Lake Michigan Circle Tour
The Lake Michigan Circle Tour (LMCT) is 1,092 miles long and is the only Great Lakes Circle Tour that does not cross into Canada, as Lake Michigan is the only Great Lake situated entirely within the U.S. More than half of the LMCT exists within Michigan, while nearly a third of the route occurs within Wisconsin. Illinois and Indiana each host approximately five percent of the route.
Working in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), the West Michigan Tourist Association (WMTA) helped to make the first of the official Great Lakes Circle Tours a reality. On the MDOT side, Jack Morgan, assistant to the department’s deputy director, introduced the concept of a Circle Tour in 1987. Just 14 months later, agreement had been reached on a route and signs to be posted along the 1,100-mile tour completely circling Lake Michigan. The WMTA filled the need for a guidebook and when the Chicago Tribune and Milwaukee Journal ran articles in 1988 about the new Circle Tour, 150 callers from the Chicagoland area along deluged the WMTA staff the next Monday morning, requesting the guide. Two days later, 700 guidebook requests came in from Illinois and Wisconsin and the following day an additional 1,000 phone and mail requests poured in to their offices.
Present-Day Concerns and the Tri-Modal Corridor
In November 2012, the inaugural meeting of the Lake Michigan Trails Conference was convened in Saugatuck by Western Michigan University professor Dave Lembeck. Lembeck is championing both the completion of a Lake Michigan “water trail” for kayakers, canoeists and other paddlers around the lake’s entire shoreline as well as an interconnection between the water trail, the new U.S. Bicycle Route 35 (USBR-35) and the existing Lake Michigan Circle Tour. The envisioned “Tri-Modal Corridor” would accommodate non-motorized transportation and recreation via the “water trail” in the Lake and the bicycle route on land. The LMCT would help link the various bicycle trailheads and water access points together.
Unfortunately, actual signage along the Lake Michigan Circle Tour route has deteriorated over time. While Wisconsin has generally kept the Circle Tour reasonably well posted, signage in Michigan and Illinois is lacking and long segments of the LMCT in Indiana are now completely unsigned. Indeed, when the numbered highways that the Circle Tour ran along were rerouted in Northwest Indiana in recent years, the LMCT route markers were regrettably not relocated or replaced. Furthermore, highway signing standards may have changed to the point where including Circle Tour route markers alongside the other numbered highway markers on freeway signage is no longer allowed or encouraged. While hundreds of the standard Circle Tour markers are still found alongside the roadside in Michigan, some locations where the LMCT changes directions (e.g. transitions from one highway to another) are now under-signed or completely unsigned altogether. This was cited as a major concern by the attendees at the 2012 Lake Michigan Trails Conference.
Conference attendees vowed to support the ongoing efforts of the existing organizations assembling the resources necessary to complete the Lake Michigan Water Trail and the signed U.S. Bicycle Route network now underway around the periphery of the Lake. Additionally, attendees citied a need to renew coordination and oversight of the Great Lakes Circle Tour Program within the various state departments of transportation, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and the de facto coordinating agency, the Great Lakes Commission. Several of those in attendance pledged resources and a commitment to both preserve the Circle Tour routes and look for ways to improve the coordination and signage into the future. Creating background documentation, documenting and recording the officially-adopted Circle Tour route, clarifying route signage standards and formalizing a route maintenance policy are just some of the concepts put forth in the revitalization of these important tourist routes.
Lack of Official Routing & Erroneous Information
Unfortunately, the Great Lakes Commission's own description of the LMCT is largely incorrect, both in terms of the actual route and because of numerous typos and incorrect community names. For example, as of last check (March 2013), errors in just the "Lake Michigan Circle Tour Road Route" section of the Commission's LMCT page give the following description of the route in Lower Peninsula:
ROUTE: Follow I-96E to Holland; US-31N to Manistee; MI-22 to Traverse City; US-31 to Petoskey; MI-119 to the town of Cross Bridge; C66 to US-31; cross the Mackinaw Bridge (toll) into the Upper Peninsula
The first major issue is to get to Holland from Indiana, one needs to first follow US-12 East (not listed) before transitioning onto I-94 East (not listed), then exit that route and follow BL I-94 and M-63 through St Joseph and Benton Harbor (not listed), transitioning then onto I-196/US-31 North (also not listed!) with a loop through downtown South Haven via BL I-196 (not listed), then back to I-196/US-31 North, before exiting onto US-31 North to reach Holland. On top of that, I-96 doesn't go to Holland at all!
