Planning Ahead for the 62nd Annual Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk – Monday, September 2, 2019

As it was for the 2018 Annual Bridge Walk, the Mackinac Bridge will be closed to public traffic from 6:30 a.m. to Noon on Monday, Sept. 2, 2019 to accommodate the 2019 Annual Bridge Walk.

The walk begins at 7 a.m. You may start walking any time after the governor’s party starts the walk at approximately 7 a.m. No one will be permitted to start after 11:30 a.m., so make sure you arrive early. There is no fee or registration required to participate in the walk and each participant will receive a numbered bridge walk certificate at the completion of their walk. Certificates will be distributed at both ends of the bridge.

This year, the walk begins in St. Ignace at the north end of the Mackinac Bridge in the Upper Peninsula, and in Mackinaw City at the south end of the bridge in the Lower Peninsula. To participate in the walk, you may:

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 outside paved lane. Walkers who choose to cross the entire bridge will stay in the left-hand outside paved lane all the way across.

No bus transportation across the bridge will be available this year. Walkers who decide to walk across the entire bridge will need to arrange their own transportation back to the end of the bridge where they started – after the bridge reopens to public traffic at noon. There is limited parking space available west of the Mackinac Bridge Authority plaza area. Parking and shuttle service is being provided by the St. Ignace Chamber of Commerce and St. Ignace Visitor’s Bureau and is available at Little Bear East Arena.

Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry will again be offering direct departures between Mackinac City and St. Ignace for the 62nd Annual Mackinac Bridge Walk on September 2. Direct service between Mackinaw City and St. Ignace will begin at 5:30am. Advance tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children (ages 5-12) now through Sunday August 25. Children under 5 are complimentary but do require a ticket for boarding. Monday August 26 prices increase to $26 and $13 respectively.

Star Line Ferry is also offering shuttle service. The ferry will be departing their Mackinaw City Dock at 6:30 am going directly to our St. Ignace dock.  When you arrive in St. Ignace you can walk across the street and catch the FREE shuttle to the starting area. The cost for this departure is $15 per adult and $ 8 per child (ages 5-12). Children under five years of age travel free. They will also have a boat that leaves directly from the Mackinac Island Dock at 6:00 am for those on the Island that would like to get an early start. The cost for this departure is $15 per adult and $8 per child for a one-way ticket. Cost for a round trip ticket on the same departure is $18 per adult and $9 per child.

Baby strollers and wheelchairs are allowed on the bridge during the walk. Prohibited items include signs, banners, umbrellas, bicycles, roller skates, skateboards, wagons and similar types of devices. With the sole exception of working service dogs, no animals are allowed. Walkers must stay away from bridge railings and the center mall which divides the walkers from the vehicular traffic.

The Michigan State Police and other official personnel will be available in the event of an emergency. Please note, there are no restrooms on the bridge and the average length of time to walk the bridge is about two hours. Portable toilets will be located in St. Ignace and Mackinaw City.

Except for pre-qualified, registered participants in the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness Run, no running or racing is permitted on the bridge. Playing tag on the bridge is not permitted and no smoking on the bridge, please. For information on the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness Run, please go to or contact the Governor’s Council at 517-347-7891.

Individuals under the age of 18 should have the permission of a parent or guardian to participate in the walk. Any two or more people walking together should make plans for a meeting place in the event that they become separated during the walk.

As in the past, persons who need reasonable accommodations due to disability may contact the Mackinac Bridge Authority by Aug. 30, 2019 at 906-643-7600. TTY users may call the Michigan Relay Center at 800-649-3777.

Those looking for accommodations over Labor Day weekend will find a list of area hotels, motels, B&Bs and other options available in Mackinaw City:

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

The Mackinaw City Chamber of Commerce has shared the following information about this year’s Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk…on Monday, September 3.

It’s true, there are big changes in the event this year. While the loss of busing service is notable, this may ultimately be a happy change for participants. Get up and get out there! Less waiting in line means more time to stay and play in our local communities. Book a fishing charter, do some shopping, go out for breakfast, tour an attraction… these are options participants may not have had time for on Labor Day in previous years.

We’ve taken a moment to compile some of the information that will help you better educate patrons on the changes and remind them of a few rules. Here are a couple important things that you can catch before they make it out of the hotel room…

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.

NO PETS. Yes, of course service animals are welcome…that is it. 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 am. All participants will be turned back in the direction they started from. Beginning at 10 a.m., the turnaround point will be moved towards 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 outside paved lane. Walkers who choose to cross the entire bridge will stay in the left-hand outside paved lane all the way across.

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

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

The bridge will close 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 7:00 a.m. lead by the Governor. An early start is advised.

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!

Please take a moment to review all of the information below, note the ferry service options and watch the informational video by the Mackinac Bridge Authority; it illustrates the details of the new format. If possible, please share this video on your social media and/or website to help educate visitors.

ALSO, please read below to learn how participants can support our local Chamber and be a Double Crosser this year- do the whole ten miles with us!

If you would like to serve as a volunteer, we are recruiting! The Chamber will need 50 volunteers for the Mackinaw City side this year. Please contact me to sign up. As an incentive the Mackinac Bridge Authority will enter ALL volunteers into a drawing for a coveted tower tour AND an anchor pier tour. Please, please contact us to sign up to help if you are able.

Is there any way to walk the entire bridge in one direction?

Yes. You can make arrangements for your own early morning transportation (before the bridge closes at 6 am) and walk back, or you could make plans for transportation after the bridge re-opens at noon. Probably the best, and easiest, option for participants will be to take a ferry ride!

