There’s no place I’d rather spend my Octobers than Michigan, and fall color is almost at its peak. Over the last week I visited the Porcupine Mountains in the Upper Peninsula and sipped wine at one of Traverse City's many wineries—just a couple of stops on my fall color tour. Fall looks good on you, Michigan. Here are some of my favorite spots:
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Ontonagon
The Upper Peninsula's Porcupine Mountains impress in all seasons, but especially in fall. A winding road from the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park entrance leads to an overlook where you gaze on seemingly endless golden-yellow trees and occasional splashes of red, with the Carp River and Lake of the Clouds adding vivid shades of blue.
Tahquamenon Falls, Paradise
The UP's Paradise really does hold its own piece of paradise….especially in fall. Two sets of waterfalls on the Tahquamenon River—Upper Falls and Lower Falls, both in Tahquamenon Falls State Park—look stunning against the changing colors of the forest. Pictured is Upper Falls, the larger of the two.
Miners Castle, Munising
Miners Castle is one of the most-photographed landmarks in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. In fall, there’s just something about the sandstone-layered formation surrounded by warm tones that makes it even more lovely. The overlook—accessible from a park road—connects to a few trails you can take to see more of Pictured Rocks booming with color.
The High Rollways, Buckley
Not many people know about this place, but it’s definitely one of my favorite lookouts. Trees of many hues seem to go on for miles, and the Manistee River runs through them, taking the shape of a horseshoe.
Getting there is a little tricky, but from Buckley (about 20 miles south of Traverse City) head east for about five miles on West 4th Road. A third of a mile past where N. 25th Rd. splits off from 4th, turn right onto a dirt road, then within a mile, turn left to stay on on the main dirt road. You'll soon see a sign that says "Trailhead," indicating it's part of the North Country Trail. Stop at the parking circle, enter the trail, and you'll see where the trail runs alongside a bluff, eventually coming to an overlook.
Old Mission Peninsula, Traverse City
I love taking a quick road trip along Old Mission Peninsula during fall. Trees and golden vineyards blanket the hills on both sides of the road. Stop at one of the peninsula's wineries to relax on a patio, sip wine, and take in the view.
CR 510 Bridge View, Marquette
Marquette is known for this view of an old steel bridge over the Dead River. A brief drive off of US-41 and down County Road 510 will reward you with impressive scenery.
Dead River Railroad Bridge, Neguanee
A high train bridge over Trestle Falls provides visitors an extraordinary view of vibrant trees—as well as the sound of the Dead River passing underneath the bridge.
Lumberman's Monument, Oscoda
On the River Road National Scenic Byway in eastern Michigan stands a monument dedicated to Michigan’s lumbering era…with a pretty epic scenic backdrop. You can hang around the monument at the top for this view or head down 272 stairs to gain a different perspective of the multicolored island surrounded by the deep blue waters of the Au Sable River.
Mont Ripley, Hancock/Houghton
The top of Mont Ripley offers the best view of fall foliage surrounding the Portage Lake Lift Bridge connecting Hancock and Houghton in the UP.
More to see
The M-119 Tunnel of Trees, Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive and the Arcadia Overlook on M-22 all deliver fantastic fall foliage. Enjoy your trip!