There’s nothing like fall in West Michigan. With the cooler weather comes the changing leaves in stunning shades of brown, red, yellow, and orange, creating scenic views all across the state. There are so many ways to see the fall foliage before the winter comes, and we’ve got different ways you can witness their beauty. Whether it’s by car, bike, foot, boat, or even chairlift, you won’t want to miss these opportunities to see fall color in West Michigan.
Northern West Michigan & Upper Peninsula Color Tours
Fall offers a timeless spectacle of nature’s artistry in the Mancelona Area, drawing visitors to its awe-inspiring beauty year after year. Deadman’s Hill, nestled within the serene landscapes, takes on a remarkable transformation during the fall season. As the days grow shorter and the air becomes crisp, this picturesque location along Landslide Creek becomes a haven for nature enthusiasts seeking the magic of autumn. The surrounding hillsides burst into a kaleidoscope of colors, with maple and oak trees painting the landscape in vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows.
As the fall leaves begin to change, it’s time to head outside and explore nature’s amazing beauty. Whether you take a driving tour, boat, bike, or walking shoes, head out to explore Charlevoix’s natural wonders. While exploring all that Northern Michigan has to offer, visit Friske Orchards to enjoy numerous tasty treats like a slice of apple pie, you-pick apples, and apple cider.
View the fall colors from the top of the White River Light Station or Big Sable Point Lighthouse this October. Visitors can trek through the meandering trails to witness this breathtaking transformation. It’s a time when the serene beauty of the lighthouses harmonizes with the vibrant autumnal splendor, creating a picturesque scene that captures the essence of fall in its most captivating form.
The Petoskey Area is home to several fall color routes, including the Tunnel of Trees that stretches along the winding bluffs north of Harbor Springs. Along with many color routes, there are some great overlooks in the area, like Avalanche Mountain Preserve in Boyne City and the Skyline Trail in Petoskey. Really, any of the Petoskey Area hiking and biking trails will offer beautiful views of fall color in the autumn season. Looking to make a weekend out of it? Book a cottage at the Legs Inn for scenic views of Lake Michigan and an authentic Polish dinner! Book your stay here.
Explore Cadillac from your car, bicycle, kayak, canoe, motorcycle, or by foot. Experience unforgettable views however you travel. Explore their fall color loops – select a route to view turn-by-turn directions and an interactive map with 200+ miles of roads to explore and over 40 top destinations to enjoy.
What better way to experience the fall colors of Michigan than from the beautiful Pine River valley? Through October 29th, the Pine River Paddlesports Center in Wellston is offering guided fall rafting trips. These safe, guided trips last about 1 hour and 15 minutes – the guide does the majority of the work so you can sit back, sip a hot drink, watch the leaves fall gently into the river, and take in the beauty of autumn! Reservations are required, so call 231-862-3471 to book a guided fall color tour you won’t soon forget!
There are plenty of unique ways to view the fall colors at Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville. Book a tee time and experience the colorful tree-lined fairways and golf cart paths through the woods. Reserve a scenic chairlift ride to take a relaxing trip up the mountain, where you’ll then look over three counties of bright red, gold, and orange for miles. View the colors from two wheels when you rent a bike and explore 12 miles of northern Michigan bike trails. Or walk through the 30-acre Michigan Legacy Art Park and experience where art and history meet as Michigan’s pure natural autumn beauty surrounds you.
With Mother Nature’s annual fall color show just around the corner, it’s time to plan how to experience the kaleidoscope of color. Northern Michigan’s Shanty Creek Resort in Bellaire has you covered with various unique ways to enjoy the fall color, including scenic chair lift rides, fall golf, and more! Located in the heart of Northern Michigan’s Chain of Lakes region, Shanty Creek Resort offers four distinct villages –Summit, Schuss, Cedar River, and the new Hawk’s Eye– each surrounded by unspoiled scenery. Each town delivers a slightly different flavor and variety of outdoor recreation and lodging accommodations.
Marquette County is home to multiple hiking, biking, and driving trails and overlooks for leaf peeping. Notable points include the Iron Ore Heritage Trail, a 47-mile, multi-use interpretive trail; Thomas Rock, a hidden gem scenic lookout; and CR 510 Bridgeview, an overlook that offers views of copper and auburn leaves. For visitors looking for a quick trek with an exceptional view, head out to Harlow Lake and soak in the reflections of autumn on the glassy lake.
Autumn is a fleeting yet magical moment for the Keweenaw’s lush landscape. Deciduous leaves change from vibrant shades of green to yellow, gold, fiery orange, and deep crimson red. There are many ways to take in the beauty of this year’s fall color. Enjoy the views from the water with Keweenaw Adventure Company on one of their guided kayak tours. They offer half or full day adventures, at a variety of different skill levels for those seeking a challenge! You can also experience the changing of the seasons by a chairlift ride, a historic boat tour through the Keweenaw Waterway, or a seaplane adventure. Find your fall adventure here.
