Munising - Newberry - Grand Marais

Mother Nature's paintbrush gets a workout in Michigan each autumn. Beginning in mid-September her fall palette washes over the Upper Peninsula, complementing the blue-greens of the Great Lakes, and the white birch bark and deep evergreens of forests that envelop miles of quiet country roads.

Best Enjoyed: Mid-September to Early October
Approximate Length: 170 miles

Some of the most remote, yet accessible, territory in the UP is between Munising and Grand Marais in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Sculpted by wind and water and painted by mineral-rich seepage, the towering sandstone cliffs along Lake Superior are among Michigan's most spectacular natural wonders.

Begin a tour at the Pictured Rocks/Hiawatha National Forest Interagency Visitor Center at the park's western gateway of Munising. This harbor town of about 2,500 is the departure point for regularly scheduled, 2-1/2 hour, narrated Pictured Rocks Boat Cruises. Hikers can tackle all or a portion of the 43 mile Pictured Rocks segment of The North Country Trail (NCT), a national scenic hiking route from North Dakota to New York (this is the only major segment of National Park Service land on the entire NCT).

Motorists will want to pack a picnic before heading out on scenic county road H-58, the main driving route---portions of which are unpaved. Allow time for visits to sites such as Munising Falls, Miners Falls, and Miners Castle, the most-photographed of the park's sandstone landmarks. The route also offers short hikes to additional waterfalls, rock hounding along Lake Superior and other scenic spots, including the Au Sable Light. Still in operation, the white conical tower with black lantern was built in 1874. Grand Sable Lake, Grand Sable Dunes and Sable Falls anchor the eastern end of the park. Note: the Grand Sable Visitor Center located here is open only until September 29. 

From the tiny town of Grand Marais, the eastern anchor of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, continue east to Muskallonge Lake State Park, situated between the shores of Lake Superior and Muskallonge Lake. This was the booming lumbering town of Deer Park in the late 1880's, and before that an Indian encampment. Follow county road H 37 south to the intersection of highway 123. From here you can head north for a scenic trip to the state park at Tahquamenon Falls, or turn south to Newberry. Just a mile and a half before town is the Tahquamenon Logging Museum, a complex that includes Civilian Conservation Corps buildings, a one-room school house, pioneer home, nature trail and lumberjack cookshack, where the public can occasionally enjoy bountiful breakfasts (in season).

At M-28 head west to Seney National Wildlife Refuge, a safe haven for migratory birds, especially Canada Geese. The seven-mile Marshland Wildlife Drive takes you through a small portion of the 95,455-acre mix of marsh, swamp, bog, grasslands and forest habitat. Bicycling, hiking and canoeing are also permitted. Early morning and evening are the best time to spot eagles, beavers, black bears, deer and a multitude of other wildlife that call Seney home.

Continue about 34 miles west along "The Seney Stretch." Fall color adds seasonal interest to the long, strait roadway, often recognized as the state's most boring route. The highway leads back to Munising and two of the area's 17 waterfalls, including roadside Alger Falls. Be sure to take a short detour to Wagner Falls Scenic Site, just west of M-28 on M-94. At 22 acres it's the smallest park in the state system. A worthwhile, half-mile trail through virgin pine and hemlock trees takes you to an observation deck overlooking the falls---an appropriate end to a fall color tour. 

