From mid-September to the end of October, Michigan lights up with a blaze of fall color. All over the state, the weather gets a little cooler, the days a little shorter, and the leaves begin to turn. Peak Fall Color is fast approaching; so, you’ll want plan your Michigan fall color tour today.
Yellow is making a strong showing among the Chippewa County Aspens, oaks, Tamarack, and beech species with the area forecasting 25-50 percent peak color conditions for the up-coming weekend. A full spectrum of vibrant fall color is expected to sweep across the Chippewa area in one to two more weeks. The eastern end of the Upper Peninsula is at about 40-50 percent; but further inland, color is only about 30 percent. Looking for a fall adventure? Look no further than Sault Ste. Marie! The Sault is the perfect hub for a weekend getaway; with the Soo Locks Park filled with amazing trees that are filling with color.
Color on Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula is still a work in progress. The reds and yellows are showing up mainly in the southern portion of the Keweenaw around the Twin Lakes area, but can also be found along some of the roadsides as you head north to the tip. Color in the Copper Harbor area is very minimal at this time; however viewers can get a glimpse of red and yellow maples and some red oaks.
Just east of Traverse City, in Michigan’s northwest region, you’ll find two watery jewels of the Michigan landscape--Elk Lake and Torch Lake-- beloved by generations of cottage owners but relatively unknown to the outside world. Even less famous is the steep valley of the little Rapid River, whose forested slopes look as though they were transported from somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains. Head north from Traverse City's eastern edge on US- 31, following the highway as it carves its way past orchards and farms along the shore of East Bay. At the lively little port of Elk Rapids, turn right at the light and follow Ames Street (which becomes the Cairn Highway) along the northern shore of Elk Lake, through the village of Kewadin and southward again on County Road 593. This road will take you along the eastern shore of the lake, across the Torch River as it empties into Torch Lake, and into the village of Rapid City. Continue east on 593 (now known also as Valley Road) as it winds its way up through the narrow valley of the Rapid River. A good stop here is at The Seven Bridges, where the river separates briefly into several braided streams. Continue up the valley past Rugg Pond-- another very scenic area where Ernest Hemingway once camped during a teenage fishing trip--until the road ends at M-72. Turn right and follow the highway west to Traverse City, where you'll pass a dramatic vista of Elk Lake and nearby Lake Skegemog.
The Traverse Bay region’s kaleidoscope is boasting crimson, gold, red and yellow maples, along with crimson and russet oaks and a splash of gold and purple on a variety of other trees. With 25 percent saturation, peak conditions are projected to arrive in one or two more weeks.
Alpena’s bronze hickory and red, gold and yellow maples and oaks, make a dramatic statement against a backdrop of mostly summer leaves. It is anticipated that the area will peak in coming weeks.
The Gaylord area is currently approaching 25 percent peak with its yellow Aspens and red maples and oak; however, color throughout the area is still expected to be fairly limited for this weekend viewing.
Visitors to Alcona and surrounding communities will find a beautiful burst of yellow Aspens throughout the vicinity. With most other trees still displaying predominately summer foliage; peak conditions are still three to four weeks away.
The Charlevoix area is reporting color change ranging from golden yellow and bronze to red crimson and purple among the Aspens, beech, hickory, maples. The color is most prevalent along the wetland areas along US-131 north of Cadillac. Good color is also visible on the hillsides east of Mancelona and in the Chandler Hills area northwest of Gaylord.
North Central Michigan
In the North Central Lower Peninsula, the season brings an abundance of violet and amethyst blossoms among the Chicory and English Aster plants, which provide a colorful welcome for the full-out gilt of the Golden Rod and the emerging yellows of Poplar and Birch trees found throughout the Alcona vicinity. This coming weekend, viewers can fill up on multi-grain pancakes at the Tin Fish Boathouse in Hubbard Lake. Then head on over to the Black Bear Festival on September 29, and discover how autumn is celebrated in Curran.
Currently reporting 26-50 percent peak conditions, the Grand Haven area rolls out a fall-color itinerary that you want to travel to view the colors at their best.
Lakeshore Drive, just south of downtown Grand Haven, is a beautiful 40-mile round-trip drive or bike ride between Grand Haven and Holland. You’ll spot fall colors along the way at Rosy Mound Natural Area, and Kirk Park or Olive Shores parks. Downtown Grand Haven also has color along Harbor Drive, the Grand River, and Lake Michigan.
Leaving downtown, take M-104 east through Spring Lake and stop at Vander Mill Cider & Winery to grab some apple cider and their famous cider donuts. Plan enough time for a sampling of their hard cider tastings and be sure to pick up lots of yummy Michigan-made goods such as honey, jams, and more.
Take the next right (South) at 148th Avenue and follow it to Leonard Road and take a left to follow it down a beautiful stretch through the country side for a burst of red, yellow, gold, bronze, and pale cream.
Take a right (South) at 68th towards Allendale. Follow 68th Avenue until you reach Lake Michigan Drive/M-45.
From here you can choose to go east towards the Grand Valley State University campus—absolutely stunning in fall-- or back west towards Grand Haven or both.
Follow Waverly in Grand Haven east to Mercury Drive to get on Historic River Road. You can follow it east along the Grand River all the way to 68th Avenue in Eastmanville.
East Central Michigan
The Lexington area is displaying yellow Aspens, Pale cream beech, bronze hickory, red maples, russet oaks and a splash of purple can also be spotted in the area. This charming harbor hamlet along the Lake Huron shore is anticipated length of time until peak tree color arrives is still three or four weeks away.
State parks along M-25 are a great place to see the fall colors and squeeze in a brisk a walk along the beach. Your fall color tour of these maritime communities won’t be complete without a detour to see the Fort Gratiot, Port Sanilac and Point Aux Barques lighthouses.
