Northern Michigan Fall Color Map 2018: Where to See Peak Colors

Michigan’s gorgeous fall scenery gives everyone an excuse to hit the road and head north for a weekend getaway. But be sure to plan your fall color tour at the right time in the right region to experience peak colors. We’ve partnered with Tom O’Hare, chief meteorologist at 9&10 News, to bring you the latest Northern Michigan fall color map, updated each week, to show you exactly where the best fall foliage is throughout the entire season.

Leaves are dropping fast. Last places to see fall color below.

While you’re on the road, be sure to check out 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. (Find more fall travel ideas below the foliage maps.)

Now, hit the road.

Northern Michigan Fall Color Update

October 25

Peak color has passed for most of the region but the color isn’t all gone. Yellows and oranges are still around in force but just not as abundant or bright. To see the best color head into the forest or toward the lakeshore. Places like Traverse City, Frankfort, Manistee and the Tunnel of Trees are peak to past peak so enjoy while you can. Higher elevations that peaked last week are already becoming bare. Leaves are dropping fast.


Michigan fall color map

October 17

October 17

Fall Color Report: Our color change across Northern Michigan has expanded this week, making it peak to past peak for most of the region. Vibrant reds, yellows and oranges are taking center stage this week! Lakeside locations like Traverse City, Frankfort and Manistee are in the peak range. Of course, some of our river valleys, such as Grayling and Indian River are a bit behind, but they have reached peak this week. In contrast, a few of the highest elevations around Gaylord and Cadillac are past peak. Don’t be surprised if you see pockets of brown in the higher elevations. You’ll want to spend plenty of time outside these next few days. It’s the perfect time of year to go for a hike, bike ride or capture some photos of the brilliant color.


October 11

October 11

Fall Color Report: Color is exploding all across Northern Michigan. The recent weather has really kicked up the pace of change, making it peak for most of the region. We’ve seen trees go from yellow to orange to brown in less than five days. So, this is the weekend for a fall color tour. Even lakeside locations like Traverse City, Frankfort and Ludington are near peak and could reach peak next week. Of course, some of our river valleys, like around Grayling and Indian River are a bit behind and are still near peak. In contrast, a few of the highest elevations around Gaylord and Cadillac may even be past peak by the weekend so don’t be surprised if you see pockets of brown. Go for a hike in the woods and you’ll see a wide range in color from peak at the tops to 50 percent at eye level.


Michigan fall color map

October 4

October 4

Fall Color Report: What a difference a week makes! Higher elevations are quickly changing with more areas of good color coming out. The U.P. has really exploded with most inland areas west of Marquette near or at peak. The Eastern U.P. is showing good color west of I-75 while many areas to the east are still on the green side. For the Lower Peninsula, higher elevations are looking good with pockets of red and oranges popping. Peak color here will likely be the weekend of the 13/14th. Some pockets could peak as early as this weekend. Spotters tell us there is 75 percent change between Grayling and Gaylord. If you plan on touring along the lakes, color is about a week behind with limited areas of color. Places like Traverse City, Frankfort and Ludington should peak around the 20/21st or even as late as the 27/28th.


Michigan fall color map

September 27

September 27

Fall Color Report: The feel of fall is certainly here but the look isn’t. If you’ve been out and about, you’ve seen some pockets of color but nothing major. Most trees have lost their deep green and are showing yellow, and for some, a bit of orange. There isn’t one particular area showing a lot of color right now. Some trees or branches of trees have changed but those are more isolated than anything else. You will see more change next week as temps cool down.  —Tom O’Hare Doppler 9&10 Chief Meteorologist

Check back next week for an updated Northern Michigan fall color map.


Northern Michigan Fall Travel Ideas