Northern Michigan Indian River Pilgrimage

August 03, 2019
Indian River, MI

Join other traditional Catholics from around Michigan for what will become an annual event to help "Restore all Things in Christ."

Men and teenage boys are invited to attend this newly established pilgrimage that will start in Trowbridge, Michigan, and conclude at the world-famous Cross in the Woods Shrine in Indian River, Michigan. This is home to the largest crucifix in the world. It is expected that only during this inaugural year (known as the “zero year” due to it being a trial run) will this only be open to adult men & teen males. In 2020 the plan is that this will transition to a complete family event that will include all from infants in strollers to those who are aged.

Pilgrimage time and location:
This year the pilgrimage will be held from on Saturday, August 3rd. The path is 14.25 miles over crushed rock on roads that are part of an old railroad bed. The pilgrimage begins in Trowbridge (This is the east side of where Trowbridge Road crosses I-75 – more specifically the intersection of Trowbridge road and Lance Lake Road) and concludes in Indian River.  To get to the starting point, go to the Wolverine exit off I-75 and go past the train depot and find where Trowbridge Road heads south and go just over 3 miles until you cross the I-75 freeway.

Significance of this pilgrimage:
This pilgrimage is to Indian River which is home to the largest crucifix in the world. When the church was originally planned it was scheduled to be named after Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, the 17th century Mohawk Indian maiden who had become a Catholic. The plan in the 1940’s in Indian River to name the church after her had to be abandoned due to the fact that she had not officially been canonized. She loved to make small crosses and place them in the woods in trees for simple little shrines. In commemoration of this act, small wooden crosses of any size will be made and then placed in trees along the entire route of the pilgrimage. Participants are welcome to make and place as many hand-made crosses on a simple string that will typically blend into their natural surroundings. Please try to use all natural materials such as wood, raffia or jute rope, etc.

Pilgrimage Intentions:
The Northern Michigan Indian River Pilgrimage has a threefold intention: 1) To effect a Catholic restoration of our country for the Social Kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2) For religious vocations, both current and future, for priests, sisters and the monastic. 3) The final special intention will be announced prior to the start of the pilgrimage.

Register for the Pilgrimage:
To register please contact the pilgrimage coordinator, John Wurm at (785-260-3186 or email [email protected].) Either method of contact is fine, but please make sure that you have been confirmed so we know who is attending. We have limited transportation options for vehicle shuttling. For this year, there will be no specific suggested donation. Any funds collected will be used to pay for specific expenses of the pilgrimage and any unused funds will be a carryover and applied to future years. 

What we Provide:
Along with shuttle transportation we will also provide a very basic pilgrimage booklet. For this initial year there will be no vehicle that will be following us along the route, so participants should be physically able to walk the full 14 miles. In the early part of the morning there will be several basic restroom stops along the way. The afternoon portion will have no restroom facilities once we leave the lunch site, so please keep this in mind.

Things to Bring the Day of the Pilgrimage:
comfortable walking shoes that are broken in, a change of socks, a rosary, a poncho (in case it rains,) sunscreen, a hat (optional), insect repellant, as well as ample water, snacks, and a lunch. Please avoid bringing little else due to the fact that these items will just weigh you down.

Schedule for Saturday, August 3:

8:30-9:00 Arrival at Trowbridge

8:30am - 9:15am  Take drivers to designated lunch site known as the North Central State Trail Parking (or Wolverine if short on time) and make initial vehicle drop – shuttle back drivers

9:30am - Step off

11:30am or 12:00pm - Arrive at lunch site

12:00pm - 1:00pm - Lunch and shuttle vehicles to Indian River Shrine designated parking site

1:00pm - Step off for Indian River

4:00pm - 5:00pm - Expected time to arrive at shrine site – if desired and time permits, we will plan to pray our final rosary as a group at the foot of the cross. Upon conclusion there will be an open tour of the largest collection of dolls in the world that are all dressed in historical religious attire. There are over 500 of these dolls and the gift shop will also be open. Dinner after the event will be on your own and we will try to coordinate something as a group for those who would like to do so.

6:00 – Shrine closes, but participants depart as desired.


Local Accommodation Options:

Sturgeon Valley Campground
Located about 1/2 mile north of Trowbridge starting point on right side of the trail.
Showers and many services
(This would likely be the possible overnight location in the event that this ever becomes both a one-day event with added optional second day. It is possible to eventually host a Friday & Saturday pilgrimage with group tenting. A two-day event would possibly start off using the Gaylord trailhead) 
(231) 525-8301

Haakwood State Forest Campground
Located about 5 miles north of Trowbridge starting point 
18 sites - very rustic - first come basis
(231) 238-9392

Toasty’s Cabins
Located about 6 miles north of starting point off the trail
(231) 525-8101

Burt Lake State Park
Indian River 
(231) 238-9392

Cedar Bend Farm
Not near the trail (Located near Mancelona)
Overnight group structure accommodation
Cost is usually in the $20 per person range with minimum numbers depending on the specific building reserved. This farm was converted to accommodations and designated as a spiritual getaway for various religious denominations.
(231) 587-8126

For more information or additional questions, contact the pilgrimage coordinator, John Wurm at (785-260-3186 or [email protected]). All participants are asked to provide feedback and suggestions following the event. Thank you.

Viva Cristo Rey!