From Holland to Petoskey the directions are somewhat better, although loops through downtown Muskegon, the downtowns of Whitehall and Motague, and through Pentwater via the respective BUS US-31 routings are omitted. However, from Petoskey, the LMCT has never run along M-119 and even if it did, the directions erroneously call the community of Cross Village, Cross Bridge, instead! (It's never been called Cross Bridge since its was founded in 1830!) But after omitting the connection from US-31 onto I-75 once US-31, the name of one of Michigan's most famous landmarks is misspelled: the Mackinac Bridge! If these directions are this bad—and have been since it was first reported to the Great Lakes Commission in the late 1990s (a decade and a half ago!)—how trustworthy is the rest of the information!
Lake Michigan Circle Tour Route
The Lake Michigan Circle Tour (LMCT) enters the state from Indiana southwest of New Buffalo, continues up the east coast of Lake Michigan and crosses the Mackinac Bridge along with the Lake Huron Circle Tour. From St. Ignace, the LMCT heads west across the Upper Peninsula then turns southwesterly to Menominee where it continues into Wisconsin. In Michigan, the 631-mile route generally follows the state trunkline highway running closest to Lake Michigan. The officially designated route for the LMCT is as follows:
- The LMCT enters Michigan from Indiana on US-12 south of New Buffalo and proceeds northerly through New Buffalo to I-94.
- The route leaves US-12 and continues northerly on I-94 from Exit 4 toward St Joseph.
- At Exit 23, the route exits I-94 and continues northerly into downtown St Joseph via BL I-94.
- In St Joseph, the LMCT continues northerly on M-63 into northern Berrien Co.
- At the nothern terminus of M-63, the circle tour proceeds northerly on I-196/US-31 toward South Haven.
- The route leaves I-196/US-31 at Exit 18 and loops through South Haven using BL I-196.
- On the east side of South Haven, where BL I-196 ends at I-196/US-31 Exit 20, the route continues north into Allegan Co on I-196/US-31.
- While the LMCT remains on I-196/US-31 at Saugatuck/Douglas, a locally-designated LMCT Harbor Tour loop route is signed concurrently with A-2/Blue Star Hwy between Exits 36 and 41.
- The circle tour continues northerly on US-31/BL I-196 toward Holland at Exit 44 when I-196 splits off to the east.
- On the east side of Holland, the route continues northerly following US-31 through Grand Haven and toward Norton Shores.
- At the jct of US-31 & I-96, the LMCT leaves US-31 and follows BUS US-31 through downtown Muskegon.
- Northeast of downtown Muskegon, the route continues northerly via M-120 to North Muskegon and northeasterly back to US-31.
- Back on US-31, the circle tour continues northerly toward Ludington, leaving US-31 twice: once to follow the route of BUS US-31 through the downtowns of Whitehall and Montague in northern Muskegon Co; and again to follow the route of BUS US-31 through downtown Pentwater in Oceana Co.
- At the end of the US-31 freeway near Ludington, the LMCT turns east following US-10/US-31 toward Scottville.
- At Scottville, the circle tour turns northerly again to follow US-31 toward Manistee, although a locally-designated LMCT Loop Route formerly continued east on US-10 into downtown, then northerly via Old US-31 back to US-31 and the LMCT. (NOTE: The LMCT Loop route through Scottville was removed/decommissioned some time in late 2004 or early 2005 and no longer exists.)
- The route continues northerly from Scottville and through Manistee on US-31.
- Northeast of Manistee, the route turns northerly to follow M-22 through Onekama, Frankfort and Empire.
- Northeast of Empire, a LMCT Loop Route leaves M-22 to follow M-109 past Glen Haven, rejoining M-22 at Glen Arbor. (The mainline LMCT remains on M-22 between Empire and Glen Arbor.)
- From Glen Arbor, the circle tour continues northerly on M-22 through Leland to Northport. At Northport, M-22 and the LMCT turn nearly 180 degrees to head southerly into Traverse City.
- At Traverse City, the LMCT returns to US-31 and continues northerly via US-31 through Elk Rapids, Charlevoix and Petoskey and on toward the Mackinac Bridge.
- South of Mackinaw City, where US-31 ends, the route continues northerly on I-75 crossing the Mackinac Bridge and entering the Upper Peninsula at St Ignace. Between Mackinaw City and St Ignace, the LMCT is jointed by the Lake Huron Circle Tour.