The area is still mostly dominated by summer foliage; but a slight showing of red, yellows, golds russet and pale cream has begun to make a presence here. It is expected that peak will take place within the next one or two weeks.
The locust trees lining Phoenix Street in downtown South Haven have started turning a golden yellow brightening the shopping district and inspiring everyone to declare that fall is really here. Be sure to stop for a warm cup of coffee or hot chocolate at the Golden Brown Bakery or the Chocolate Cafe. Or, plan time to browse the Farmer's Market (open on Wednesday and Saturday only) to stock up on locally-grown fall veggies and beautiful floral arrangements for the week.
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 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.
Marquette Harbor Cruise Package
Now thru October 18
Comfort Suites – Marquette
Cruise into your day when you stay with us. This package includes two adult passes for a two hour narrated cruise on Lake Superior on the Isle Royal Queen III per night. You must contact the hotel directly to reserve your cruise. Booking this package does not guarantee your spot on any cruise. Upgrades and additional tickets are available for purchase.
Chippewa Romantic Getaway
Now thru October 25, 2012
Honeymoon, anniversary, birthday, or "just because"... This package is the perfect getaway. Rates start at $360 per night and include accommodations for two nights in a beautiful Romantic Suite with a great view of the harbor, breakfast for two each morning in the Pink Pony Dining Room, a bottle of champagne with keepsake glasses, strawberries, a box of assorted chocolates covered with nuts, turndown service, and your choice of two 60-minute Lilac Tree Spa treatment. Rate based on two-night minimum stay Sunday thru Thursday, excluding holidays.
Fall Escape Package
Now thru October 25, 2012
Lilac Tree Hotel & Spa
Have you ever experienced fall in Northern Michigan? If not–here is your opportunity. If so–here is another opportunity. Either way, it'll be special. Choice of two half-hour Lilac Tree spa treatments or carriage tour for two, breakfast each morning in the Harbor View Dining Room, and a half pound of Mackinac Island Fudge. Only $200 per night. Based on a two night minimum stay Sunday thru Thursday, excluding holidays. For more information, call (866) 847-6575.
Mackinac Memories Package
Now thru October 27, 2012
Lake View Hotel
Rates start at $157.50 per night and include deluxe accommodations, Mackinac Island Carriage Tour, Historic Fort Mackinac Tour, complimentary continental breakfast, roundtrip ferry service, 10% off dinner entrees in Goodfellow's preferred Guest Value Card, and full use of our indoor heated pool, spa, and sauna. These super package prices based on double occupancy with a two night stay. Price will vary depending on how many days you will be staying and how many room occupants there are.
Fall Bed & Breakfast Package
Now thru October 27, 2012
This cozy package is designed to provide greater dining flexibility for Grand Hotel guests. Package includes a full breakfast, accommodations in one of our 385 uniquely-decorated guest rooms, and all resort amenities. Rates start at $279 per room, per night, for up to four people.
Greywalls Golf Package Marquette
Now thru November 30
Days Inn – Marquette
Greywalls--a No. 2 rated golf course--pairs with this local hotel to offer one round of golf and cart for up to two people per stay. Add an additional for player $110. For more information on this promotion, call (906) 225-1393.
Stay Free at Crystal Mountain
Now thru December 1, 2012
Stay one or two nights and get one free on select dates when you book your Lodging Only or Unlimited Golf Package! Enjoy a free night’s lodging during select dates at Crystal Mountain--one of northern Michigan’s finest resorts. Relax in luxurious accommodations. Enjoy our large outdoor pool playground, miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, two championship golf courses, award-winning Crystal Spa, and loads of family activities, all just 30 miles from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore--voted America’s Most Beautiful Place by 2011 Good Morning America viewers.
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.
Bessemer's Pumpkin Festival 2012
September 27 -30, 2012
Bessemer Chamber of Commerce
This Upper Peninsula community stages an old-fashioned fall festival which includes craft fair, vendors and games, food, scarecrow contest—and much, much more.
Au Sable Day 2012
September 29, 2012
Au Sable Light Station
Event includes special tours of the light station and transportation to and from the light for those with mobility challenges. Hours are from 11am-4pm. For more information, call (906)387-3700.
Acme Fall Festival
September 29, 2012
This annual fall festival will feature classic cars, antique tractors, crafts, farmers market, pancake breakfast, chicken BBQ, dessert contest, live music, kids events and more.
Autumn in the Islands
September 29-30, 2012
Celebrate our spectacular autumn weather with a Michigan wine tasting, barn-style dance, BBQ foods, hay rides, and games for kids and adults. With seasonal favorites like cider and doughnuts, pumpkins and a treasure hunt in the hay, there’s sure to be something for the whole family to do.
October 5-6, 2012
Explore the wooden palisade of Colonial Michilimackinac at twilight and experience the legends and lore of the Native Americans, French Canadians and British who called this home. French voyageurs tell eerie tales by campfire as you pass down the trail of lantern lights. Werewolves howl over the palisaded fort as you enter the gate patrolled by skeleton Redcoats. Get goodies from colonial fireplaces, hear spooky stories and if you're a brave soul--enter the haunted rowhouse. Children will love the great treat bags.
Great Waters Festival
October 6-7, 2012
St. Ignace City Marina
The bounty of fall and the best that Michigan has to offer-- that's what you’ll find at this festival. Visit the tents and partake in Made in Michigan crafts, foods, beverages and live music. Join the Crabby Apple Road race, try your hand at The Great Pumpkin Roll and enjoy the free-family-friendly activities in the St. Ignace Marina parking lot.
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.