From Ludington and Cadillac to Traverse City, Charlevoix, Petoskey and the Upper Peninsula, here’s our week-by-week look at fall foliage across the North in partnership with Tom O’Hare, chief meteorologist at 9&10 News. Check back weekly for new updates to help you plan the perfect Northern Michigan fall color tour + articles to inspire autumn adventures.

2023 Fall Color Map | September 29–October 5

Northern Michigan Fall Color Map

Here’s the latest update: Big color change in the U.P.!

Wow! It’s incredible how much change we’ve seen in the U.P. over the last 7 days. Just look at the map! Much of the Western U.P. is expected to be Peak or Near Peak by the end of next week. If you want to see color, the western areas are the place to go. That’s not to say you can’t go to the Central and Eastern U.P. for color. There most certainly is color and lots of it. We are getting reports of great fall color along M-28 toward Sault Ste. Marie as well as from Cedarville through Pickford on up into the Soo. The colors are really popping and worth the drive.

Here’s a view from Marvin Chard in the U.P.

Northern Michigan Fall Color Map

Photo by Marvin Chard

The Lower Peninsula is changing but not quite as fast. Just don’t be surprised if the leaves make an abrupt change early next week. Right now I’m forecasting at least 50% for almost all our areas by October 5. The highest elevations are already showing beautiful reds and oranges. A nice trip to take is along M-115 from Cadillac to Mesick to Baldwin to Reed City then north to Cadillac. There are pockets of strong color now and they will reach Near Peak conditions soon.

Those east of 75 and south of Onaway have the least color change so far. There is still a lot of green, but you can tell the trees are changing. Just look at this drone view not far from Luzerne. Gerry sent this pic in on September 24.

Northern Michigan Fall Color Map

This means there is still time to plan a Northern Michigan fall color tour, but not long! Here’s your list of where to go put together by the County Road Association of Michigan.

Antrim County
  • Deadman Hill overlook off US-131 viewing Jordan River Valley
  • Jordan River Road off US-131
  • Pinney Bridge Road off M-66
  • Cascade Road off Alba Highway (CR 620)
Chippewa County
  • North and South Caribou Lake Roads in the DeTour Village area
  • Gogomain Road from Goetzville to Pickford
  • Lakeshore Drive from Brimley to M-123
  • Salt Point Road from M-28 to Lakeshore Drive
Crawford County
  • CR101 looking north from CR100 (“Pioneer Hill”)
Dickinson County
  • Kramer Drive on the north side of the city of Iron Mountain
  • Metropolitan Road near Felch
Emmet County
  • Mitchell Road from Fletcher Road to Cheboygan County line
  • Pleasantview Road from M-119 to Robinson Road
  • Robinson Road from State Road to Pleasantview Road
  • State Road from Harbor Springs to Cross Village
  • Stutsmanville Road from Pleasantview to W. Townline, then W. Townline Road north
  • Brutus Road from Pleasantville Road to US-31
  • Tunnel of Trees – M-119
  • Williams Road from US-131 to Resort Pike Road
  • Resort Pike Road from Williams Road to Indian Garden Road
 Gogebic County
  • Black River Road to Black River Harbor
  • Lake Road from Ironwood to Little Girls Point and Superior Falls
  • Black River Road from Bessemer to Copper Peak and Black River Harbor
  • Wolf Mountain Road from US 2 to Wolf Mountain
  • County Road 519N from Wakefield to the mouth of the Big Presque Isle River and Porcupine State Park
  • Thousand Island Lake Road from US 2 to Sylvania Wilderness Park
Houghton County
  • Covered Drive Road
  • Freda Road
  • Calumet Waterworks Road
Iron County
  • Ottawa Lake Road/Hagerman Lake Road loop
  • Pentoga Trail (CR-639) to CR-424 along Chicagon Lake and Pentoga Road from CR-424 to Brule River
  • Bates-Amasa Road (CR-643) US-2 to US-141 by Paint River and Hemlock River
  • Gibbs City Road and Ponozzo Road
Leelanau County
  • North Eagle Highway
  • Newman Road
  • Port Oneida Road
  • Gills Pier Road
  • Schomberg Road
Keweenaw County
  • Brockway Mountain Drive
  • Lac La Belle Road
  • Gratiot Lake Road
  • Mohawk-Gay Road
  • Eagle Harbor Road
  • Cliff Drive
  • Five Mile Point Road
Marquette County
  • County Road 510 from County Road 502 north to Big Bay
  • Triple A off County Road 510 in Big Bay
  • County Road 533 in Skandia
  • M-35 from County Road 480 to Gwinn
Mason County
  • Lakeshore Drive from Oceana Drive to Iris Road
  • Hawley from Pere Marquette Highway to Walhalla Road
  • South Masten Road to Washington Road and the Ruby Creek area
  • North Lakeshore Drive along Hamlin Lake
  • Custer Road from Hogue Road to US-10
Montmorency County
  • Pleasant Valley Road
  • Farrier Road
  • Carter Road
  • Meridian Line Road
Ontonagon County
  • South Boundary Road
Presque Isle County
  • Long Lake Highway from M-65 into Alpena County
  • E-634 Highway from Polaski Road west to Lake May Road
  • W-638 Highway Ocqueoc Road from Walker Highway to North Allis Highway from Ocqueoc Road west to M-211.
Wexford County
  • Fall Color Scenic Routes, all starting from downtown Cadillac
    • Route 1:  Around the Lakes (20 miles)
    • Route 2:  Northwest to Mesick (63 miles)
    • Route 3:  Southwest to Hoxeyville/Luther/Briston (64 miles)
    • Route 4:  Northeast to Lake City/Manton (32 miles)