Early morning direct departures will be offered by both ferry lines. The cost will be $20.00/adult, $10.00/child. Pre-Registration is required for Shepler’s, Star Line is offering first come, first serve sales only. Participants who choose this option will take the ferry in the morning and walk back.

Important! Remember: NO ONE will be crossing center span after 10 am. Participants that haven’t made it to center span at this time will be turned back to return to the side they started walking from. Please plan accordingly and select an appropriate ferry departure.

For more information, visit the Mackinaw Bridge Authority.

For overnight accommodations, visit the lodging page of our website:

Updated Details on 60th Annual Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk

Highway, Ramp & Bridge Closures in Effect in the Straits of Mackinac Area
During 60th Annual Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk

Traffic Updates Available via Text from Mackinac Bridge Authority

As many as 60,000 people are expected to converge in the Straits of Mackinac Monday, September 4 to take part in the 60th Annual Mackinac Bridge Labor Day Walk. As a safety precaution, the Mackinac Bridge Authority will close the bridge to automobile traffic between 6:30 a.m. and noon that day—only authorized buses transporting walkers and emergency vehicles will be permitted on the bridge during that time.

This is the first year that the five-mile Mackinac Bridge itself will be closed to vehicles during the walk, which begins at sunrise at 7 a.m. in St. Ignace. Participants must board an official shuttle bus by 10 a.m. in order to complete the walk by noon.

Michigan State Police (MSP) are also planning some highway and ramp closures along Interstate 75 and US-2 to reduce traffic flow in the Straits area that morning.

MSP has contingency plans for traffic issues on Monday morning while the Mackinac Bridge is closed. Gaylord State Police Post Commander, 1st Lt. Mark Harris says that the process of directing traffic during the Bridge Walk is going to be an “ongoing, fluid situation.” Officials will strategize about how best to direct traffic throughout the day. “Obviously, the intent is to minimize motorists being stranded while the bridge is closed.” He has provided the following details to be shared with the public:

In preparation for the closure, 150 portable toilets will be placed every quarter mile along this stretch of US-2 which runs along the Lake Michigan shoreline. MBA will also offer water and snack stations for motorists waiting for the bridge to reopen.

Additionally, two MBA mechanics will be patrolling on both sides of the bridge to help anyone who might be having vehicle problems during the delay.

Text Alerts Available for Mackinac Bridge Annual Walk

With the assistance of Mackinac County 911/Emergency Management, you can sign up now for text updates during this year’s Labor Day Bridge Walk.

Mackinac County 911, using its RAVE Alert System, will send updates and information from the MBA to users’ cell phones now through Labor Day. Alerts will focus on event schedule reminders, traffic notifications, weather updates, and emergency notifications.​​

“With the changes taking place during this year’s walk, we’re trying to reach as many travelers and bridge walk participants as possible,” said Bob Sweeney, executive secretary of the MBA. “We really appreciate Mackinac County 911/Emergency Management’s willingness to make this system available for notifications on this event.”

There is no cost to receive these updates, aside from any texting fees from the participant’s mobile coverage plan. The system will automatically shut down on Sept. 5.

To opt in to this text alert system:​​

  1. Text “mackinacbridgewalk2017” to 67283
  2. Users will receive a reply “Welcome to the Mackinac Bridge Walk 2017 text alerting system,” verifying participation in the text alerting system for the event.
  3. Users can opt out by sending a reply “STOP mackinacbridgewalk2017” if they no longer wish to receive text messages/alerts. Messages will automatically stop on Sept. 5.

2017 Mackinac Bridge Labor Day Walk Details:

For information about the history of the Mackinac Bridge (including some interesting facts and figures about its size and construction, check out the official website of the Mackinac Bridge Authority.

For lodging reservations for Labor Day weekend, or throughout the fall season, visit

Photo sourced from Governor Rick Snyder’s Facebook page.

Mackinac Bridge Walk Celebrates 60 Years

Each Labor Day, tens of thousands of pedestrians from Michigan and beyond gather in the Straits of Mackinac to take part in one of the state’s most significant annual events: The Mackinac Bridge Walk. This year’s event will take place on Monday, September 4.


The Mackinac Bridge Walk was started and took place in late June 1958 during the Bridge’s dedication ceremony, led by Governor G. Mennen Williams. That first year only 68 people walked across the bridge. The walk was changed to Labor Day in 1959, and for the first few years, participants in the walk alternated north and south in consecutive years. The St. Ignace to Mackinaw City (north-to-south) route became a constant in 1964.

In an average year, 40,000 to 65,000 people participate in the five-mile walk—nearly the combined population of the three counties connected by the bridge (Emmet, Cheboygan and Mackinac). The record number of walkers is estimated at 85,000 in 1992 when President George H.W. Bush participated. Over the past 60 years, it is estimated the collective number of walkers is over 2 million.

The “Mighty Mac” is currently the third largest suspension bridge in the world. Construction began in May 1954 (with official ceremonies taking place in both St. Ignace and Mackinaw City) and was completed in 1957. The first private car to cross the bridge—1951 Chevrolet Styleline De Luxe station wagon driven by Al Carter of Chicago—did so on November 1 that year. That vehicle is on permanent display inside the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

For information about the history of the Mackinac Bridge (including some interesting facts and figures about its size and construction, check out the official website of the Mackinac Bridge Authority.

Motorists who are delayed in their crossing of the Mackinac Bridge on Monday, September 4 are invited to explore some of Mackinaw City’s unique attractions, including (but not limited to):

For lodging reservations for the Labor Day weekend, or throughout the fall season, visit