Most of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is at or near peak conditions; so, you really can’t go wrong with color viewing once you cross the Mighty Mac, where the Peninsula is a blaze of yellow, bronze, gold and reds. In and around Chippewa, viewers will find some of the best places to see the fall foliage at the Cut River Bridge’s forested river valley west of St. Ignace, Pictured Rocks along Lake Superior in Munising, or Tahquamenon Falls in Paradise.
A variety of colors are now showing on scenic drives in the Keweenaw among the area’s Aspens, beech, hickory, maples oaks and tamaracks. Brockway Mountain Drive offers a spectacular view of the surrounding area, where colors are grand. The most prevalent colors are red and orange, with splashes of yellow. Cruise the shoreline of Lake Superior at roadside parks or at one of the many restaurants and shops along the shore.
Northwest Lower Peninsula
Strokes of beautiful fall hues are developing rapidly throughout Charlevoix county with peak conditions a week or two away. This weekend, viewers will find the most saturation in the eastern part of the county in the Chandler Hills area. For a great color tour, locals recommend a drive along Thumb Lake Road (C-48) starting north of Vanderbilt to Boyne Falls. Continue on C-48 through the hilly country roads through East Jordan and Elsworth, ending at US-31 in Atwood.
An explosion of fall color makes everything in the Petoskey Area of northern Michigan even more beautiful, more memorable. A montage of red, orange and yellow provides the perfect backdrop for our charming Victorian towns. And somehow, makes the royal blue of Little Traverse Bay appear even bluer.
You can take in the autumn beauty with a leisurely bike ride along the lakeshore. Or hop on a chair lift and enjoy the panoramic view. From the chair lifts, you can see many of the area’s 16 golf courses. The colors that border the lush green fairways make fall golf here absolutely unforgettable.
Of course, no trip to the area this time of year would be complete without a tour of the famous Tunnel of Trees, which boasts its spectacular burst of fall majesty.
The Old Mission Peninsula juts bravely into Grand Traverse Bay, nearly 20 miles long and in some places as little as a mile wide. A beautiful patchwork of orchards, vineyards, forests and villages, it's the perfect place for a morning or afternoon drive that combines fall color with beautiful views of the bay, visits to wineries and roadside fruit stands and unforgettable meals at several charming restaurants. Follow M-37 (Center Road) north from Traverse City. The road begins with a steep climb through pleasant residential and orchard country, descends to the shore of East Bay and gradually climbs again to a spectacular view point near the Chateau Grand Traverse winery that overlooks both East and West Grand Traverse Bays. About a mile past the charming town of Mapleton, turn right onto Smoky Hollow Road and follow it down through vineyards and orchards to the quiet village of Old Mission, the oldest permanent settlement in the region. Take a left turn onto Swaney Road and follow it back to M-37, where a right turn will have you heading north to the picturesque Old Mission Point lighthouse. On the return journey, head back south on M-37 to Mapleton. Here you'll turn right onto Bowers Harbor Road and follow it down to the shore of West Bay. Keeping to the left, you'll return to Traverse City by way of Peninsula Drive, a pleasant residential road that skirts the shore of the bay with wonderful views of isolated Power Island, Neahtawanta Point and the distant hills of the Leelanau Peninsula. Peak conditions are less than a week away.
Northeast Lower Peninsula
A popular Alcona route for color viewing by car is around the water. Long Lake and Grand Lake are two picturesque bodies of water that circle the area in a mosaic of magnificent fall color. Attention-grabbing side trips include stops at two historic lighthouses and a natural area that was the site of an old logging village. Hubbard Lake--the largest inland lake in Northeast Michigan--is located among the forests and hills of Alcona County and offers excellent roads that connect with US-23, F-41 and M-72, and offer miles of colorful woodlands for great views of the lake and samples of brilliant fall foliage. The area--now showcasing a beautiful canvas of bronze, crimson, gold, pale cream, purple, red, russet and yellow--is less than one week away from peak color conditions.
In Alpena and surrounding area, Mother Nature seems to be holding back on the eagerly-awaited autumnal color show. A few impatient cast members--maples with their scarlet and persimmon dressings and poplars with their vibrant yellow jackets--are putting on a little side show of their own, while the rest of the cast for the grand production waits behind a curtain of green leaves. Fall is the perfect time to have dinner at the Eagle Ridge Golf Club in Glennie then travel a little further west to catch a splendorous sunset across the Alcona Pond. Displaying a gorgeous array of fall colors, the region expects to be at peak conditions in one or two more weeks.
Heading east, in an around the Gaylord area, are beautiful reds, yellows and golds, as beech and maples trees take center stage for the area’s fall color presentation. Now, is the perfect time to catch a glimpse of fall’s brilliance as the area is currently displaying peak color.