2023 Fall Color Map | September 22–28

Northern Michigan Fall Color Map

We are in week 2 of the fall color season. The good news is there are some areas where the leaves are beginning to pop, showing incredible color! Over the Lower Peninsula, parts of Wexford and Otsego counties have pockets of notable color change where those reds and oranges are strong. The same can be said for a few areas of the Western U.P. where up to 50% change is forecast. Here’s a look at our Fall Color Forecast for this weekend and next week—you can see I expanded the “Some” change to most of the U.P. and much of the Lower Peninsula. We are talking about 30% change.

This is the view along M-115 west of Cadillac and it’s beautiful! So, while there is change, don’t look for a ton of it. That means there is still time to make plans for when the colors really pop!

Northern Michigan Fall Color Map

Photo by Tom O'Hare

To do just that, here’s a list of color tours put together by the County Road Association of Michigan:

Antrim County
  • Deadman Hill overlook off US-131 viewing Jordan River Valley
  • Jordan River Road off US-131
  • Pinney Bridge Road off M-66
  • Cascade Road off Alba Highway (CR 620)
Chippewa County
  • North and South Caribou Lake Roads in the DeTour Village area
  • Gogomain Road from Goetzville to Pickford
  • Lakeshore Drive from Brimley to M-123
  • Salt Point Road from M-28 to Lakeshore Drive
Crawford County
  • CR101 looking north from CR100 (“Pioneer Hill”)
 Dickinson County
  • Kramer Drive on the north side of the city of Iron Mountain
  • Metropolitan Road near Felch
Emmet County
  • Mitchell Road from Fletcher Road to Cheboygan County line
  • Pleasantview Road from M-119 to Robinson Road
  • Robinson Road from State Road to Pleasantview Road
  • State Road from Harbor Springs to Cross Village
  • Stutsmanville Road from Pleasantview to W. Townline, then W. Townline Road north
  • Brutus Road from Pleasantville Road to US-31
  • Tunnel of Trees – M-119
  • Williams Road from US-131 to Resort Pike Road
  • Resort Pike Road from Williams Road to Indian Garden Road
 Gogebic County
  • Black River Road to Black River Harbor
  • Lake Road from Ironwood to Little Girls Point and Superior Falls
  • Black River Road from Bessemer to Copper Peak and Black River Harbor
  • Wolf Mountain Road from US 2 to Wolf Mountain
  • County Road 519N from Wakefield to the mouth of the Big Presque Isle River and Porcupine State Park
  • Thousand Island Lake Road from US 2 to Sylvania Wilderness Park
Houghton County
  • Covered Drive Road
  • Freda Road
  • Calumet Waterworks Road
Iron County
  • Ottawa Lake Road/Hagerman Lake Road loop
  • Pentoga Trail (CR-639) to CR-424 along Chicagon Lake and Pentoga Road from CR-424 to Brule River
  • Bates-Amasa Road (CR-643) US-2 to US-141 by Paint River and Hemlock River
  • Gibbs City Road and Ponozzo Road
Leelanau County
  • North Eagle Highway
  • Newman Road
