One of the most beautiful places to view fall colors is in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. It's even been named the #1 place in the US for fall foliage. Almost everywhere you turn there are breathtaking views.
But when is the best time to view the fall colors?
This changes slightly each year, but peak colors in the UP will typically happen somewhere between September 21 and October 15.
Thankfully there are a number of people who work to help keep us informed and track the UP's change of seasons on a day to day basis.
Here's some of our favorite places to track the color changes and peak color in the UP.
Start with Michigan.org's Fall Color Map Predictor. With a handy slider, you can see when colors are expected to peak in each area of Michigan.
Then check in with "Yooper Steve" at FunintheUP.com who provides weekly reports starting in July all the way through October on color changes across the UP. This is an authoritative on-the-ground source for real time color reports!
The Fall Color Blog provides near daily updates on the color changes around the UP and even provides a handy set of Fall Color Tour Maps if you're interested in taking a driving tour.
Trails End Resort is open throughout the Fall color season! Check out what's available and our current promotions below! (Seasonal and Last Minute promotions are always included in your quote when you book direct on our site!).
This is somewhat subjective, and visitors always have their own favorite spots. However, there's a few locations that usually make the top of the list.
REMEMBER: color changes are very local and based on climate, humidity, and elevation, so you can have great color one day in one area and things aren't quite there yet just 30 minutes away.
I'll break this into "Destination Spots" and "Road Trips"
Tahquamenon Falls State Park and Trails (50 min from Trails End Resort)
This is just such a lush, beautiful area to explore with great views over the falls, and a new foot bridge to cross the river. Hard to go wrong here.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge (10 min)
This is a nationally famous wildlife refuge that happens to be in our backyard. The refuge has a visitors center and a few hiking loops around some gorgeous lakes. There's not a ton of sprawling views here, but you will be immersed in the forest and colors as you walk and surrounded by all kinds of wildlife, plants, mushrooms, and more. If you're looking for a simple hike in the colors close-by, this is it.
Fayette Historic Park and Foot Trails - Garden, MI (75 min from Trails End Resort)
This park is located in the "Garden Peninsula" jutting out into Lake Michigan. It's not heavily trafficked, and doesn't usually make the top of most lists, but it's nice and remote if you want to get off the beaten path. It has a 5-mile foot trail for viewing fall colors. If the colors haven't yet gone north, they might likely be peaking here a little earlier as its on the southernmost point of the UP.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (54 min)
There are several areas around here that are great for viewing, including the Pictured Rocks boat and kayak tours out into Lake Superior.
Munising Area Waterfalls
Nearby Pictured Rocks, you might also want to check out some of the MANY waterfalls and hikes in this area. A few that may be worth checking out include:
Laughing Whitefish Falls (80 min)
Probably one of the most impressive and tallest waterfalls in the UP and all of Michigan. And you can get to them with just a 1/2 mile hike through (hopefully) colorful woods in the fall. The falls are a bit further away from us (almost 1.5 hour drive) but well worth driving a bit past Munising, especially if you're already in the area and if the colors are peaking. Just a note that in fall these falls can dwindle a bit if there hasn't been much rain lately.
This probably goes without saying, but this is just such a wonderful, quaint place to enjoy the fall colors. Not as remote and certainly more of a tourist attraction, but there's lots to do and see here.
Here's some road trips in the Eastern and Central UP that I've put together that can be done in one day. I based it on about 3 hours of driving and up to 3 hours of stops for a 6-hour day, but you can extend or shorten these easily by adding in more or less stops.
I've also set these up to leave and return to the resort, but you can click on the Google link and modify based on your own preferences.
This one starts by driving to Munising, but you could easily reverse and it and in Munising, especially if you wanted to the do the Sunset Boat Tour along Pictured Rocks.
I've put in a few waypoints marked on the map:
This one can be done "out and back" on the same route OR you can take the loop through Eckerman and Hwy 28 on the way back (as shown on the map).
This is a great 3-hours of driving with some very scenic places to stop. Of course, you can add or remove stops as you'd like. Here's some of my recommendations:
As this is at a slightly lower elevation than going west, sometimes colors here change a few days earlier, but not always!
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