As the fall colors are nearing their sunset or have peaked in many locations around Michigan, this will be the last Pure Michigan fall color update for the 2014 season.
Most of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is past peak; however, there is still some good color as you drive through the region. Again this weekend, state parks and forest lands as well as shoreline drives still provide some of the best viewing. Fall is a great time to visit the Upper Peninsula’s more than 40 lighthouses. Bring your binoculars for better views of the thousands of songbirds and waterfowl winging their way. For additional details, contact the Upper Peninsula Travel & Recreation Association, the Sault Convention & Visitors Bureau or the St. Ignace Visitors Bureau.
Moving into the weekend, most of the Lower Northern Peninsula counties, as well as the East and West Central Lower Peninsula counties are displaying the season’s peak conditions now. Visitors to these regions will want to call ahead as wind and rain will cause leaves to drop as the season draws to an end. Although the annual color explosion is fading rapidly, some areas are still exhibiting noticeable color along country roads, shoreline drives, nature trails, state parks, outdoor recreational venues and at local farm markets and wineries. Below you'll find a round-up of communities reporting for this up-coming weekend.
Peak color has arrived in Grand Traverse Bay area at last--and with a little bit of luck it should be with us for several weeks. Most maples around the area are now showing good color, entirely aflame with orange, red and gold, though a few are still completely green. Aspen, black walnut and box elder trees are now adding a buttery yellow to the mix, and in the higher elevations toward Bellaire in the northeast and in the Forest Lakes area south of town, we are seeing some oaks adding their own russet, crimson and purple tints. Fall color is most advanced just northeast of town in the Chain of Lakes region of Antrim County. The hills surrounding Elk Lake and Torch Lake are particularly lovely right now, as well as the steep valley of the little Rapid River, whose forested slopes look as though they were transported from somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains. (A good stop here is at The Seven Bridges, where the river separates briefly into several braided streams.) Don’t neglect the area around the quaint Victorian village of Bellaire -- especially the hilly landscape around Shanty Creek Resorts. For details, contact Traverse City Tourism.
Peak color has gracefully and strategically painted the landscape of Clare County and now is the perfect time to visit the area for breathtaking colors and harvest-time fun. The backdrop of color against the green farm fields is especially beautiful. Throughout the season, color seekers can enjoy hunting, hiking, nature, biking and award-winning golf. Take a side trio to tour our thriving Amish community and its auctions. Visit soon, as the area is experiencing peak conditions now. For details, contact the Clare County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The Mt. Pleasant area is currently experiencing peak conditions and is ablaze with vibrant fall color; however, many of the leaves are beginning to fall. Visitors will be enthralled by the sun-soaked beauty of the Chippewa River, waterfront parks and the numerous trails that take you back to nature. Mt. Pleasant area has captured that small town charm with its local restaurants and events and excitement of big city amenities with Central Michigan University and the Soaring Eagle Casino. Visitors to the area are encouraged to contact the Mt. Pleasant Area Convention & Visitors Bureau for additional color-touring details for the upcoming weekend.
Take a slow drive along Blue Star Highway between South Haven and Saugatuck and you will find some of the most splendid fall color you’ll see anywhere. Take an evening drive so you can make your final stop at Oval Beach in Saugatuck to gaze at a magnificent sunset with its own kaleidoscope of color. Heading north from Saugatuck on I-196, the color show continues. The drive is full of color and also offers a variety of eateries, shops and an exciting list of things to see and do to fill a weekday or a long weekend. This weekend is an ideal weekend to plan your visit to the area, while the colors are at peak. Contact the Saugatuck-Douglas Convention & Visitors Bureau for more details
Trees across Branch County are mostly a blaze of color. Hop abroad the Little River Railroad steam train to see the striking color variations as you cruise through the countryside. Don't forget your cameras! Peak is less than one week away. Contact the Coldwater Country Conference & Visitors Bureau for details.
Southwestern Michigan puts on a fabulous show with its annual fall color transformation as you travel along the jewel colored roads throughout the region. This area, bordering Lake Michigan's southern shore, seems to catch fire when the leaves explode into various shades of red, brown, yellow and orange hues. The countryside is warm with color from some 31 northern broad-leaf trees. Fall also is a great time to stock up on the cornucopia of fruits and vegetables being harvested throughout the region. As you meander through on your journey, stop and sip award-winning wine from more than 16 wineries-from what the locals call the "Napa Valley of the Midwest. Peak color is one to two weeks away. Contact the Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council for more details.