- In St Ignace, the LMCT continues westerly along US-2 for more than 140 miles through Manistique and Gladstone to Escanaba.
- At Escanaba, the circle tour continues southwesterly via M-35 along the Green Bay shoreline to Menominee
- The route continues south on US-41 through Menominee and enters Wisconsin at Marinette.
The LMCT enters Wisconsin at Marinette and follows the shore of Green Bay through its namesake city, then runs up nearly the entire length of the Door Peninsula before looping back to continue south along the western shore of Lake Michigan through Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan, Milwaukee, and Racine, exiting the state into Illinois south of Kenosha. Approximately 351 miles of the LMCT exist in Wisconsin. The officially signed route for the LMCT is as follows:
- Enters from the State of Michigan via US-41 on the Interstate Bridge in the City of Marinette, Marinette Co.
- Southerly via US-41 through downtown Marinette, continuing southwesterly along US-41 past Peshtigo and Oconto to Abrams.
- At Exit 187, the LMCT continues southerly via US-41/US-141 from Abrams toward Green Bay.
- Southerly at Exit 171 via I-43 through the City of Green Bay via the Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge.
- Northeasterly at Exit 185 to follow WIS-57 from Green Bay past Dyckesville and into Door County.
- At the southernmost junction of WIS-57 & WIS-42, the LMCT actually loops over itself. Continuing along the route in the counterclockwise direction, the LMCT continues northeasterly via WIS-42/WIS-57 past Sturgeon Bay to the second junction of WIS-42 & WIS-57.
- Northeasterly via WIS-57 along the Lake Michigan shore through Jacksonport and Bailey’s Harbor, then northerly into Sister Bay and the third junction of WIS-57 & WIS-42.
- Southwesterly to follow the east shore of Green Bay via WIS-42 through Ephraim, Fish Creek, and Egg Harbor back to the second junction of WIS-42 & WIS-57.
- Southwesterly past Sturgeon Bay via WIS-42/WIS-57 to the first junction of WIS-42 & WIS-57 southwest of Sturgeon Bay.
- Southerly via WIS-42 through Algoma, Kewaunee, and Two Rivers and into Manitowoc.
- Southerly via US-10/BUS WIS-42 into downtown Manitowoc.
- LMCT Spur: Continues southerly, then easterly and northerly via US-10 from downtown Manitowoc to the Lake Michigan Carferry dock.
- Westerly from downtown Manitowoc via US-151/BUS WIS-42 to I-43 at Exit 149.
- Southerly via I-43 from Manitowoc to WIS-42 at Exit 128 northwest of Sheboygan.
- Southeasterly via WIS-42/Calumet Dr from I-43 at Exit 128 into Sheboygan to North Ave.
- Easterly via North Ave to N 3rd St.
- Southerly via N 3rd St to Lincoln Ave.
- Easterly via Lincoln Ave to Boughton Dr.
- Follows the Lake Michigan shoreline in a generally southerly direction via Boughton Dr to Pennsylvania Ave.
- Westerly via Pennsylvania Ave from Boughton Dr to Riverfront Dr in downtown Sheboygan.
- Southwesterly via Riverfront Dr to S 8th St.
- Southerly across the Sheboygan River via S 8th St to the roundabout at Indiana Ave.
- Easterly for one block via Indiana Ave from the 8th St roundabout to S 7th St.
- Southerly via S 7th St to High Ave.
- Southerly from S 7th Ave & High Ave via Lakeshore Dr to Washington Ave.
- Westerly via Washington Ave from Lakeshore Dr to junction WIS-28 at the intersection of Washington Ave & Business Dr.
- Easterly via WIS-28/Washington Ave from Business Dr to I-43 at Exit 123.
- Southerly via I-43 from Exit 123 southwest of Sheboygan toward Port Washington. (I-43 and the LMCT are joined by WIS-32 at Exit 113 near Cedar Grove.)
- Southerly via WIS-32/Wisconsin St from I-43 at Exit 100 into Port Washington.
- Southerly via WIS-32/Franklin St from Wisconsin St through the Port Washington downtown business district to WIS-32/Grand Ave.
- Westerly via WIS-32/Grand Ave from Franklin St to junction WIS-33 at Spring St west of downtown Port Washington.
