River Road National Scenic Byway
Road Trips features are a staple in Drive Performance magazine's sister publication Drive. So whenever I have the opportunity, I seek out and travel scenic routes. In Summer 2010 Drive, our Road Trips was about America's Byways®, so I was anxious to try one. The WRX STI Sedan test-drive gave me that chance in Michigan.
Of the three Michigan byways, only one fit our criteria for WRX STI driving impressions. The Copper Country Trail in Michigan's Upper Peninsula was too far away, and Woodward Avenue – although definitely a legend for the auto community – was too flat and straight. Only River Road Scenic Byway in the Au Sable River valley in Huron National Forest came close to offering the type of driving we wanted to do.
As a scenic drive, this byway would have something to offer in each of the four seasons. The overlooks give you views for miles, and the snowmobile/hiking/walking trails take you through forests and along the Au Sable River.
Highlights for me included the tributes to lumbermen (Lumberman's Monument) and canoers (Canoer's Memorial) as well as the walk down (and up!) 272 steps to the river's edge at Lumberman's Monument. I counted only 271 on the way up. I suppose I might have missed one.
As mentioned in the article about the WRX STI, the road to the hydroelectric plant is not only fun to drive, but scenic as well.
There are a number of rest areas and campsites along the byway, and the Au Sable River Queen paddle-wheeler provides two-hour excursions on Foote Pond.