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Experience Michigan’s Fall Color Season

Maple Path, Lansing, Michigan

Maple Path, Lansing, Michigan. Photo by Aunt Owwee

Michigan's 19.3 million acres of forests burst into a dazzling display of fall color each year, with the deep greens of conifers complementing the reds, oranges and yellows of maple, birch, aspen and oak trees. Lining two-lane highways or framing rushing waterfalls, aqua lake waters or meandering streams, the color sweeps across the state starting in the Upper Peninsula about mid-September, and reaching the southern Lower Peninsula around the end of October.

The timing of the changing leaves and intensity of the hues varies from year to year, depending on summer and fall temperatures, precipitation levels, the amount of cloud cover, and lake effect warming. To help track the color calendar Travel Michigan offers a free weekly Fall Color e-Newsletter and posts regular updates at The Web site also suggests fall color driving routes, lodging, dining and shopping information and a calendar of autumn activities from hayrides and cider mills to u-pick farms and festivals.

Leaf peepers can enjoy the views on a time-tested self-driving auto tour, take in the autumn splendor from a bicycle at one of the five linear state parks, and enjoy spectacular color combinations during a hike along Lake Superior at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Or try something a bit more adventurous. Take in the color from Copper Peak, the only ski flying hill in the Western Hemisphere. Drift silently over a patchwork of reds, oranges, yellows and bronze at sunrise, or sunset, in a hot air balloon. Climb aboard a historic steam locomotive-powered train or take in the color from a bird's eye view during an airplane tour.

Bufka Farmstead, Michigan. Photo by Andrew McFarlane

Bufka Farmstead, Michigan. Photo by Andrew McFarlane

Every weekend offers a fall festival or seasonal event such as a hayride, trip to pick a pumpkin or apples, or visits to haunted houses, cider mills and wineries. Corn mazes are a growing trend in fall family fun. Most Michigan mazes range in size from four to 20 acres and boast elaborate designs, with clues planted throughout the maze to help with navigation.

When the air is as crisp as a bite into a delicious Michigan apple, it's time for a visit to a U-Pick farm or a cider mill. Picturesque and historic, some mills have been in operation since the mid 1800s. The haul from an apple-picking outing can yield homemade pie, fresh applesauce or hot spiced cider to fill a home with autumn aromas that are Pure Michigan.

While enjoying the beautiful fall weather, Travel Michigan wants to know where visitors are seeing fall color. Visitors are invited to post their Pure Michigan fall experience, including video and images, on the Pure Michigan Facebook wall, or via Twitter using the tag #MISpy.

Related posts:

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park Celebrates 75 Years Ablaze in Autumn Color
  2. Discover Lighthouses as You Travel the Lake Michigan Circle Tour
  3. Plan your 2009/2010 West Michigan Getaway
  4. Mission Point Resort Offers Mackinac Island’s Most Affordable Fall Packages
  5. 2010 Michigan Travel Ideas Magazine Now Available

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