These towns and routes are some of the most iconic Northern Michigan fall color tours ever published in Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine. Camp in the Upper Peninsula, float down the Manistee River, drive the Tunnel of Trees, head to wineries with incredible views—there’s a fall color trip for everyone.
Each fall, the colors of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula draw photographer Erik Olsen to roam the trails and byways of this storied land. In the fall of 2015, he decided to cover as much ground as he could in 14 days. He started in Newberry and headed west to Grand Marais, Munising to Marquette, with stops all over the Keweenaw and into Copper Harbor. These are the places you have to visit on a U.P. fall color trip.
Come fall, nothing beats the inspiration of a grand view. Take in color panoramas from 10 of the North’s most dramatic bluffs, ridges, peaks and hilltops. These are some of the best fall color views in Michigan.
Experience five of Northern Michigan’s beautiful small towns on your autumn color tour this year by exploring Elk Rapids, Ellsworth, Central Lake, Bellaire and Alden—all along the shore of the Chain of Lakes. Take an afternoon drive, hike, paddle or bike ride and see Torch Lake fall color at its finest.
Drive 10 minutes northeast of Traverse City’s bustling Front Street, and you will feel the call of a slender spit of land jutting into Grand Traverse Bay. Inconsequential on a state map, this lithe and lovely peninsula pulls you along gently, inviting you to participate in the deliberate pace of a place shaped by seasons and vineyards and orchards and shores. Bonus: Fall color day trips for wine lovers, history buffs and nature fans.
Port Oneida, tucked in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, is filled with spectacular beauty any time of the year, and especially in fall. You’ll see preserved historic farms, hike to gorgeous overlooks and bike unforgettably scenic routes. Spend a day exploring this rural historic district on a fall color tour.
The Manistee River Valley during peak fall color is a must-visit. You just have to decide if you want to float it, fish it, hike it or fly it. Here are four family-friendly ways to experience fall color on the Manistee River.
Cruise the county’s 40-mile west coast for lush views. Start your tour at the peninsula’s tip in Northport, 27 miles north of Traverse City, then stop in Leland and Glen Arbor. And, of course, make a pit stop at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Here’s your Leelanau fall color tour primer.