This week brought some dramatic changes in nature’s colors here in Michigan. We are heading into the peak weeks for taking in autumn’s splendor. Now is the time to get in a fall colors tour before it’s too late!
There are so many options in our beautiful state for taking in the scenery–whether driving, hiking, canoeing, or even a helicopter ride! Consider one of these popular routes, and don’t forget to bring your camera!
- Manistee, MI: The coastal town of Manistee has 4 beautiful options, including an inland tour, which takes you through a canopy of trees and over scenic stretches of river, through the heart of Manistee National Forest. Some of the highlights along the way are the Big Manistee River, historic sites, and Iron Fish Distillery. A second option is to take a coastal tour. Starting in Manistee and heading north on M-22 this route provides spectacular views of Lake Michigan’s shoreline dressed in fall colors. Highlights include Onekama and Portage Lake, and Arcadia Overlook. Option #3 is Mainstee’s Downtown Riverwalk, a great in-town walk with pops of color along the way. You will also find plenty of foodie stops and incredible shops to visit. Finally, check out the M-22 and Lake Michigan tour. This getaway follows the Lake Michigan coastline and highlights Sleeping Bear Dunes and historic lighthouses. More route info is available on Mlive.com.
- Tunnel of Trees: Possibly one of the most beautiful drives in Michigan is the 22-mile portion of M-119 between the towns of Harbor Springs and Cross Village. Nicknamed “the Tunnel of Trees” for the way interlacing branches create a canopy overhead, the road traces a line along what we might call Michigan’s ring finger, twisting and turning its way through fields, forests and farmland, and repeatedly kissing the edge of a high bluff beyond which, on perfect fall days, Lake Michigan’s blue waters sparkle.
- Grayling – Torch Lake – Lake City: Enjoy this area’s fall color by car, on foot, or in a canoe. The winding Au Sable River is the perfect waterway to paddle and enjoy the splashes of vibrant color against towering evergreens. Highlights in Grayling are Wellington Farm Park USA, located on S. Military Road off US-27. Step back in time with family and friends for a little cider and donuts, a corn maze and a look at rural America during the Great Depression. Take a free hayride to enjoy the autumn color show every weekend in October; test your catapulting skills during the annual Punkin’ Chunkin.’ Next, stop by North and South Higgins State Parks just south of the city between US-27 and I-75. Both parks have nature trails and a combined total of 13 miles for hiking. Lake City offers plenty of fall color with 100,000 acres of wild public land and forests were wild life reside.
- Traverse City: With 250 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, the Grand Traverse area offers unmatched fall color viewing. Stay the weekend and do some golfing, biking, canoeing, drive the coastline (stopping at a few wineries along the way of course!), or book a flight in a hot air balloon for some truly unique views!
- Lake Erie Lakeshore: You don’t have to go “up north” to enjoy the fall colors! Drive along Dixie Highway to Sterling State Park. Its located at the River Raisin and its marshes attract wildlife and many species of birds. Or cruise into Ann Arbor where there is no charge to walk the trails of the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and 123-acre Nichols Arboretum on Dixboro Road. Nearby is Wiard’s Orchard in Ypsilanti, where you can enjoy fresh-squeezed apple cider, donuts, and a hayride.
Wherever your tour takes you, take the time to slow down, because this season is a short one! Enjoy!