Fall Color Change 2021

Updated: 10/21/2021 (Updated Weekly)

Here we go Northern Michigan, Peak Color is developing for Lower Elevations and those close to the big lakes. The weather is truly going to feel like fall and this cold weather will make a big difference.

The U.P. is Past Peak with lakeshore areas still around Peak.  The color is very nice with the best conditions along US-2 and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.  While the best color has past, a drive is still worth the trip just do it this weekend as the leaves won’t stay on the trees much longer.

The Lower Peninsula remains a cornucopia of color! Peak to Past Peak conditions are the story for higher elevations. The good news is even being Past Peak, inside the forests Peak color is quickly approaching so it’s great for a hike.  I’m talking about locations like: Cadillac, Harrison, Grayling, Gaylord, Indian River and Hillman.

Fall ColorsIf you are West of M-37 or East of M-33, Peak Color has not arrived yet. With cold air rolling in this weekend be ready for quick color changes. Most areas are going from green to yellow to brown and then down, quickly.

Places like the Tunnel of Trees (M-119) and those along the Lake Michigan shoreline (US-31) are at least week away from Peak Color.  Those areas are generally 50% changed so it’s beginning to look very nice but the best is yet to come.

Overall Color: This year’s color remains muted with lots of yellow and gold. Your FB pics highlight the fact how dull the color this year. At this point, brilliant reds have been hard to come by.  I recently took a trip from Cadillac to Higgins Lake and it was colorful but not incredible with a lot of yellow, gold and brown. I’m still holding out for the lower elevations as the color pops in the coming weeks.

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)

Crawford County

  • CR101 looking north from CR100 (“Pioneer Hill”)

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

Leelanau County

  • North Eagle Highway
  • Newman Road
  • Port Oneida Road
  • Gills Pier Road
  • Schomberg Road

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

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)

In the U.P.: (Compiled from UPtravel.com)

  • Take US-2 West towards Rapid River
  • Munising to Seney to Grand Marais back to Munising
  • Newberry to Whitefish Pt.
  • Newberry to Deer Park to Grand Marais to Seney back to Newberry
  • Brimley to Eckerman to Paradise back toward Whitefish Road then to Bay Mills along the lake.
  • St. Ignace to Sault Ste. Marie to Pickford to Stalwart to Detour Village to Cedarville back to St. Ignace