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Want to walk the Mackinac Bridge? This year you'll have three options

A crowd of people streams in both directions, on opposite sides of the Mackinac Bridge, whose towers loom high overhead.
Walkers crossed the Mackinac Bridge in both directions, starting from both Mackinaw City and St. Ignace, during the 2022 Labor Day bridge walk. (Photo: MDOT)

Labor Day marks one of the Mighty Mac’s oldest and most celebrated traditions — the walk across North America's longest suspension bridge.

In a video released this week, the Mackinac Bridge Authority outlined the ways to participate in this year’s bridge walk.

The MBA will continue to begin the walk from both St. Ignace and Mackinaw City, offering additional options for participants.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will begin the walk at 7 a.m.

"With four years of experience starting the event from both St. Ignace and Mackinaw City, we’ve found that most participants are comfortable with this newer version of our long-standing tradition," said MBA Bridge Director Kim Nowack. "Every year things go a bit more smoothly, and we hear more support for the variety of options to participate."

According to the video, there are three options to walk the bridge:

  1. Start from either end of the bridge and turn around halfway. This option lets participants return to the city they started from, where their transportation is located. The turnaround points will move toward the ends of the bridge beginning at 10 a.m., but walkers can walk at least a portion of the bridge if they start by 11:30 a.m. Walkers must be on the side of the bridge they wish to return to before 10 a.m.
  2. Walk 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.
  3. Cross the entire bridge, starting from either end, and then turn around and walk back to the side you started from. In this option, walkers will need to cross the midpoint on their return trip by 10 a.m. or they will be turned back and need to find their own transportation back across the bridge after it reopens at noon.

The Mackinac Bridge will be closed to public traffic from 6:30 a.m. to noon with exception to emergency vehicles.

All foot will need to be completed before 11:30. Busing will not be provided to transport participants across.

Ferry companies will continue to offer transportation between St. Ignace, Mackinaw City, and Mackinac Island throughout the day.

With exception to service animals, pets are prohibited from crossing.

The bridge walk became an annual tradition beginning in 1958. The event has only been canceled once, in 2020, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event typically draws between 20,000 and 30,000 people. Last year saw 26,000 participants. The walk remains free and open to the public.

"I invite folks to come on up and enjoy the walk across the bridge," Nowack said. "It's a great family event and we look forward to seeing everybody here."

Michael Livingston covers the area around the Straits of Mackinac - including Cheboygan, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego counties as a Report for America corps member.