Everything You Need to Know About the 61st Annual Mackinac Bridge Walk

There will be lots of changes at the 61st Annual Mackinac Bridge Walk on Labor Day (September 3), including the elimination of busing, the ability to start the walk from either St. Ignace or Mackinaw City, the inaugural Double Crossers Club and new direct ferry routes. Here’s what you need to know.

One exciting opportunity this new format brings is the opportunity for an individual to walk the entire length of the bridge on foot, turn around, and walk back (a 10-mile circuit). While this option is certainly not for everyone, hardy annual supporters of the event believe it is a unique draw. In hopes of attracting a fun and adventurous crowd, the Mackinaw City Chamber of Commerce will host the “Double Crossers Club,” which will be the first group in history to walk the entire distance of the bridge and back and receive a certificate of completion from both St. Ignace and Mackinaw City.

There is never a cost to participate in the Bridge Walk, but an official T-shirt will be available for purchase. Proceeds from shirt sales will directly support community programs and events hosted by the Chamber of Commerce.

Watch this video by the Michigan Department of Transportation for Bridge Walk details—you can walk halfway across the bridge, all the way across or there and back. 

Double Crossers

In Mackinaw City, all Bridge Walk participants including Double Crossers will gather at 6:15 a.m. in the vicinity of Audie’s Restaurant on Nicolet Avenue (look for the green shirts). Double Crossers are able to purchase the shirt in advance through the Chamber and walk independently from the St. Ignace shore as well. Participants will be able to wave to their double-crossing counterparts from the opposite shore as they cross paths near center span.

Double Crossers are encouraged to start the walk promptly at 7 a.m. If any participant does not make it all the way across and back to center span by 10 a.m. they will be turned back to the nearest side and will be responsible for their own transportation across the bridge after the event ends. To be a Double Crosser you will need to keep a steady pace and know your ability. There is no transportation option available through the Mackinaw City Chamber of Commerce, so please plan accordingly and start early.

Double Crosser T-SHIRTs

Order online for $25 (includes tax, shipping, and processing fees). Order and pick up in person at the Mackinaw City Chamber Office at 707 N. Huron Ave. to save $5. Call 231.436.5574 to check size availability.

Want to Walk the Entire Bridge? You Can Take the Ferry.

To help those who would like to have the experience of walking the entire bridge this Labor Day, Shepler’s Ferry is excited to be offering three direct departures that morning. Park your car in St. Ignace or Mackinaw City then take the ferry to the other side of the bridge, walk across and your car will be waiting in the lot. See the schedule below:

Times

  • 6 a.m. – Departure from Mackinaw City to St. Ignace
  • 6:30 a.m. – Departure from St. Ignace to Mackinaw City
  • 7 a.m. – Departure from Mackinaw City to St. Ignace

Cost

  • $20 per adult
  • $10 per child (ages 5–12)
  • Free for children under 5 years of age.

Tickets for the Labor Day direct departures are only available online and are non-refundable unless the walk is canceled. Tickets will be sold for the capacity of each departure.

Shepler’s is encouraging guests to walk between their St. Ignace dock and Little Bear Arena, where shuttles will be available to take guests to the north end of the bridge. Shepler’s will be offering limited transportation between their dock and Little Bear Arena. If walking from Mackinaw City, guests can take a shuttle from the north end of the bridge to Little Bear Arena and walk to the St. Ignace dock.

Guests wishing to walk the entire bridge and then visit Mackinac Island may simply purchase a regular round-trip ticket and “boat hop” via the island. Visit sheplersferry.com/schedule to view our regular printed schedule for Labor Day.

Guests are encouraged to direct questions to 800.828.6157 or [email protected] Visit their website sheplersferry.com, or follow their social channels for updates.

Bridge Walk Rules

NO WAGONS. That rule has not changed. It’s a safety precaution (your child and gear should be safe and in front of you, not in tow behind). Wagons present a tripping hazard to others. No one will be permitted onto the bridge with a wagon. Baby strollers and wheelchairs are allowed.

NO PETS. Yes, of course, service animals are welcome. No recreational companion cats, dogs, birds, etc. No one will be permitted on the bridge with a pet.

NOBODY is crossing center span after 10 a.m. All participants will be turned back in the direction they started from. Beginning at 10 a.m., the turnaround point will be moved toward the ends of the bridge, but you may start walking up until 11:30 a.m. This restriction will ensure that the bridge is able to reopen to traffic at noon.

NO WALKING IN CENTER LANES. Both center lanes are reserved for emergency vehicles. Walkers will use the left-hand outside paved lane as they walk onto the bridge, regardless of which end of the bridge they start from. Walkers who turn back at the midpoint will turn right, then return using the opposite side’s paved lane. Those who choose to cross the entire bridge will stay in the left-hand outside paved lane all the way across.

The bridge will close to public traffic from 6:30 a.m. to noon. The Michigan Fitness Foundation Labor Day Bridge Run will cross first, as in previous years. The walk will begin at 7 a.m. lead by Governor Snyder. An early start is advised.

Parking & Busing 

Ample parking is available throughout Mackinaw City, but it could be a considerable walk to get to the bridge. Please factor additional time into your morning plan for parking and walking.

In Mackinaw City, all participants must walk to the base of the bridge at the 339 Exit Nicolet/Jamet Street ramp near Audie’s Restaurant. The walk will begin and end at this location. No public transportation is available in Mackinaw City. Many hotels may offer transportation accommodations for guests; inquire at the front desk.

St. Ignace will offer busing for participants from Little Bear East Arena to the base of the bridge and back. For the first time ever certificates will be given from both sides of the bridge.

—Press release provided by Mackinaw City Chamber of Commerce


Read this Traverse Magazine feature: Keeping the Mighty in the Mac—Meet The People Who Maintain the Mackinac Bridge (And Climb It Every Day)