People may begin the 2018 Mackinac Bridge Walk anytime between 7AM and noon, and walk as much of the bridge as they are able before the bridge reopens to traffic.
New for 2018, people can start their Mackinac Bridge Walk from either end of the Mighty Mac and there will be no busses traveling across the bridge during the walk. The immediate response to this announcement was some people being relieved that there will still be a walk at all, while others were bitter about the change and vowed that they will never do the walk again.
While the walk may not feel as dramatic without the large numbers assembled for the start and the long lines to take the buses, we think it will end up being more accessible and that many people will love the change once they experience it!
The new rules mean that people can walk at least a little of the bridge, as long as they arrive before noon. Some people will start at 7AM and walk all the way across the Mackinac Bridge and back to where they started (10 miles). Many will walk all the way across one way, either having arranged to get to the far side of the bridge before the walk, returning by way of Mackinac Island, or returning after the bridge reopens to traffic. Over the next few months, we anticipate a number of options for crossing the Straits of Mackinac before, during or after the walk will become available. Other people will walk part way across (perhaps the middle) and back. As options are announced, they will be added to this page.
Walkers wishing to walk all the way across the Mackinac Bridge must reach the midpoint by 10AM. The same applies to walkers walking ll the way across and back again. Starting at 10AM, the turn around point will start moving from the center toward each end, so that people will have time to return to the end they started from. No one can begin their walk after 11:30AM.
There will be pedestrian ferry departures between Mackinaw City and St. Ignace before the walk, for people who want to do the entire walk one way. In 2017, the cost of the ferry was $15/adult and $8/child (ages 5-12), but 2018 pricing and times have not yet been announced. There may be additional departures during or after the walk, for people who want to walk and then take a ferry back, but as of late April 2018 no details are available. We will post more information as it becomes available.
Another popular option is to take a ferry to Mackinac Island from one of the two mainland communities, have lunch on the Island and then take the ferry to the other community.
People who have never walked the bridge because of physical limitations, or fears of the highest suspended middle, will now be able to experience being on the bridge. Some may go only a few hundred yards, While others may go a mile or more, knowing they can turn around before reaching their limit.
Mackinac Bridge walkers may park on the streets near the foot of the Mackinac Bridge in Mackinaw City, or park in downtown St. Ignace to take a free shuttle from Little Bear Arena to the walk.
To manage the 30-80,000 people who walk the bridge, the following are NOT permitted: smoking, signs, banners, umbrellas, bicycles, roller skates, skateboards, wagons and other similar devices. Baby strollers and wheelchairs are allowed on the bridge during the walk. The ONLY animals permitted are working service dogs.
There are no rest rooms on the bridge, but there are huge banks of portable toilets at both ends. Although the walk can be completed in about an hour, the typical walk all the way across, or to the half way point and back, will take about 90 minutes to 2 hours. No running or jogging is permitted.
For many years, there was a walking race at the beginning of the Mackinac Bridge Walk. Competitors were required to walk heal to toe and running or jogging could result in a disqualification. The mightymac.org Webmaster competed in the walking race in 1967 at age 13 and finished 5th in his age group with a time of about 56 minutes.
In recent years 400 runners and wheeling athletes were permitted to run across the Mackinac Bridge at the start of the walk. They were selected by a lottery and paid a fee to run. There has been no official word if this will happen in the future, but it seems unlikely as of April 2018.
PRIVATE TRAFFIC: In 2017. from 6:30AM - Noon, Northbound I-75 traffic was stopped at Exit 337 on the south end of the bridge; southbound US-2 and I-75 traffic was stopped at Exit 344 on the north side. Portable bathrooms were placed along US-2 for several miles west of the bridge. Water and snack stations were located on US-2 and I-75 north and south of the bridge. Two Mackinac Bridge Authority mechanics patrolled to assist motorists with vehicle problems. (This will be updated when 2018 plans are confirmed)
Mackinac Bridge Walk Fact Sheet & Tips
There is no charge to walk the Mackinac Bridge.