Michigan's (once) lost gem: Stagecoach Stop Western Resort brings new life to Irish Hills area

The Stagecoach Stop Western Resort sits on US-12 in Michigan's Irish Hills area. (WDIV)
The Stagecoach Stop Western Resort sits on US-12 in Michigan's Irish Hills area. (WDIV)

ONSTED, Mich. – What once was a bustling area of recreation and family fun along US-12 in Michigan's Irish Hills area shut its doors a decade ago.

The Stagecoach Stop in Onsted that once was home to all sorts of western-themed attractions seemed to have met the same fate as a dinosaur theme park down the street, which shuttered in 1999 and remains dark.

Or so it appeared.

While it did sit empty for some time, new management moved in last year to bring new life to the location, which opened in 1965, by transforming it into the Stagecoach Stop Western Resort.

This past spring, a hotel on the property was renovated. The revitalization of the rooms included the addition of wood from a local barn to add rustic flair, as well as a new, full kitchen for guests to share. 

There's also a fire pit and playground, and a pool now takes the place of what once was a mine-themed roller coaster.

In the warmer months, campers are available to rent on the property.

Activities that were once staples at the Stagecoach Stop have also returned in the summer months.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the wild west is alive as cowboys have gunfights between the old wooden buildings.

There's panning for gold, a hayride and a petting zoo, as well as a gift shop and arcade. Further back, the property has an amphitheater and the old buildings that once housed goldsmiths and other western demonstrations.

In the fall, the land is used for a haunted trifecta, featuring a haunted hayride, caboose and walk-through. 

All year, the Stagecoach Stop and Cowboy Creek Lodge Hotel are hosts to an array of events, including weddings and family reunions.

The banquet and event hall, like the hotel, includes barn-wood accents, as well as wagon-wheel lights and a large stage.

Just across the street, the Stagecoach Saloon Bar at the Ol’ Golden Nugget is newly updated and ready for business. The weekend bar, on par with the rest of the area's theme, is rustic and welcoming, with a country atmosphere.

Barrel barstools line the stocked bar, and there's a small stage for DJs and performers, as well as a billiards table and a round fireplace to sit around.

The bar is open Fridays and Saturdays at 5 p.m.

Next door is an escape room set in an old train caboose. The room is open all year long.

Management is also in the process of attempting to get occupants into some of the property's unused buildings.

While growing the Stagecoach Stop to what it once was will take time, strides have been made to turn the ghost town into a western haven, complete with modern amenities and old charm.

The Stagecoach Stop Western Resort is at 7203 US-12, Onsted.

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