Peak Fall Colors: When and Where to Find Them

The first day of Fall is officially September 23rd, 2019 (even if it already feels like Fall is here – see forecast below) and colors are already starting to change.

Alanson, MI 10-Day Weather Forecast - The Weather Channel _ Weather

According to’s fall foliage map we can expect to see “patchy” fall leaf changes by this Saturday, Sept. 14th, “partial” leaf changes by Sept. 21st, “near peak” changes by Sept. 28th and “peak” changes by Oct. 5th. (Use the toggle function on the map to see the changes by date). These changes reflect fall colors for the northern most parts of the Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula.

Heading south of Emmet, Cheboygan and Presque Isle counties, the colors will be “near peak” and “peak” well into October. Meanwhile, the colors in our northern counties will be “past peak” by Oct. 12th.

So where are some of the best places to see the colors on full display? 

The Tunnel of Trees  from Harbor Springs to Cross Village is a local favorite. Wind your way up through Good Hart, stop at the hidden beach, and continue on to Cross Village for a picnic at their Village Park. Keep on going and find yourself at Sturgeon Bay. If you’re feeling like stretching your legs, stop at the North Country Trail- trail head just around the bend at the Sturgeon Bay Beach.

Nearby is Wilderness State Park with acres and acres of land to explore and French Farm Lake; both great spots to explore Fall changing colors, but bring your bear spray!

If you want to experience the color changes by bicycle, checkout the Little Traverse Wheelway.

There are plenty of places to park and jump on the wheelway. (Click the map here.) While the “Wheelway” is billed as a 26+ mile ride connecting Charlevoix, Petoskey and Harbor Springs, it can actually connect you to much more Northern Michigan than that. There are bike trails diverging from the route that can take you to Alanson to Mackinaw City to Cheboygan and on to Rogers City and further. Search for trail maps here.

Another opportunity to see fall colors by car is to “Ride the Breezeway.” The Breezeway is a winding drive from Atwood to Boyne Falls with beautiful vistas, hills and plenty of fall foliage.

One last place to check out for fall colors is Ocqueoc Falls located in Ocqueoc, Michigan just north of Onaway. It is a beautiful drive to get there and once you’re there you can hike, bike, camp, and watch the leaves change colors.

Do you have a favorite spot to view the changing Fall foliage? Let us know!

concrete road between trees
Photo by Craig Adderley on
red and orange maple leaves on tree
Photo by Dariusz Grosa on

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