Your Guide to Walking the Mackinac Bridge on Labor Day
Most of us have driven over the Mackinac Bridge several times to get to and from the Upper Peninsula. But have you ever walked across the "Mighty Mac"?
There is only one day a year that pedestrians area allowed on the Mackinac Bridge and that day is coming up.
The Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk
Every Labor Day the Mackinac Bridge is shut down for motorists to give people a chance to walk the bridge. This is a tradition that dates back to the very first walk on Labor Day of 1958. Yearly upwards of 60,000 people from several states and countries have gathered to stroll the 5 miles to cross the Straits of Mackinac on one of the longest suspension bridges in the world.
Walking Options for the Mackinac Bridge Walk
This year's Labor Day Bridge Walk will be on Monday, September 5th, 2022. The bridge closes to public traffic from 6:30 am until 12 Noon.
There is no fee or required registration to walk the bridge. You just need to show up. The Bridge Walk starts at 7 am. (Arrive early, no one will be permitted to start the walk after 11:30 am.) In the past there has been bus transportation from one end of the bridge to the other, however that option was eliminated a few years ago. If you'd like to walk the Mighty Mac you have three options:
Option 1: Walkers can start from either end of the bridge and walk to the center. Then they will turn around at the midpoint of the bridge and return to the city they started from. The turnaround points will moved closer to the both ends of the bridge beginning at 10 am, but walkers can stroll at least a portion of the bridge if they start by 11:30 am.
Option 2: Walk the entire bridge! Walkers will have to start early enough to reach the center by 10 am. This is a great way to walk and see the entire Mackinac Bridge, however, If you do walk the entire bridge, it is your responsibility to find transportation back to your starting point. There are no buses! Keep in mind that the bridge is also closed to public traffic until 12 Noon.
Option 3: If you are really ambitious -- and fast -- you can walk the entire bridge in both directions! You can start from either end and walk the entire bridge and then turn around and walk back to the side you started from. The round-trip option requires walkers to cross the midpoint on their return trip by 10 am. Keep in mind that this walk is a total of 10 miles in length!
Starting Point Recommendation: Parking is more readily available at the south end of the bridge in Mackinac City. That is probably the best starting point for the Bridge Walk. There is some limited parking on the north side of the bridge at the Michigan Welcome Center and the Straits State Park. If you plan on parking in the city parking lots in St. Ignace, remember it is about 3.5 miles to the bridge.
Also remember -- there are no restrooms on the bridge!
For additional walk details, visit the Mackinac Bridge Authority website.
If you have never had the opportunity to walk the Mackinac Bridge, I highly recommend it. I have done it on six different Labor Days. I even walked the Mighty Mac with my mother a few years ago. It was on her bucket list to walk the bridge!