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A waterfall can be seen through a narrow window between red, orange, yellow, and green leaves.
Upper Tahquamenon Falls
Neil Weaver Photography/Shutterstock

Where to see the best fall colors in Michigan

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Upper Tahquamenon Falls
| Neil Weaver Photography/Shutterstock

Without question, Michigan has some of the best spots for fall foliage in the country. Over its 19 million acres of forest, there’s plenty of places for you to peep the splendid reds, oranges, and yellows of the leaves as they change color.

Most of the state’s foliage is expected to peak in early October this year. But check out this map for more specific geographical estimates, as the Upper Peninsula peaks earlier than the Lower.

Here’s 12 places and drives to help you plan your fall viewing trip.

Note: Locations are arranged from north to south.

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1. Porcupine Mountains State Park

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33303 Headquarters Rd
Ontonagon, MI 49953
(906) 885-5275
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Porcupine Mountains covers 60,000 acres of beautiful forest land in the Upper Peninsula. Check out the Lake of the Clouds, hike one of the many trails, chase one of the many waterfalls, or take a leisurely driving tour.

2. Tahquamenon Falls State Park

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41382 W M-123
Paradise, MI 49768
(906) 492-3415
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The Purest Michigan there is. Get away from all of it and spend some time gazing at the colors surrounding the famous Tahquamenon Falls. Choose from a variety of hiking trails or take in the beauty by boat.

3. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

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(906) 387-3700
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Popular for hiking, kayaking, and boat tours—and getting more popular by the year—the spectacular Pictured Rocks are topped with colorful trees in the autumn. There’s also countless hikes nearby through heavily forested areas that end in waterfalls.

A rockface with trees that have colorful autumn leaves. The rockface is adjacent to a body of water in Michigan. Shutterstock

4. Mackinac Island

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Not fond of the tourist-filled streets during the summer? Fall might be the right time to visit the charming island. Enjoy the vistas, the shops, and the not-so-busy vehicle-free roads.

A waterfront with a pier and houses. In the background are trees with colorful autumn leaves. Shutterstock

5. Tunnel of Trees

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1100-3148, M-119
Harbor Springs, MI 49740

The Petoskey area is usually busy with tourists in the summer. But in the fall, there are many scenic routes to travel in the area, including what might be the best spot of all, the Tunnel of Trees near Harbor Springs.

6. Alpena

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Check out the colors on the sunrise side of the state. The area also has lighthouse tours, hiking trails, and shipwreck viewings on glass-bottomed boats.

7. Old Mission Peninsula

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Go north of Traverse City to a little sliver of wine country. The hills can offer awesome views of the vineyards and Grand Traverse Bay.

An aerial view of Old Mission Peninsula in Michigan. There are fields and trees with colorful autumn leaves. Shutterstock

8. Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive

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Pierce Stocking Scenic Dr
Empire Township, MI

In addition to having some of the most stunning views in the state, the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore dazzles with color in the fall.

A road lined with trees that have colorful autumn leaves in Michigan. Shutterstock

9. Huron National Forest

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3980 Curtisville Rd
South Branch, MI 48761
(989) 739-7351
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The Huron and Manistee National Forests cover over 400,000 acres along the Au Sable River. They’re popular places to camp and kayak, and when fall comes, the expansive forests unleash their full splendor.

10. Saugatuck

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Enjoy the sunset on Lake Michigan, check out the shops and galleries in Saugatuck, and head to the Saugatuck Dunes for hiking colorful trails to the beach.

11. Huron River Drive

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Huron River Dr
Dexter, MI

Between Ann Arbor and Dexter, Huron River Drive offers a short but gorgeously tree-lined drive that’s as good as any in the state. There’s also several nature areas and metroparks along the way where you could stop for a hike or relax along the river.

12. Elmwood Cemetery

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1200 Elmwood St
Detroit, MI 48207
(313) 567-3453
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Fall plans keeping you in the city? Since we’re Detroit-based, we had to include a certified arboretum right in the city. Elmwood Cemetery has grave sites dating back to the early 1800s. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the cemetery features 91 species of trees to enjoy. Walking through, you’ll see a lot of historic Detroit names in their final resting place.