A bit further south, the Grayling area is predicting peak conditions this coming weekend. Although the southern part of the county is somewhat behind the northern portion, color conditions are good. Traveling along M-93 toward Hartwick Pines State Park is particular striking against a background of rich dark greens pines, making the bronze and russet oaks, along with the area’s gold, red and yellow maples especially vibrant. For a nice circular drive, take M-93 to County Road 612, then head west into Frederic and take Old 27 south back into Grayling. Make plans to visit the area soon, as reporters are forecasting peak conditions in less than a week.
Southeastern Michigan’s fall color route skirts three waterways to the maritime city of Port Huron and rolls through historic towns that weave through the region. October offers the best time for viewing autumn hues at a variety of region’s parks, while stopping to taste seasonal treats at cider mills , roadside markets and u-pick farms along the way.
From city scenes and sand dunes to wineries, farm markets and Lake Michigan sunsets, southwest Michigan welcomes leaf-peepers to view their color show along country roads, trails, and back roads all across the region. This region’s color is best enjoyed from early to late October.
For more details on these two regions as well as fall color tours and city tours for other parts of the state, visit our Pure Michigan road trips.
Fall Takes Center Stage
Use the fall travel peak-season map and the current fall-color report to guide you toward the best time to take a Pure Michigan fall vacation. Look through the Michigan Fall Color Tours on michigan.org to help plan a route whether your interests lie in urban fun or in nature, away from the hustle and bustle.
Fall is the best time to savor quiet pleasures at beaches, fine restaurants, farm markets and art galleries. Bite into fresh produce at farmers markets across the state. Discover places to relax and reconnect; take a deep breath of crisp, Pure Michigan autumn air.
The peak color map and the fall color information at the links below will guide you toward the best time to view Michigan's fall-color show.
Michigan Fall Color Tours
Pure Michigan Fall Ads
Deals & Packages near This Week's Peak Color Region
Need a last-minute weekend getaway? Looking for a cheap cottage vacation package? You're sure to find the perfect Michigan vacation package to save money for the day or to help extend your stay with Pure Michigan. Let us help you with some suggestions for fall getaway packages that you can take advantage of this week.
A Grand 125th Celebration
Pure Michigan: $181 per person
Now thru October 29
Fall is a beautiful and quiet time at Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. Our Pure Michigan Package is $181 per person per night, based on double occupancy, and includes a full breakfast and five-course dinner daily, free golf (cart fee required) and a box of fudge. Buy two nights and get a third night free or stay one night and receive the second night for half price. Or, come celebrate the Somewhere in Time weekend. The romantic getaway includes a special screening of the movie filmed at Grand Hotel, discussions of the production process a visit with cast and crew members, cocktail receptions—and a full breakfast and five-course dinner daily. Guests are invited to dress in period attire for the weekend. Our Somewhere in Time weekend is $985 per couple.
Our Fall Rates & Color are both Eye-Catching
Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area
Packages starting at $79/per person, per night, based on double occupancy
Now thru October 31
If you think all fall color is the same, then you’ll want to visit the Petoskey Area where you’ll experience six color tours already mapped out. The routes were chosen because of the stunning vistas and the kaleidoscope of color that surrounds you. A favorite leads through the spectacular Tunnel of Trees. Take advantage of great rates on lodging that put you close to boutique shopping and famous golf courses.
Fall Escapes in Bellaire
Special packages and discounts on your fall getaway starting at $94/person
Now thru October 31
One Day at a Time. That’s the pace of life Up North. And in the charming village of Bellaire, we add passion to what we do each day. We welcome guests to our quaint bed & breakfasts and into our boutiques and coffee shops. We manicure golf courses. We serve eclectic meals and hand-crafted beers. Then we watch the sun set behind the woods and water of northern Michigan before a million stars come alive. Specials include stay and play golf packages, bed & breakfast fall tour packages, and area shopping discounts. Come see for yourself and you might find the pace just right in Bellaire. You’re welcome in Bellaire.
Passport to Fun Package
Great overnight fall rates and free passport coupon package – value $175
Now thru October 31
Autumn is the perfect time to visit “The Most Beautiful Place in America”--drive M-22, enjoy Benzie County’s Fall Festival every weekend in October, attend the Frankfort Film Festival and take in the breathtaking fall colors. Great room rates and your “Passport to Fun” package are waiting for you. Stay two or more consecutive nights at one of our participating lodging properties and we’ll load you up with lots of fun things to do, taste and see.
Prices Fall--Fun for All
Discounted and value-added B&B stays
Now thru October 31
September may be Michigan’s fairest month of all. Pesky bugs have retreated. The days stay warm and sunny. The sky is mostly blue. The nights turn crisp. Lines are shorter. Resort-town gift shops offer end-of season sales. Lunch and a cocktail can still be enjoyed in the great outdoors. Our bed and breakfast innkeepers don’t want you to miss a moment. These great deals and added-value amenities are guaranteed to make your October get-away extra special.
