When you ask Michigan bikers where the best place is to ride motorcycles in their state, their answer is quick — the Upper Peninsula. 


Why the Upper Peninsula is Michigan’s premier motorcycling destination

There are lots of reasons motorcyclists put the U.P. at the top of their Michigan cycling destinations. They explain the Upper Peninsula has the best-maintained major roads. Their favorite U.P. routes offer the best scenery with plenty of pull-offs to drink in the stunning lakeshore, mountain and wilderness vistas. Routes in the U.P. are best for leaning into curves and feeling the rush of open throttles on straightaways. They will suggest parking your bike and walking to any of the hundreds of waterfalls, dozens of lighthouses and your choice of sandy or colorful agate-strewn beaches. Take time to visit historical places steeped in stories about world-changing events and the men and women with nerves of iron that made them happen. Or stop to encounter the U.P.’s ingenious engineering marvels, exciting outdoor adventures or recreation you love.

From Ironwood to Drummond Island, you will find biker-friendly lodgings and welcoming places to enjoy a delicious meal, cold draft, favorite beverages and sweets. Best of all, the U.P. is one of the most peaceful places you will ever ride.

Ride these top-pick U.P. motorcycle routes 


Cruise Tahquamenon Falls State Park to see Michigan’s largest waterfall 

One of the most thrilling ways to get to Tahquamenon Falls State Park is to cross the Mackinac Bridge and go north from St. Ignace to Paradise. Visiting the Upper Falls is a must. It’s 200 feet wide and has a 50-foot drop you can hear roaring long before you see the 50,000 gallons/second of root-beer-colored water tumbling to the swirling river below. 

Seeing the Lower Falls is well worth staying longer. The five, smaller cascading falls are reachable by a footbridge or rented rowboat — and if you want to cool off from your ride, jump in!

Go on the ride of a lifetime along Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore 

When your tires meet the pavement of H-58 between Grand Marais and Munising, the sweeping curves and Lake Superior’s amazing coastal views will wow you. The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a phenomenal recreational playground. Plan to stretch your stay to a minimum of two days.

Follow the Keweenaw Peninsula to the “end of the earth” 

Bikers refer to this route as going to the end of the world. If you don’t include Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior, it’s as far north as you can go in Michigan. Gosh, the extra miles are worth it. The Keweenaw Peninsula provides a raft of the best motorcycling experiences. Start by hanging out in Houghton, a vibrant college town, then stop to tour long-shuttered copper mining sites. Follow a rocky coast that rivals Highway 1 in California to a spectacular view from Brockway Mountain. Ride into Copper Harbor at the tip of the peninsula for food and shopping. When night falls, visit the nearby International Dark Sky Park. The next morning, cruise south, pulling off to relax on unpopulated beaches and to visit small towns along the way. It’s a ride you will want to repeat soon.

Directions to more must-ride routes

Quick tips for safer motorcycling in the U.P.

What makes the Upper Peninsula a biker’s paradise is that it’s almost all wilderness with a few fun-to-visit communities mixed into the region’s diverse terrain. Biking here is different than in Michigan’s more populated Lower Peninsula. Here are some seasoned U.P. bikers’ tips.

  1. Check the weather forecast before heading out. Because the U.P. juts into three Great Lakes, the weather conditions can change suddenly and vary significantly from one end of the U.P. to the other.
    Be prepared for changing temperatures, rain, fog and, in early spring or mid-to-late fall, sleet and snow. Dress accordingly, and pack clothing options. Understand that on most routes, sheltering places are rarely nearby. When they forecast precipitation, consider altering your route or staying indoors until the weather system passes. Weather information.

  2. Be alert. Watch for wildlife, especially at dawn, dusk and night. It’s exciting to see the majestic wild animals and birds that call the U.P. home, but they can be dangerous if you encounter them on your ride. When you see a posted deer or moose crossing sign, immediately reduce your speed. Constantly scan ahead and to the roadsides and always keep a safe distance if you spot any wildlife. More wildlife tips

  3. Be vigilant — road conditions vary like the weather. Our major highways are paved and well maintained. Secondary highways and rural roads might have potholes (especially in the spring), loose gravel, sand and sharp turns. Slow down for these conditions. Watch for and use caution in road-repair zones. Be aware that you will also share highways and roads with logging trucks that are much larger, heavier and take longer to stop than your bike. Be extra careful when riding behind or passing them. 

  4. Fuel up and grab snacks and water when you can. Gas stations and convenience stores are scarce in wilderness areas. Plan your fuel or recharging stops to avoid running on empty. Carry a mobile phone and emergency supplies, including water, snacks and a basic tool kit for unforeseen circumstances. More things to know before you go

Book your stays before you head out 

The best riding seasons are also the busiest times at U.P. lodgings and campgrounds. Reserve your hotel room, cottage, cabin, condominium or campsite in advance to ensure you get the location amenities and rate you want.

Looking to see your low wave on our U.P. roads often.

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