With the prediction of an unseasonably warm autumn, it’s a waiting game to see when nature paints her canvas red and orange across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Fall color typically changes inland first and out toward the lake later. Percentage color change will reflect the range inland to shore across the region. For the coming weekend, viewers will see mostly early color with peak conditions predicted to be in the 25% range.
As we eagerly await fall’s advance, this is a great time to visit the U.P.’s more than 40 lighthouses. Bring your binoculars for better views of the thousands of songbirds, raptors and waterfowl winging their way south on ancient flight paths.
Travelers to the region will enjoy gathering fresh farm produce and thimbleberry jams at roadside stands and along uncongested trails and scenic drives. Fall is also a prime time to check out the area’s four wineries or one of the many microbreweries and tasting rooms that stretch across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
The landscape in Northeastern Michigan is just beginning to show a twinge of color. As with most of the state, viewers will find mostly summer foliage in and around the Alcona area with peak conditions still three to four week away.
The Traverse City area is beginning to see the first glimmerings of autumn color. Most trees are still very green, with an occasional golden highlight or a splash of orange on a few. Shrubs like the cranberries and sumac are also starting to display notes of crimson and magenta, but the big show is still to come. For now, the best color is found at higher elevations away from the water, east and south of Traverse City. Lovely views can be found in the glacier-scoured Chain of Lakes region of Antrim County -- a dramatic landscape of rolling drumlins and long, deep blue glacial lakes. Elk Lake and Torch Lake—two of the area’s largest bodies of water-- are particularly beautiful when the hills in which they nestle are aflame with fall colors.
Additional areas to keep an eye on in coming week include the steep valley of the little Rapid River, whose forested slopes look as though they could have been transported from the Appalachians. The best lookouts can be found near Shanty Creek Resorts in the village of Bellaire. The highlands to the south of Traverse City are dotted with dozens of small lakes, sturdy farm towns and dense forests of evergreens and hardwoods – as well as the majestic Boardman Valley. Much of this intensely varied landscape is contained in the Pere Marquette State Forest, and it is best explored by heading out into the maze of twisting roads that wind through the forests, around lakes and along the tops of high wooded bluffs.
Fal color conditions change quickly. For the most up-to-date forecast, we recommend that you phone the area that you intend to explore ahead of making your final travel plans.
Fall Takes Center Stage
Use the fall travel peak season map and the current fall colors 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 below 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.
Fall Season Camping Discount Coupon
Now thru October 7
Lake Fanny Hooe Resort & Campground
Book a stay at Lake Fanny Hooe Resort & Campground from now thru October 7 and get $2 off per night. Patrons must present a copy of the online coupon located on our website at the time of check-in. This special is not valid with any other offer and subject to availability.
Stay & Play Golf Package Marquette
Now thru October 31
Country Inn & Suites – Marquette
Plan a golf getaway and hit the green. Perfect your swing and treat yourself to a golf package at Marquette’s Country Inn & Suites by Carlson. Enjoy discounted green fees and cart rental of $100 per person at the acclaimed Greywall’s Golf Course. Guest must call the hotel directly to set up tee times. There is a three-day advance reservation required for this special.
Summer Savings in Sault Ste. Marie
Sault Sainte Marie
Now thru October 14
Sault Ste. Marie Convention & Visitors Bureau
Vacation packages and hotel savings are just a click away. Choose from several Sault Ste. Marie participating hotels offering special packages and lodging incentives. Choose from discount coupons and packages starting at $101 per couple.
Weekend Adventure: ATV/ORV
Now thru November 4
Pine Bluff Resort
Located on Big Manistique Lake, this four-season, full-service resort makes the perfect basecamp for your fall color tour. For only $569 per person, your fall weekend adventure package includes cabin rental for four adults (call to inquire on additional guest pricing), meals at the resort’s High Banks Restaurant & Bar ($50 certificate will be provided), up to four ATVs to use on the UP’s extensive trails system Friday and Saturday (must be 21 and have a license and major credit card), helmet rental and a choice of a number of popular ATVs. Taxes and gas are not included.
Visit michigan.org for a complete list of great statewide vacation package deals.
Events & Festivals 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.
David Frizzell & Jett Williams
Sault Sainte Marie
Kewadin Casino, Hotel and Convention Center
David Frizzell and Jett Williams hit the tour circuit again and you can catch their performance at the Kewadin Casinos’ DreamMakers Theater on September 21. Tickets for the show are $18.75. The duo will perform separate shows and then as a special tribute, the two will together sing some of the greatest songs in country music history, including “Your Cheatin’ Heart”, “I’m So Lonesome I could Cry”, and “Hey Good Lookin.
Fall Color Tours by Dog Team
September 15 – October 31
Nature's Kennel Iditarod Sled Dog Racing & Adventures
Prepare for a breathtaking fall color tour riding a sled dog sleigh along the colorful trails of the Eastern UP. The tour runs through beautiful hardwood forests that are a treat to see in the fall. These special fall-color tours take place during morning training runs throughout the season. Your color tour will include a tour of the kennel, an opportunity to hold puppies and an introduction to sled dog. The two-hour tour makes frequent stops for photos before returning to the kennel for a hot drink and homemade treat. The cost for this exciting UP color tour is $75 per person and is limited to two people per session. Children must be over eight years old for this tour. Reservations required.
Erickson Center for the Arts
Patrons attending this 6th annual fest will enjoy live music, beer & German dishes, vendor booths, chainsaw art demonstrations, games, youth events, face painting, a best dressed Bavarian contest, door prizes—and lots of fun.
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.