Traverse City’s Affordable “Fab Fall” Specials
Specials on lodging, shopping, dining, wineries and spas
Now thru December 20
Autumn is an enchanting time in Traverse City – perfect for a shopping adventure, a round of championship golf, or a tour of the lovely wine country. Traverse City’s “Fab Fall” getaway special, available at over 20 participating resorts and hotels, combines low hotel rates with discounts on shopping, dining, wine purchases, movies, and spa services. Specials must be directly booked through participating hotels. (Just make sure to ask for the Fab Fall special.) Click the link above for a list of details, including participating hotels.
Rejuvenation One Night Spa Package
Now thru November 3
Your rejuvenation spa package includes one night accommodations, one breakfast per person and your choice of one spa treatment of $99 value or less per person at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. Midweek prices start at $189 per person in the Hotel and weekend at $196 per person in the hotel.
Holidays on Crystal-- Columbus Day Deal
Receive a free night's lodging at Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa when you stay with us during select holiday dates. Stay two nights; get a third night free when staying October 4-6, 2012.
Visit michigan.org for a complete list of great statewide vacation package deals.
Events near This Week's Peak Color Region
Cooler nights, crisp days, brilliant color, pumpkin patches, winery tours and festivals galore--it has to be autumn in Michigan. Check out this week’s sampling of great Michigan fall events.
Bite of Beaver Island and Island Boodle 5K Run
Walk or run past lighthouses, fall fields and blue water on this 5K, scenic lakefront route that starts in St. James. Take a ferry or a chartered plane to the unspoiled island to taste the specialties of professional and amateur regional chefs.
Fall Colors Bridge Race
Enter this colorful race and experience a breathtaking view of the season’ splendor from the top of the Mackinac Bridge—truly a most unique opportunity to get an up-close view of Mighty Mac and get a birds-eye view of the area’s fall brilliance.
Boyne City Harvest Festival
The Harvest Festival is held in Boyne City's downtown with music, crafts and fall produce. Portions of Water Street and Lake Street will be closed to traffic during the festival to make room for the Farmers Market, music and more than 30 arts and craft vendors. The festival will also include folk art demonstrations, children's games, hay rides and a scarecrow-making contest.
Sleeping Bear Marathon & Half Marathon
Join us for a scenic marathon and half marathon in the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Both races start and finish in Empire. The out-and-back marathon course will take runners by the "Dune Climb", past Little Glen Lake, and through the village of Glen Arbor with breathtaking views of the Manitou Islands and Sleeping Bear Dunes along the way. The half marathon will follow the same course as the marathon, turning around at the 6.5 mile mark. At the peak of fall color season, the tree-lined course will be one that both runners and spectators won't soon forget.
Great Lake Lighthouse Festival
October 11 – 14
This four-day event provides activities for the young and old including lighthouse tours (aerial, boat or personal vehicle), entertainment and vendors. The festival boasts over 100 maritime related vendors including lighthouse preservation groups, artists, authors--and much more.
Fall on the Island Festival 2012
October 12 – 14
This colorful island event features carnival rides, live music and strolling entertainment all day long. There will also be artisan vendors, kids' games, juggling, magic, flea market, trolley rides and the taste of Drummond Island. Join people of all ages and abilities for the 5K race and finish up the day with the pub crawl (free bus service) and vote for the best decorated bar and best dressed employee.
October 13 – 27
Crystal Mountain welcomes all to brave the haunted forest--if you dare. Warm by the fire as the chill of distant screams fill the air. Tiptoe down the haunted trail, where frights lurk at every turn. Stay out of the Headless Horseman’s path and walk with the guide for a safe return. The event is recommended for ages nine and up.
Zip of Terror
October 20 & 26-27
Get ready for a spine-tingling experience unlike anything you’ve ever done before! The Zip of Terror is an after dark self-guided tour of Boyne Mountain’s ten zip-lines. You’ll be suited up with a zip-line harness and helmet and sent on your way to navigate amongst the darkness illuminated only by a faint glow to mark the path as you travel through the chilling scene. Costumed guides hook you in to each of the ten lines of terror and send you flying through the night and dropping over 50 stories from start to finish. But be wary, as you are not alone in these woods and fright lurks around every corner. WARNING: The Zip of Terror is hair-raising experience, not recommended for the faint of heart. Reservations are required.
Visit michigan.org for a complete list of great statewide events.
Get the Inside Scoop
Connect and get the inside scoop on where color is peaking at the Pure Michigan Connect blog. Take a minute to comment on the blog posts, or submit one of your own.
Follow @PureMichigan on Twitter for the latest fall color news. Join the Pure Michigan Fan Page on Facebook to stay up-to-date on all the latest events in Michigan and talk to others with the same love for Michigan.