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
PO Box 40
Munising, MI 49862-0040
Phone: (906) 387-3700
Multicolored sandstone cliffs, beaches, sand dunes, waterfalls, inland lakes, streams, forests and wildlife comprise this scenic area on Lake Superior. Activities include sightseeing, camping, kayaking, backpacking, hiking, fishing, hunting, picnicking, boating, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, a maritime museum, a lighthouse and a visitor's center. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore stands out among the rest as having a reputation for being one of the most spectacular parks to give ice climbing a go — whether you are a novice or an experienced climber. Dogs on a leash no longer than six feet are allowed on Miners Beach.
Hiawatha National Forest Munising
400 E. Munising Avenue
Munising, MI 49862
Phone: (906) 387-4918
District office for the following: Pete's Lake, Widewaters, Island Lake, Bay Furnace, AuTrain Lake campgrounds. Valley Spur cross country ski trail is located in the heart of the UP's snow belt. Trails are groomed for classical and skating. Lodge is open weekends and additional days as possible. First Saturday in March is "Taste & Glide," an eat and ski event.
Pictured Rocks Cruises
100 City Park Drive
PO Box 355
Munising, MI 49862
Phone: (906) 387-2379
Voted #1 boat tour in the state of Michigan by Michigan Living. Pictured Rocks Boat Cruises offers a fully-narrated scenic 2-3 hour cruise of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. “Unique and spectacular,” is often the description passengers use when sharing their experience. The tour highlights the steep, 200-foot sandstone cliffs sculpted by ancient glaciers and painted by the mineral-rich ground water that runs down the face of the cliffs. Varying shades of brown, tan and yellow shimmer from minerals such as iron, copper and manganese, and provides a majestic vista only Mother Nature could create. Passengers enjoy breathtaking views of beautiful rock formations, beaches, bays, caves and lighthouses along the Lake Superior shoreline--you may even see an eagle in flight. Day and sunset cruises are available. All aboard!
North Country National Scenic Trail
229 E Main Street
Lowell, MI 49331
Toll Free: (866) 445-3628
Phone: (616) 897-5987
The North Country National Scenic Trail is the longest hiking path in America's National Trails System. Stretching through seven states, the North Country Trail will be 4600 miles long when completed. The Trail winds through a diversity of north country landscapes from the rugged to the pastoral. The North Country Trail Association is the organization of volunteers dedicated to building this trail and telling its story. Almost 1500 miles of this national trail are located in the state of Michigan.
Au Sable Light Station
Highway 28 to Highway 77
Grand Marais, MI 49839
Phone: (906) 387-3700
The AuSable Light Station is listed on the national register of historic places. Built in 1874 to warn mariners of a dangerous reef off of the AuSable Point. Now automated, the light station is being restored to its 1910 appearance. Guided tours are offered July and Aug., the grounds are always open, access is limited by snow from Nov.- April.
Muskallonge Lake State Park
30042 County Road 407
Newberry, MI 49868
Reservations: (800) 447-2757
Phone: (906) 658-3338
159 site campground located between Muskallonge Lake and Lake Superior. Activities include swimming, boating, picnicking, agate & rock hunting on Lake Superior shoreline, camping, hunting and fishing. You can also do some wild berry picking while at the state park.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park
41382 West M-123
Paradise, MI 49768
Reservations: (800) 447-2757
Phone: (906) 492-3415,4570,7-153-10369_46675_57189---,00.html
One of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi, the Upper Falls has a drop of nearly 50 feet and is more than 200 feet across. Four miles downstream is the Lower Falls, a series of five smaller falls cascading around an island. Winter offers opportunity for snowmobiling, cross country skiing and snowshoeing with miles of marked trails. Four campgrounds with modern & rustic campsites. Tahquamenon Fall State Park has more than 40 miles of hiking trails, 13 inland lakes, 24 miles of the Tahquamenon River and approximately 20,000 acres of natural area. Ask about the Tahquamenon Fall Lodge.
Tahquamenon Logging Museum
North M 123
PO Box 254
Newberry, MI 49868
Phone: (906) 293-3700
The Tahquamenon Logging Museum and Nature Study, located just 1 1/2 miles North of Newberry Michigan, invites you to come to their museum and park to explore the original buildings and memorabilia from lumberjack days of the past. Come and see the original C.C.C. buildings full of old photos, models and original logging equipment. Eat a real lumberjack's breakfast in the Authentic Cookshack made over a wood stove with home made care and goodness. Stroll along the boardwalk and nature trail and see part of the Tahquamenon Forest. The Tahquamenon River is nestled along this beautiful trail, where blue herons, ducks, birds and other wildlife abound.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge
1674 Rufuge Entrance Rd.
Seney, MI 49883
Phone: (906) 586-9851
Seney National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1935 by Executive Order for the protection and production of migratory birds and other wildlife. Throughout this nearly 96,000 acres of diverse habitat live a wide variety of wildlife species. Here visitors encounter the cry of common loons, regal trumpeter swans, brilliant dragonflies, nesting bald eagles,and industrious beaver. Wildlife abounds in the refuges forests, marshes, pools, creeks, rivers, and bogs. Visitors can drive the Marshland Drive or walk the Pine Ridge Nature Trail, from dawn until dusk, to search the refuge pools for wildlife species. Programs, guided tours and visitor center exhibits help you learn about refuge habitats and wildlife. The Visitor Center and Marshland Drive are open seven days a week, May 15 through October 15.
Wagner Falls Scenic Site
2 Miles East of Munising
Munising, MI 49862
Phone: (906) 341-2355
This scenic waterfall is nestled amongst virgin pine and hemlock trees. There is a small parking area and a half-mile trail with an observation deck overlooking the falls. Wagner Creek falls over a stratum of erosion-resistant dolomite into order to flow into a shallow gorge containing the Anna River. The Anna, soon afterwards, flows northward into Lake Superior.