Another spot in the city that’s great for leaf peeping is Belle Isle—also designed by Olmsted.

1. Porcupine Mountains State Park

33303 Headquarters Rd, Ontonagon, MI 49953

Porcupine Mountains covers 60,000 acres of beautiful forest land in the Upper Peninsula. Check out the Lake of the Clouds, hike one of the many trails, chase one of the many waterfalls, or take a leisurely driving tour.

33303 Headquarters Rd
Ontonagon, MI 49953

2. Tahquamenon Falls State Park

41382 W M-123, Paradise, MI 49768

The Purest Michigan there is. Get away from all of it and spend some time gazing at the colors surrounding the famous Tahquamenon Falls. Choose from a variety of hiking trails or take in the beauty by boat.

41382 W M-123
Paradise, MI 49768

3. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Munising, MI 49862
A rockface with trees that have colorful autumn leaves. The rockface is adjacent to a body of water in Michigan. Shutterstock

Popular for hiking, kayaking, and boat tours—and getting more popular by the year—the spectacular Pictured Rocks are topped with colorful trees in the autumn. There’s also countless hikes nearby through heavily forested areas that end in waterfalls.

4. Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island, MI 49757
A waterfront with a pier and houses. In the background are trees with colorful autumn leaves. Shutterstock

Not fond of the tourist-filled streets during the summer? Fall might be the right time to visit the charming island. Enjoy the vistas, the shops, and the not-so-busy vehicle-free roads.

5. Tunnel of Trees

1100-3148, M-119, Harbor Springs, MI 49740

The Petoskey area is usually busy with tourists in the summer. But in the fall, there are many scenic routes to travel in the area, including what might be the best spot of all, the Tunnel of Trees near Harbor Springs.

1100-3148, M-119
Harbor Springs, MI 49740

6. Alpena

Alpena, MI 49707

Check out the colors on the sunrise side of the state. The area also has lighthouse tours, hiking trails, and shipwreck viewings on glass-bottomed boats.

7. Old Mission Peninsula

Peninsula Township, MI 49686
An aerial view of Old Mission Peninsula in Michigan. There are fields and trees with colorful autumn leaves. Shutterstock

Go north of Traverse City to a little sliver of wine country. The hills can offer awesome views of the vineyards and Grand Traverse Bay.

8. Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive

Pierce Stocking Scenic Dr, Empire Township, MI
A road lined with trees that have colorful autumn leaves in Michigan. Shutterstock

In addition to having some of the most stunning views in the state, the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore dazzles with color in the fall.

Pierce Stocking Scenic Dr
Empire Township, MI

9. Huron National Forest

3980 Curtisville Rd, South Branch, MI 48761

The Huron and Manistee National Forests cover over 400,000 acres along the Au Sable River. They’re popular places to camp and kayak, and when fall comes, the expansive forests unleash their full splendor.

3980 Curtisville Rd
South Branch, MI 48761

10. Saugatuck

Saugatuck, MI 49453

Enjoy the sunset on Lake Michigan, check out the shops and galleries in Saugatuck, and head to the Saugatuck Dunes for hiking colorful trails to the beach.

11. Huron River Drive

Huron River Dr, Dexter, MI

Between Ann Arbor and Dexter, Huron River Drive offers a short but gorgeously tree-lined drive that’s as good as any in the state. There’s also several nature areas and metroparks along the way where you could stop for a hike or relax along the river.

Huron River Dr
Dexter, MI

12. Elmwood Cemetery

1200 Elmwood St, Detroit, MI 48207

Fall plans keeping you in the city? Since we’re Detroit-based, we had to include a certified arboretum right in the city. Elmwood Cemetery has grave sites dating back to the early 1800s. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the cemetery features 91 species of trees to enjoy. Walking through, you’ll see a lot of historic Detroit names in their final resting place.

Another spot in the city that’s great for leaf peeping is Belle Isle—also designed by Olmsted.

1200 Elmwood St
Detroit, MI 48207