Dear Crabby, Where is the Best Place to See Michigan’s Beautiful Fall Colors?

Dear Crabby,

Lately, the weather has been wacky. Are there still places where I can drive to see the leaves changing or have I missed my chance?

Thanks!
Greta Greenery

Dear Greta Greenery,

Good news – you’re in luck! Typically, toward the end of September is when the trees start to turn, but the warmer weather has delayed the process a bit. So, while there is still time to catch the color-changing happening around our beautiful state, I wouldn’t wait too long, though. Especially, if you plan on taking a road trip.

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Dear Crabby Gives Advice

There are two ways to see fall color in Michigan. The first is to drive north. According to the Pure Michigan folks, two of the most northern points, the Keweenaw Peninsula and Isle Royale, start to see colors change on the fall equinox. That was September 22, for all you folks too lazy to look it up. By October 1, the Upper Peninsula and the northern half of the Lower Peninsula reach their peak. And as of this past Monday, October 11, the entire state was at her most colorful and that should stick around until at least Halloween when the leaves start to fall. The second way to see the color is to go higher. That’s right. Get out of your car and hoof it up a trail so you can see the trees from above. But if you’re lazy like me, there are routes you can take to see the color from the comfort of your car. Here are a few examples:

  • West Michigan Pike, the M-31 highway up the Lake Michigan coast
  • Sunrise Coast, the US 23 highway that lines Michigan’s northeast coast
  • Tunnel of Trees, a scenic route on M-119 in Emmet County, near the top of the lower peninsula

If these routes are still further than you’d like to drive, try the Pathway to Family Fun, which follows M-15 off of I-75 to Saginaw. Or Orion Road between Rochester and Lake Orion. That way you can stop off for delicious cider and donuts at Goodison Cider Mill. Before you set off on your foliage adventure, let’s talk trees. Specifically, what colors you’ll find along the way:

  • Red Leaves – Found on Oak trees, as well as sugar and red Maple trees
  • Yellow to Deep Red Leaves – Found on Sassafras trees, which are throughout southern Michigan
  • Golden Yellow Leaves – Found on Aspen, Hickory, and Tamarack trees
  • Bright yellow Leaves – Found on Ginkgo trees, which are commonly found on streets

I hope this answers your question. And if you do hit up a cider mill along the way, take the scenic route to my place and drop some donuts off.

Dear Crabby

About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at editor@rochestermedia.com.

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