- Southwesterly via WIS-32/Spring St from WIS-33 toward I-43 at Exit 93 at Grafton.
- Southerly via I-43/WIS-32/WIS-57 from Exit 93 northeast of Grafton into Milwaukee County.
- Easterly from I-43 at Exit 82 via WIS-32/Brown Deer Rd, then southerly via WIS-32/N Lake Dr through the suburban communities of Bayside, Fox Point and Whitefish Bay and into the City of Milwaukee.
- Westerly via WIS-32/Bradford Ave from N Lake Dr to WIS-32/Farwell Ave.
- Southwesterly via WIS-32/Farwell Ave from Bradford Ave to Franklin Pl, then southerly via WIS-32/Franklin Pl to Prospect Ave. (Northbound LMCT follows WIS-32 Prospect Ave from Franklin Pl to Bradford Ave.)
- Southerly via WIS-32/Prospect Ave to State St.
- Southbound LMCT follows WIS-32/State St westerly from Prospect Ave to US-18/WIS-32/Broadway, then southerly via US-18/WIS-32 Broadway from State St to Michigan St, continuing southerly via WIS-32/Broadway from Michigan St to St Paul St. LMCT southbound then runs easterly via WIS-32/St Paul St from Broadway to WIS-32/Milwaukee St. Northbound LMCT follows WIS-32/Milwaukee St northerly from St Paul St to US-18/Michigan St, then continuing northerly via US-18/WIS-32/Milwaukee St to Wells St. LMCT northbound then continues easterly via WIS-32/Wells St from Milwaukee St to Prospect St, then northerly via WIS-32/Prospect St to WIS-32 Sbd/State St.
- LMCT continues from downtown Milwaukee southerly via WIS-32/Milwaukee St to Menominee & Young Sts.
- Southwesterly via WIS-32/Young St from Milwaukee St to Erie St and via WIS-32/Broadway across the Milwaukee River to Water St.
- Westerly via WIS-32/Pittsburgh Ave to S 1st St.
- Southerly via WIS-32/S 1st St from Pittsburgh Ave to Kinnickinnic Ave.
- Southeasterly via WIS-32/Kinnickinnic Ave from S 1st St to Howard Ave.
- Easterly via WIS-32/Howard Ave from Kinnickinnic Ave to S Lake Dr.
- Southerly via WIS-32/S Lake Dr from Howard Ave to E College Ave.
- Westerly via WIS-32/E College Ave from S Lake Dr to N Chicago Ave.
- Southerly via WIS-32/N Chicago Ave and 10th Ave from E College Ave to Marquette Ave in the City of South Milwaukee.
- Westerly via WIS-32/Marquette Ave from 10th Ave to S Chicago Ave.
- Southerly via WIS-32/S Chicago Ave from Marquette Ave in South Milwaukee to through the City of Oak Creek and into Racine County.
- Southerly via WIS-32/Douglas Ave from Milwaukee County into the City of Racine at Hamilton St.
- Easterly via WIS-32/Hamilton St from Douglas Ave to N Main St.
- Southerly via WIS-32/Main St through downtown Racine to 6th St.
- Southbound LMCT continues westerly via WIS-32/6th St from Main St to Washington Ave. Northbound LMCT continues easterly via WIS-32/7th St from Washington Ave to Main St where it continues northerly via WIS-32/Main St.
- Southwesterly from the intersection of 6th St, 7th St & Washington Ave via WIS-32/Washington Ave to Racine St.
- Southerly via WIS-32/Racine St from WIS-20/Washington Ave into the south side of Racine.
- Southerly via WIS-32/Sheridan Rd from Racine Ave into Kenosha County and the City of Kenosha.
- Southerly via WIS-32/Alford Park Dr from Sheridan Rd at Carthage Collage to Sheridan Rd south of Alford Park.
- Southerly via WIS-32/Sheridan Rd from Alford Park Dr through downtown Kenosha and then through Pleasant Prairie.
- Southerly via WIS-32/Sheridan Rd in Pleasant Prairie into Illinois at Russell Rd, entering Winthrop Harbor, Illinois.
The Lake Michigan Circle Tour (LMCT) enters Illinois at Winthrop Harbor in northeastern Lake County and continues south through Zion, Waukegan, Lake Forest, Highland Park, Winnetka and Evanston. In these areas, the LMCT follows the route of Sheridan Rd very closely. Once in the City of Chicago, the Circle Tour joins iconic Lake Shore Drive through the city before exiting the state into Indiana. About 61.9 miles of the LMCT exist in Illinois. The Illinois route of the LMCT route is as follows:
- Enters from the State of Wisconsin via SR-137/Sheridan Rd in the Village of Winthrop Harbor in northeastern Lake County.
