Northern Michigan Fall Color Map 2019: Last Chance for Peak Color

We’re partnering with Tom O’Hare, chief meteorologist at 9&10 News, to bring you the latest Northern Michigan fall color map every week throughout September and October. You’ll know exactly where to find the best fall foliage and when to plan your vacation. (View 2018 and 2019 peak fall color dates below.) While you’re on the road, check out these 10 vistas with breathtaking views and, of course, the Tunnel of Trees is a must.

Northern Michigan Fall Color Update 2019

October 28, 2019

I hope you got out and toured the region over the last few weeks while color was still bright. Our fall color is very limited now, with the brightest spots along the lakeshores. Those lakeside areas are peak to past peak, while most everywhere else is past peak. This past weekend’s weather took down a lot of leaves so the best idea is to go for a walk in the woods. That’s where you’ll find some very nice color popping, but do it soon. The leaves are falling fast! —Tom O’Hare, Doppler 9&10 Weather Team

Read Next: These Michigan Color Tour Views Will Take Your Breath Away

October 24, 2019

This year’s colors are fading fast in the U.P. and for parts of the Lower Peninsula. This is the time to take a walk through the woods and see the color change deep in the forest. The good news is there is still plenty of nice color around the Lower Peninsula, so get out and enjoy! This second set of color developing should be a bit brighter than the first as the cold is settling in with more clouds. You’ll find the best color along and west of US-131 and M-65, as you get closer to the lakes. Places like the Tunnel of Trees should be very nice this weekend as the gold and red are beginning to pop. I highly recommend going for a drive or a walk this weekend as the coldest air of the season is set to come next week. —Tom O’Hare, Doppler 9&10 Weather Team

Michigan fall color map

October 21, 2019

There is great color all across the region, even in the Upper Peninsula where a lot of trees are past peak. Higher elevations are changing fast with larger areas of past peak over the Lower Peninsula. A big storm is headed in this week and will take down a leaves so watch out for slick, rain-soaked leaves on roads. Lakeshore areas have not peaked yet—that looks to start this weekend. If you find an area of past peak conditions, go for a hike in the forest. The difference will be incredible as most leaves are still changing and a week later than the edges of the trees. This weekend is looking decent right now, so be sure to make plans to see the colors. —Tom O’Hare, Doppler 9&10 Weather Team

michigan fall color map

October 17, 2019

WOW! The leaves have really popped over the last 3–5 days. Best color is over the Lower Peninsula. Reports along M-115, US-131 and I-75 are of huge areas of incredible reds and brilliant oranges. Don’t be surprised when you drive through the highest elevations that the leaves are dropping quickly. That’s when you go for a hike in the woods and see the leaves still changing. Lakeside areas are near peak with peak conditions for some spots. It looks like the best color develops near the water next week. Peak to past peak color is the story for much of the U.P., so get out and enjoy a nice drive this weekend while the quiet weather is here! —Tom O’Hare, Doppler 9&10 Weather Team

michigan fall color map

October 10, 2019

Looking for peak color? Head to the Western U.P. and Wisconsin where the trees are really popping! If you don’t want to travel that far, you can find areas of nice color in the Central and Eastern U.P. as well as in pockets of the Lower Peninsula. Overall in the Lower Peninsula, the color change is still limited with most of the region at 50% or less, and most lakeside areas at around 30% or lower. Leaf peepers around Cadillac can find pockets of peak color this weekend, especially in central Wexford County. The same can be said for those driving along 131 near Kalkaska and Mancelona. Gaylord and much of Otsego County will be near peak to peak conditions. One key thing to remember is there is a lot of variability over just a few miles. You can go from near peak color to maybe 30% within 10 miles and then to 50%, 5 miles down the road. Don’t be surprised if a lot of the early color gets taken down this weekend due to strong and gusty winds. —Tom O’Hare, Doppler 9&10 Weather Team

michigan fall color map

October 3, 2019

Colors are really popping in the Western U.P. where near peak conditions are expected later this week. As you head into the Eastern U.P., you can find some nice color but not quite near peak. The same goes for the Lower Peninsula where higher elevations definitely are getting a beautiful change. If traveling around Gaylord, Mancelona or Cadillac there are some large areas of reds, oranges, browns and yellows all showing up. For some sections, the color is mainly on the fringes of the trees but with colder air coming in expect to see a lot of change through the weekend. Lakeshore areas are very slow to change with most still very green. Peak conditions are still a few weeks away in those spots. —Tom O’Hare, Doppler 9&10 Weather Team

Michigan Fall Color Map

September 26, 2019

Colors are beginning to pop in the Western U.P. as cooler air moves in. The Central and Eastern U.P. have a large variation but the average is still around 30%. Lakeside areas for most of the state are on the green side. Those traveling around the Lower Peninsula are still in that 15–30% range. The cool air this weekend will push some areas to about 40%. There is no question the highest elevations have more color with pockets where leaves are already falling. It looks like next weekend we will have some good color across much of the U.P. and higher spots of the Lower Peninsula. Peak color looks to be about 2 weeks away for much of Northern Michigan. —Tom O’Hare, Doppler 9&10 Weather Team

September 19, 2019

Fall Color Report: The recent sunshine and warmth slowed down the change for much of the region. Higher elevations are forecast at 15–30% through this weekend. Pockets of reds and oranges are certainly around but not a ton. Colors are generally on the dull side right now, but you can find areas of bright color. The problem is that bright color is typically just parts of a tree. As seasonable air returns, you will notice the change speed up, especially in the U.P. I suspect there will be 50% change over in many areas next weekend. —Tom O’Hare, Doppler 9&10 Weather Team

Wondering When Peak Color Hit Last Year?
Northern Michigan Fall Color Update 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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