Summer is in full swing, but Labor Day is looming ahead and now is the time for loyal Michiganders to start pondering about making a pilgrimage to the “Mighty Mac” for the annual Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk. 

It’s an annual tradition when the “Yoopers” from the north greet the southern “Trolls” as they cross paths on the nearly 5-mile-long suspension bridge that links their turfs that are separated by the icy water of the Straits of Mackinac. It was the Toledo War, in 1837, that united the two dwellers of the peninsulas, but that’s another story for another day. 

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What Do I Need To Know About Walking The Bridge? 

Before packing the kids into the car, Michiganders should bone up on the options to consider on crossing the “Big Mac”. Keep in mind, when crossing the bridge, your vehicle is parked at your point of departure. Here are three crossing options to ponder before making the mighty trek. 

  • The “Dipsey Doodle”. Starting from either end of the bridge and walking toward the center, turning around at the midpoint, and returning to the city you started from, where your transportation is located. Walkers must be on the side of the bridge they wish to return to before 10 a.m. 
  • The “Now What Do We Do?”. Walking the entire length of the bridge starting from either end. Those who choose this option must reach the midpoint before 10 a.m. or they will be turned back. Anyone who walks the entire bridge must arrange their own transportation back to the side they started once the bridge reopens to public traffic at noon. It may be a long wait for Uber.
  • The “Go For It”. This option is for the hearty, seasoned walker. It's a roundtrip crossing of the bridge, starting from either end and then turning around and walking back to the side you started from. You will need to cross the midpoint on your return trip by 10 a.m. or you will be turned back and need to find your own transportation back across the bridge after it reopens at noon. Remember..this will be a 10-mile hike.  
The Mackinac Bridge links the two peninsulas of Michigan, spanning the Straits of Mackinac.
Aaron Burden/Unsplash

What Should I Pack For The Trek? 

If you are dragging the family across the bridge, a lightweight backpack may be a good idea. It could be a blazing September 4th Labor Day, so bring: 

  • Plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. 
  •  Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.  
  • Even on a sunny day, gusty winds might make a sweatshirt a blessing.  
  • Also, it takes around two hours to cross the bridge one way, and there are no restrooms along the way. Porta-potties are available on each side of the bridge and expect large crowds. A roll of toilet paper should be stuffed into your backpack, in case of a shortage. 

The walk is free, however, if you need to travel back by vehicle, the bridge toll is $4.00 and no pets are allowed on the bridge, except trained service dogs.  

Here Is The Official 2023 MDOT Bridge Walk Video 

Mackinac Bridge Mishaps

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