Midwest Living Review
A bit of history and a lot of nature await on the River Road Scenic Byway. This 22-mile drive (each way) begins in Oscoda, Michigan, and tracks the Au Sable River west to the Westgate Scenic Overlook, just north of Hale, Michigan. Trip highlights include gorgeous scenery, especially in fall when foliage begins to turn. Many of the stops are interesting, too. A trailhead for the Eagle Run Trail System grants access to several miles of looping trails. Hikers, mountain bikers and cross-country skiers favor these trails for the pretty river scenery. Foote Hydroelectric Dam offers great spots for fishing plus a short dam-side path, and small town Foote Site Village boasts a river overlook. Visitors to the dam or the overlook might spy bald eagles. Expect to pass an hour or so at Lumberman's Monument, a 14-foot bronze statue depicting three lumberjacks. A visitors center offers history, insight into the life of a lumberjack and hands-on activities (try your hand using a crosscut saw). A 270-plus-step staircase leads to the banks of Cooke Dam and a replica wanigan (lumberjacks' floating mess hall) visitors can explore. The 22-mile drive ends at the Westgate Scenic Overlook and Welcome Center, where a platform provides a stunning view of the river and surrounding woods.