- Southerly via SR-137/Sheridan Rd through Winthrop Harbor, Zion and Beach Park to Greenwood Ave in Waukegan.
- Southerly via Sheridan Rd from Greenwood Ave (where SR-137 turns easterly toward the Amstutz Expwy) into downtown Waukegan to Belvidere St.
- Westerly via Belvedere St from Sheridan Rd for one block to S Genesee St in Waukegan.
- Southerly via S Genesee St from Belvidere St for three blocks to SR-137/Sheridan Rd-Amstutz Expwy in Waukegan.
- Southerly via SR-137/Sheridan Rd from S Genesee St in Waukegan to Martin Luther King Jr Dr (Co Rd A-31) in North Chicago.
- Southerly via SR-137/Bobby E Thompson Expwy from Martin Luther King Jr Dr (Co Rd A-31) to SR-137/Buckley Rd in North Chicago.
- Easterly via connecting ramps from SR-137/Buckey Rd-Bobby E Thompson Expwy to Sheridan Rd in North Chicago.
- Southerly via Sheridan Rd from SR-137 ramps in North Chicago to intersection of Sheridan Rd, East Sheridan Rd & McKinley Rd in Lake Bluff.
- Easterly via East Sheridan Rd from Sheridan Rd-McKinley Rd to intersection of East Sheridan Rd, North Sheridan Rd, Moffett Rd & Cambridge Ln in Lake Bluff.
- Southerly via Sheridan Rd through Lake Forest to Westleigh Rd intersection.
- Southeasterly via Sheridan Rd from Westleigh Rd intersection in Lake Forest to intersection of Sheridan Rd, Waukegan Ave & Walker Ave in Highwood.
- Easterly via Walker Ave from Sheridan Rd-Waukegan Rd in Highwood to Oak St in Highland Park.
- Southerly via Oak St from Walker Ave for two blocks to Edgecliff Dr.
- Easterly via Edgecliff Dr from Oak St for one block to Sheridan Rd.
- Southerly via Sheridan Rd from Edgecliff Dr to Central Ave in downtown Highland Park.
- Southwesterly via Central Ave for one short block in downtown Highland Park from Sheridan Rd to St Johns Ave.
- Southerly via St Johns Ave from Central Ave in downtown Highland Park to Sheridan Rd.
- Southeasterly following the many twists and turns of Sheridan Rd—the road encounters many 90° turns at several intersections in this area—through the rest of Highland Park and the communities of Glencoe, Winnetka, Kenilworth, and WiImette, to the intersection of Sheridan Rd, Ridge Ave & Isabella St in Evanston.
- Easterly via Sheridan Rd from intersection of Ridge Ave & Isabella St for two blocks to Lakeside Ct in Evanston.
- Southerly via Sheridan Rd from Lakeside Ct through the campus of Northwestern University to Chicago Ave in Evanston.
- Southeasterly via Sheridan Rd for four blocks from Chicago Ave to Campus Dr in Evanston.
- Southerly via Sheridan Rd from Campus Dr for three blocks to Forest Ave
- Southwesterly via Forest Ave from Sheridan Rd for one block to Davis St.
- Southerly via Forest Ave from Davis St for four blocks to Burnham Pl.
- Southbound LMCT continues southerly via Forest Ave from Burnham Pl for four blocks to Main St, then runs easterly via Main St from Forest Ave for two blocks to Sheridan Rd where it continues easterly. Northbound LMCT runs northerly from the intersection of Main St & Sheridan Rd via Sheridan Rd for four blocks to Burnham Pl, then runs westerly via Burnham Pl for two blocks to Forest Ave where it continues northerly.
- Easterly via Sheridan Rd from Main St for one block to Clark Square Park, then southerly via Sheridan Rd to South Blvd.
- Easterly from South Blvd, then southerly, then westerly via Sheridan Rd to skirt the edge of Calvary Cemetery and enter the City of Chicago.
- Southerly via Sheridan Rd from Calvary Cemetery to intersection of Devon Ave & N Broadway.