  • Port Oneida Road
  • Gills Pier Road
  • Schomberg Road
 Keweenaw County
  • Brockway Mountain Drive
  • Lac La Belle Road
  • Gratiot Lake Road
  • Mohawk-Gay Road
  • Eagle Harbor Road
  • Cliff Drive
  • Five Mile Point Road
Marquette County
  • County Road 510 from County Road 502 north to Big Bay
  • Triple A off County Road 510 in Big Bay
  • County Road 533 in Skandia
  • M-35 from County Road 480 to Gwinn
Mason County
  • Lakeshore Drive from Oceana Drive to Iris Road
  • Hawley from Pere Marquette Highway to Walhalla Road
  • South Masten Road to Washington Road and the Ruby Creek area
  • North Lakeshore Drive along Hamlin Lake
  • Custer Road from Hogue Road to US-10
Montmorency County
  • Pleasant Valley Road
  • Farrier Road
  • Carter Road
  • Meridian Line Road
 Ontonagon County
  • South Boundary Road
Presque Isle County
  • Long Lake Highway from M-65 into Alpena County
  • E-634 Highway from Polaski Road west to Lake May Road
  • W-638 Highway Ocqueoc Road from Walker Highway to North Allis Highway from Ocqueoc Road west to M-211.
Wexford County
  • Fall Color Scenic Routes, all starting from downtown Cadillac
    • Route 1:  Around the Lakes (20 miles)
    • Route 2:  Northwest to Mesick (63 miles)
    • Route 3:  Southwest to Hoxeyville/Luther/Briston (64 miles)
    • Route 4:  Northeast to Lake City/Manton (32 miles)

2023 Fall Color Map | September 14–21

Northern Michigan Fall Color Map

Fall Color Forecast 2023

Fall color has started in Northern Michigan! It is a little early, although for some of you, the color has been slowly brightening the trees since late July. The early summer heat and drought really stressed the trees. Those stressed the most have distinctive colors with some leaves already on the ground. The good news is most trees haven’t started changing. Our summer was dry for the first part but ended on a wet note, so it will be interesting to see how vibrant the leaves get this year. I’m forecasting an early to normal color change across the region. What does this mean? Most of the Upper Peninsula peaks in late September to early October. Higher elevations of the Lower Peninsula peak late in September to mid-October. Those closest to the Great Lakes will peak mid to late October. Of course, there will be exceptions, especially where trees are really stressed.

We are starting the fall color change early this year and will keep you updated throughout the season. This way you can plan a week or two ahead for the best color. Right now, there is limited change with some color in parts of the Upper Peninsula and higher elevations of the Lower Peninsula. On my walks around the region, I’ve already seen a few maples drop incredible red leaves.

Below is when the trees typically change. Predicting color change is very hard. The amount of sunlight is the biggest factor. Just a few days of thick clouds can make the colors come out fast, and drop just as quickly.

