Here's another Michigan stop that most of us have made along the way north: the Cross in the Woods in Indian River, next to Burt Lake.

In the 1940’s, Father Charles D. Brophy had a desire to build the world’s largest crucifix. After getting permission in 1952, construction of the cross began. The 15-foot-tall base was made of concrete & steel, the 55-foot tall cross from redwood timber. It took only two days to finish.

However, the figure of Christ took somewhat longer. A sculptor named Marshall Fredericks made the figure from scratch. He drew sketches from which he made a mold, and then poured bronze into the mold, creating a seven-ton, 28-foot tall figure. The figure was shipped from Norway to America and on August 9, 1959, the cross & figure were complete.

It was named the “Indian River Catholic Shrine” but changed to “Cross in the Woods” in 1983.

But what about those stairs? 28 steps were placed in 1956, four years after the crucifix and 3 years before the Christ figure. Named “The Holy Stairs”, they represent the 28 stairs Jesus climbed as he confronted Pontius Pilate.

It shouldn’t really matter what religion you subscribe to…this is a pretty awesome sight to behold and almost half a million people visit this every year.

In the area, there is some great camping available at Burt Lake, and plenty of souvenir & jerky shops.

Add Indian River to your Michigan Roadtrip itinerary!