- From the intersection of Sheridan Rd, Devon Ave & North Broadway, the LMCT continues southerly via North Broadway from Sheridan Rd-Devon Ave to intersection of Bryn Mawr Ave & Ridge Ave.
- Southerly via US-14/North Broadway from Bryn Mawr Ave & Ridge Ave to US-41/Foster Ave.
- Easterly via US-41/Foster Ave from US-14/North Broadway to Lake Shore Dr.
- Southerly via US-41/Lake Shore Dr from Foster Ave through downtown Chicago to intersection of Lake Shore Dr, Jeffery Blvd & Marquette Dr in Jackson Park.
- Easterly via US-41/Marquette Dr from Lake Shore Dr & Jeffrey Blvd to intersection of Marquette Dr, E 67th St & S South Shore Dr.
- Southerly via US-41/S South Shore Dr from E 67th St & Marquette Dr for five blocks to intersection of S South Shore Dr, E 71st St, Yates Blvd & Exchange Ave.
- Easterly via US-41/E South Shore Dr from intersection of S South Shore Dr, E 71st St, Yates Blvd & Exchange Ave for two blocks to the eastern intersection with E 71st St.
- Southeasterly via US-41/S South Shore Dr from intersection of E South Shore Dr & E 71st St for nine blocks to intersection of S South Shore Dr, E 79th St & S Lake Shore Dr.
- Southeasterly then southerly and then southwesterly via US-41/S Lake Shore Dr from intersection of S South Shore Dr & E 79th St to intersection of S Lake Shore Dr, S Mackinaw Ave, Ewing Ave & Harbor Ave.
- Southeasterly via US-41/Ewing Ave from intersection of S Lake Shore Dr, S Mackinaw Ave & Harbor Ave, across the Calumet River to intersection of Ewing Ave & US-12/US-20/E 95th St.
- Southeasterly then southerly via US-12/US-20/US-41/Ewing Ave from 95th St for five blocks to Indianapolis Ave.
- Southeasterly via US-12/US-20/US-41/Indianapolis Ave from Ewing Ave into Indiana at State Line Ave, entering Hammond, Indiana.
The Lake Michigan Circle Tour (LMCT) enters Indiana at Hammond in northwestern Lake County and continues easterly through Whiting, East Chicago, Gary, Burns Harbor, and Michigan City before exiting the state into Michigan. About 46½ miles of the LMCT exist in Indiana.
Note: Route signage for the Indiana segment of the Lake Michigan Circle Tour is missing in most areas of the route.
- Enters from the State of Illinois via US-12/US-20/US-41/Indianapolis Blvd in the City of Hammond in northwestern Lake County.
- Southeasterly via US-12/US-20/US-41/Indianapolis Blvd from the Illinois state line to US-41/Calumet Ave.
- Southeasterly via US-12/US-20/Indianapolis Blvd from US-41/Calumet Ave in Whiting to US-12/Columbus Dr in East Chicago.
- Easterly via US-12/US-20/Columbus Dr from Indianapolis Blvd to SR-912/Cline Ave on the East Chicago/Gary municipal boundary.
- Southerly via SR-912/US-12/Cline Ave from Exit 6 at Columbus Dr to US-20/Michigan St-5th Ave at Exit 10AB.
- Easterly via US-12/US-20/5th Ave from SR-912/Cline Ave to Bridge St in Gary.
- Through downtown Gary, the eastbound LMCT continues easterly via US-12/US-20/5th Ave from Bridge St to Vermont St where it rejoins with the westbound LMCT. The westbound LMCT continues westerly from Vermont St via 4th Ave to Bridge St, then continues southerly for two blocks via US-12/US-20/Bridge St from 4th Ave to 5th Ave where it rejoins with eastbound LMCT.
- East of downtown Gary, the LMCT continues southeasterly via US-12/US-20/Dunes Hwy from Vermont St to the US-12 & US-20 “split” at Dunes Hwy & Melton Rd.
- Easterly via US-12/Dunes Hwy from US-20/Melton Rd in Gary through Portage, Ogden Dunes, Burns Harbor, and Porter to intersection of Dunes Hwy, County Line Rd & Woodlawn Ave on the western limits of the City of Michigan City.
- Northerly via US-12 from intersection of Dunes Hwy, County Line Rd & Woodlawn Ave to Beverly Dr, then easterly via US-12 into Michigan City at Sheridan Ave.
- Northeasterly via US-12/4th St from Sheridan Ave to intersection of 4th St, Willard Ave & Michigan St.