I recommend planning a trip ahead for when the colors really start popping! And to do just that, here’s a list of color tours put together by the County Road Association of Michigan:
 
Antrim County
  • Deadman Hill overlook off US-131 viewing Jordan River Valley
  • Jordan River Road off US-131
  • Pinney Bridge Road off M-66
  • Cascade Road off Alba Highway (CR 620) 
Chippewa County
  • North and South Caribou Lake Roads in the DeTour Village area
  • Gogomain Road from Goetzville to Pickford
  • Lakeshore Drive from Brimley to M-123
  • Salt Point Road from M-28 to Lakeshore Drive
Crawford County
  • CR101 looking north from CR100 (“Pioneer Hill”)
Dickinson County
  • Kramer Drive on the north side of the city of Iron Mountain
  • Metropolitan Road near Felch
Emmet County
  • Mitchell Road from Fletcher Road to Cheboygan County line
  • Pleasantview Road from M-119 to Robinson Road
  • Robinson Road from State Road to Pleasantview Road
  • State Road from Harbor Springs to Cross Village
  • Stutsmanville Road from Pleasantview to W. Townline, then W. Townline Road north
  • Brutus Road from Pleasantville Road to US-31
  • Tunnel of Trees – M-119
  • Williams Road from US-131 to Resort Pike Road
  • Resort Pike Road from Williams Road to Indian Garden Road
Gogebic County
  • Black River Road to Black River Harbor
  • Lake Road from Ironwood to Little Girls Point and Superior Falls
  • Black River Road from Bessemer to Copper Peak and Black River Harbor
  • Wolf Mountain Road from US 2 to Wolf Mountain
  • County Road 519N from Wakefield to the mouth of the Big Presque Isle River and Porcupine State Park
  • Thousand Island Lake Road from US 2 to Sylvania Wilderness Park
Houghton County
  • Covered Drive Road
  • Freda Road
  • Calumet Waterworks Road
Iron County
  • Ottawa Lake Road/Hagerman Lake Road loop
  • Pentoga Trail (CR-639) to CR-424 along Chicagon Lake and Pentoga Road from CR-424 to Brule River
  • Bates-Amasa Road (CR-643) US-2 to US-141 by Paint River and Hemlock River
  • Gibbs City Road and Ponozzo Road
Leelanau County
  • North Eagle Highway
  • Newman Road
  • Port Oneida Road
  • Gills Pier Road
  • Schomberg Road
Keweenaw County
  • Brockway Mountain Drive
  • Lac La Belle Road
  • Gratiot Lake Road
  • Mohawk-Gay Road
  • Eagle Harbor Road
  • Cliff Drive
  • Five Mile Point Road
Marquette County
  • County Road 510 from County Road 502 north to Big Bay
  • Triple A off County Road 510 in Big Bay
  • County Road 533 in Skandia
  • M-35 from County Road 480 to Gwinn
Mason County
  • Lakeshore Drive from Oceana Drive to Iris Road
  • Hawley from Pere Marquette Highway to Walhalla Road
  • South Masten Road to Washington Road and the Ruby Creek area
  • North Lakeshore Drive along Hamlin Lake
  • Custer Road from Hogue Road to US-10
Montmorency County
  • Pleasant Valley Road
  • Farrier Road
  • Carter Road
  • Meridian Line Road 
Ontonagon County
  • South Boundary Road
Presque Isle County
  • Long Lake Highway from M-65 into Alpena County
  • E-634 Highway from Polaski Road west to Lake May Road
  • W-638 Highway Ocqueoc Road from Walker Highway to North Allis Highway from Ocqueoc Road west to M-211.
Wexford County
  • Fall Color Scenic Routes, all starting from downtown Cadillac
    • Route 1:  Around the Lakes (20 miles)
    • Route 2:  Northwest to Mesick (63 miles)
    • Route 3:  Southwest to Hoxeyville/Luther/Briston (64 miles)
    • Route 4:  Northeast to Lake City/Manton (32 miles)