Central West Michigan Color Tours
If you’re ready for a breath of fresh air and some relaxation this fall, the country roads in and around Ludington are the perfect driving routes to experience the vibrant colors of the season. They invite you to take advantage of the area’s unforgettable shops, restaurants, and breweries, such as Jamesport Brewery that creates all their brews in house. Plan your fall getaway with lodging specials that take it easy on your pocketbook. When you book one night at the Comfort Inn in October, you’ll get half off the second night! Look for information on events and color tours, and locate their participating accommodations here.
IndiGrow’s cannabis facility tours offer a unique fusion of fall beauty and cultivation expertise. As summer fades, cannabis plants transition to stunning fall colors, mirroring the Muskegon region’s classic autumnal charm. Amid the changing leaves, IndiGrow’s plants showcase nature’s artistry in hues of red, orange, and purple, reflecting their lifecycle stage and the intricate dance of seasons. This unconventional yet captivating experience, alongside Muskegon’s traditional fall foliage, highlights the mesmerizing connection between the natural world and the cannabis plant’s remarkable transformation, both offering a vibrant homage to the enchanting beauty of fall.
Holland is a beautiful place to get your fall fix. For the height of leaf peeping, climb 239 stairs to the top of Mount Pisgah. With its apex 157 feet above Lake Michigan, it offers scenic views of Lake Macatawa, Lake Michigan, and the Big Red Lighthouse and is surrounded by a heavily wooded area blazing in vibrant hues of orange, crimson, and gold. Should you prefer to enjoy autumn’s color show from the comfort of your car, choose one of the Holland area’s fall color driving routes to enjoy the scenery.
This October, Visit Muskegon and White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce celebrate the 19th Annual Depot to Depot! Take a Self-Guided Fall Color Tour from October 1-31. See Muskegon County in all its autumn glory while taking advantage of specials offered by local shops, restaurants, and attractions. Enter the photo contest to win an overnight stay at Shoreline Inn & Conference C and two round-trip passenger passes aboard the Lake Express High-Speed Ferry!
The Grand Haven area is blessed with an amazing system of parks that offer trails through forests, along the rivers, over dunes, and with stunning views of Lake Michigan. Check out their list of top things to see in Grand Haven this fall here.
South West Michigan Color Tours
Want to be immersed in and enjoy Michigan’s beautiful fall colors but not entirely up to hiking the Institute’s trails? Then this is the “tour” for you! Explore the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute’s Hastings property in their motorized mule with seatbelts, stopping to observe and learn about Michigan’s forests and kaleidoscope of fall colors. This tour is minimal (maximum 5 per tour) for specific dates in October, so please reserve your spot early.
“DeutscheMarques Oktoberfest at the Gilmore Car Museum is back for another year of fall festivities for the entire family on Saturday, October 14! Do you drive a German car? Join them at 9:30 a.m. to kick off the day with a preview of the gorgeous fall colors of southwest Michigan on their German Car Color Tour. Then meet them at the Beer Hall in the museum’s Carriage House to enjoy authentic German food and beer with family and friends while the DeutscheMarques Oom-Pah band puts on a show! And don’t forget your lederhosen – they’ll have trophies for the best traditional-dressed gentleman, lady, and child. For additional details, visit here.
Whether you live in Kalamazoo or you’re just passing through, several places should be on your must-see list for fall color. Here are six places to visit in the fall for Instagram-worthy pics that aren’t too far away. Visit Crane’s Pie Pantry Restaurant and Winery, located off the Lake Michigan shoreline with fall colors all around, or the Allegan County State Game area, where the drive takes visitors right through the heart of migrating geese. These places are sure to impress you but don’t forget that getting there is half the fun. Enjoy your road trip from start to finish with these nearby destinations.
The changing leaves of red and gold, as seen from the water, is an unforgettable way to experience a fall color tour in Saugatuck/Douglas. The Star of Saugatuck paddlewheel boat offers cruises down the Kalamazoo River on weekends through October. Stunning views of the beautiful fall landscape can be enjoyed on the open upper deck or the enclosed lower deck, along with an offering of fine wines, domestic beers, and signature cocktails. Or experience the magic of a Michigan fall in Saugatuck/Douglas on foot. Hike through trials and wind your way along sandy beaches, rolling dunes, and a 300-acre natural area for an array of colors.
Looking for a new way to experience the beauty of fall color? Look no further than Coldwater Country! Home to more than 100 lakes, it’s easy to spend the entire day on the water. Launch a boat, kayak, or canoe at one of the many public access points, or rent a boat from one of the area marinas to get out on the water for a fresh, new, and naturally distant perspective of Mother Nature’s magnificent fall color show.