- Northeasterly via US-12/Michigan St and easterly via US-12/Michigan Blvd from 4th St & Willard Ave through downtown Michigan City to 2nd St at Blue Chip Dr.
- Northeasterly via US-12 from Blue Chip Dr to SR-212.
- Northeasterly via US-12 from SR-212 into Michigan at the state line, entering New Buffalo Township, Michigan.
Lake Michigan Circle Tour Loop Routes
A locally-designated loop route which helps circle tour motorists navigate into and through the off-route communities of Saugatuck and Douglas in northwestern Allegan Co. While most local loops are designated as "Loop Routes" off the mainline circle tour, this particular route is actually designated as a "Harbor Tour," although it behaves like any other Loop Route. Also, as with all Loop Routes, this route is designated with white-on-brown circle tour signs, using the same LMCT "logo." The route is 7.7 miles long:
- The LMCT Harbor Tour begins at I-196/US-31/LMCT at Exit 34 near Ganges (south of Douglas).
- The Harbor Tour route proceeds easterly from the freeway along M-89/124th Ave to A-2/Blue Star Hwy.
- The route turns northerly on A-2/Blue Star Hwy into Douglas, passing just west of the downtown area.
- The loop route then crosses into Saugatuck, still via A-2/Blue Star Hwy, passing just east of the downtown.
- The route ends when it meets back up with I-196/US-31/LMCT at Exit 41 northeast of Saugatuck.
This Lake Michigan Circle Tour spur route utilizes the S.S. Badger carferry traversing the middle of Lake Michigan between Ludington and Manitowoc.
- Departs LMCT at the west junction of US-10 & US-31 east of Ludington.
- Westerly via US-10/Ludington Ave from US-31 to James St into downtown Ludington.
- Southerly via US-10/James St from Ludington Ave to the S.S. Badger carferry docks in Ludington.
- LMCT Spur officially continues via the S.S. Badger carferry across Lake Michigan, connecting with the LMCT mainline in downtown Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
- From the S.S. Badger carferry docks in Manitowoc, LMCT Spur continues southwesterly via US-10/Lakeview Dr to Lake St.
- Westerly via US-10/Madison St from Lakeview Dr for two blocks to 8th St.
- Westbound LMCT Spur continues northerly via wbd US-10/8th St from Madison St for four blocks to junction US-10, US-151 & BUS WIS-42, where it terminates. Eastbound LMCT Spur departs LMCT at junction US-10, US-151 & BUS WIS-42 at the intersection of Washington St & 10th St and continues southerly via ebd US-10/10th St for four blocks to Madison St where it continues easterly for two blocks via US-10/Madison St from 10th St to 8th St where it rejoins the westbound LMCT Spur.
While the Lake Michigan Circle Tour generally follows the closest posted state trunkline to its namesake body of water, the Sleeping Bear Dunes area is one exception. Instead of diverting the mainline LMCT off M-22 for only eight miles, it continues via M-22 through to Glen Arbor and on to Leland. However, as M-109 loops off M-22 to the west (lakeside) through the Sleeping Bear Dunes area, it has been designated as a LMCT Loop Route. The route is 6.8 miles long:
- The LMCT Loop Route begins at the southern jct of M-22 & M-109 just northeast of Empire and continues northerly toward Glen Haven.
- At Glen Haven, the loop route turns east and continues on M-109 toward Glen Arbor.
- The LMCT Loop Route ends at the northern jct of M-22 & M-109 in Glen Arbor.
Back to: The Circle Tours.
- Lake Michigan Circle Tour - listing from MichiganHighways.org.
- Lake Michigan Circle Tour History - from the West Michigan Tourist Association (WMTA). The WMTA helped to coordinate the first of the Great Lakes Circle Tours in the 1980s.
- Great Lakes Circle Tour - information from the Great Lakes Commission. It was the GLC who originally established the Great Lakes Circle Tours and continues to provide information on many aspects of the Great Lakes region.
- Lake Michigan Circle Tour - from the Great Lakes Information Network (GLIN), which "is a partnership that provides one place online for people to find information relating to the binational Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region of North America." Please note that the "Circle Tour Road Route" description from the GLIN site is not only vague, but incorrect! (See description above.)
- Shoreline Charms (via archive.org)- an article by Donna Marchetti about the Lake Michigan Circle Tour from the Michigan Living magazine published by AAA Michigan.