Michigan’s gorgeous fall scenery gives everyone an excuse to hit the road and head north for a weekend getaway. But you want to be sure to plan your fall color tour at the right time in the right region to experience peak colors. So we’ve partnered with Tom O’Hare, chief meteorologist at 9&10 News, to bring you the latest Northern Michigan fall color map, updated every Thursday afternoon, to show you exactly where the best fall foliage is throughout the entire season.
While you’re on the road, be sure to check out these 10 vistas offering breathtaking views and these roadside attractions. And what’s a road trip without good eats? Tim Tebeau, the food editor here at MyNorth & Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine, suggests these cafes and restaurants.
Now, hit the road! (More fall travel ideas below the foliage maps!)
Northern Michigan Fall Color Update
The best color has past and almost all of Northern Michigan is past peak. Recent snow, rain and wind have really taken a toll on the leaves with so many falling fast. You can still find pockets of nice color here and there, but it’s not that easy. If you’re going out to find some, I recommend heading toward the lakeshores south of M-55. There are reports of some good color around Oceana County and areas downstate!
The recent rough weather took a toll on the regions leaves. Much of Northern Michigan is now past peak. This isn’t to say all the color is gone … it’s NOT! You just have to drive more to find it, or go for a walk in the woods where there’s still nice color. The best color this weekend is right along the lakeshore. The Tunnel of Trees is at peak or just going past depending on location. You can still see plenty of red and orange around Traverse City and Old Mission Peninsula and most areas west of M-37 traveling south toward Baldwin and Ludington. The weekend won’t be a washout so get out and take a look before all the leaves have fallen. —Tom O’Hare
What a difference a few days make. Most of Northern Michigan is now near or at peak! Color looks great for so many areas making this weekend perfect to go for a drive and soak in the color. Inland locations are the place to be with peak conditions expected to last through Monday. You still have about one more week before for those along the lakeshores, generally south of M-72 reach peak. Overall, this year’s colors are still on the dull or muted side but there are certainly pockets of incredible red and gold! Only in the highest elevations are trees past peak, but even in those areas all you have to do is stop and take a walk inside the forest and you’ll still see great color! —Tom O’Hare
The eastern U.P. is changing but remains behind schedule with most areas near 50%. Northern lower and central lower Michigan’s colors are changing but with a very large variation between species. The maples have really popped across the higher elevations with great color around Gaylord and Cadillac. Most other areas have pockets of good color but with plenty of green mixed in. Don’t be surprised if areas go from mostly green to 50% within a week. There may even be an extended period of peak conditions due to the odd weather impacting the different trees. The western U.P.’s interior locations have the most change with some areas peaking. If you really want to see lots of color, that’s the place to go this weekend. —Tom O’Hare
The eastern U.P. still has more green leaves than color making it behind schedule. So far all of Northern Michigan’s color change has been very muted. Color is around but certainly not vibrant for most areas. Some trees are just changing 30–50% then dropping their leaves. This is not a good sign, but we still have weeks to see how the rest change. There are areas of near peak conditions around the Lower Peninsula but not a lot. Most of the region is still around 30%. If you really want to see color, head to the far western U.P. where leaves are expected to be near peak to peak this weekend. —Tom O’Hare
Fall color change is back in gear as normal fall temps have returned. Most of the higher elevations of the eastern U.P. and Lower Peninsula are around 30% changed with isolated pockets of up to 50%. If you are looking for a lot of color, head to the western U.P. where color is around 50% to near peak at interior locations. Most lakeside spots around Michigan are still green with peak color still weeks away. —Tom O’Hare
Most of the region is about 10–25% changed, this goes for the Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula, with pockets of good color where frost developed a few weeks ago. That’s one thing that has brought some strong color for the higher elevations. Pockets of 50% change are around, but not a lot. As long as the warmth and sunshine continue, the trees already changing will reach peak in the next week or two. The rest of the region is on a more normal schedule with peak color arriving in early to mid-October. —Tom O’Hare