Gratiot Lighthouse is the oldest surviving lighthouse in Michigan and the second oldest in the Great Lakes. Built in 1829 to replace a tower destroyed by a storm, this 86-foot-tall lighthouse gleams white and is backed by the red keeper’s house. Climb up a flight of 94 iron stairs to reach the top of the lighthouse for sweeping views.

Explore more noteworthy lighthouses that proudly protect the miles of freshwater shorelines throughout Michigan.


Known fondly as the Big Mac or the Mighty Mac, the graceful Mackinac Bridge is one of Michigan’s great treasures. Stretching between the Upper and Lower Peninsulas, the 5-mile-long suspension bridge is the fifth-longest in the world. It’s a true engineering feat, designed to withstand high winds and other extreme conditions over the Straits of Mackinac. Insider tip: Join throngs of locals on Labor Day morning for the annual Bridge Walk, crossing from St. Ignace to Mackinaw City.

Mackinac Bridge
Mackinac Bridge | Photo Courtesy of Pure Michigan

The only bridge of its kind in Michigan, the Portage Lake Lift Bridge connects Hancock and Houghton across Portage Lake on the Keweenaw Peninsula. The double-deck, vertical-lift bridge spans 1,310 feet, and when it was built in 1959 it was designed for vehicles on the upper deck and trains on the lower deck. These days, the bridge no longer accommodates trains, but in winter it lowers so that snowmobiles and skiers can pass through.

Though not exactly high in the sky, the last of Michigan’s covered bridges offer a nostalgic look into the past. Soak up the charm of these 19th-century structures that were once scattered around the state crossing streams, rivers and creeks.

The Fallasburg Covered Bridge spans 100 feet and is one of the few in the state that is open to vehicle traffic, and a nearby one-room schoolhouse and museum give a snapshot of life in the olden days. Crossing 282 feet over the St. Joseph River in West Michigan, the Langley Covered Bridge is the longest of its kind in the state and one of the longest in the country.

Take a walk among the treetops at SkyBridge Michigan, the world’s longest timber-towered suspension bridge. You’ll begin your adventure on the Hemlock Scenic Chairlift to the top of Boyne Mountain and reach the 1,200-foot-long bridge that connects the peaks of McLouth and Disciples Ridge. At 118 feet high, this perspective delivers beautiful views of the valley below and curated light displays.


Mount Arvon and Mount Curwood are not officially mountains by geologist standards (1,979 feet and 1,978 feet above sea level, respectively). But they are the two highest points in Michigan and worthy of a climb. Hike to the summits amid quiet wooded trails to join the legions of people who have ventured to reach Michigan’s highest elevations.

Group of friends at the peak of Sugarloaf Mountain in the fall
Sugarloaf Mountain | Photo Courtesy of Pure Michigan

For a less challenging and quicker hike (which includes stairs in steep areas), trek up Sugarloaf Mountain just outside Marquette. When you reach the top, take in the spectacular 360° views around you from a spacious viewing deck. In one direction you can watch the sunset over the rolling, forested landscape of the Upper Peninsula. In the other, take in the calming views of the seemingly endless Lake Superior.

At any elevation, experience Michigan from different points of view, and your best souvenirs will be frame-worthy photographs and a heart full of memories.