Best Fall Colors in Michigan TOUR 2023: 13 Best Places to See Peak Colors, Scenic Overlooks and Drives, Foliage, Fall Getaway, Boardwalks | Michigan Fall Color Tour Map | Tunnel of Trees, Petoskey, Boyne Mountain, West Michigan, Northern Michigan

Best Fall Color in Michigan Tour: Best Places to See Peak Colors and Foliage | Last updated: August 26, 2023 | Michigan Fall Color Tour Map | By Sherry Trautman | Traveling Michigan

Are you looking for the best places to see fall colors in Michigan? Do you need a Michigan color tour map?  

Keep reading, you've got you!

  • Chris and I love to drive this exact route every fall to see the peak colors in Michigan. Since we have personally traveled to all of these spots so we can recommend them to you with confidence!

This is such a perfect Michigan color tour route for 2023 as it involves several chances to get out of the car and go for short hikes to see colorful Michigan foliage and enjoy sweeping overlooks with views of the peak fall colors in Michigan. 

Of course, I had to sneak in a little shopping and an incredible Michigan color tour along the way with curvy scenic roads.  Our tour takes you along side roads in west Michigan and northern Michigan.

Plus there are tons of Michigan fall getaway ideas below!

Are you ready?

Grab our Michigan fall color map to see the peak colors in Michigan and let's go! So many scenic overlooks and scenic drives!

Pack Up And Head Out To See These Breathtaking Fall Colors In Michigan!


Best Places to See Fall Colors in Michigan

This Michigan Color Tour will covers Northern Michigan (lower peninsula) and West Michigan. 

This Michigan Color Tour map includes:

  1. High Rollaway Observation Deck (See peak fall colors in Michigan)
  2. Rugg Pond Dam Walking Trail (See a rushing river, dam and pond)
  3. Seven Bridges Natural Area (Incredible rushing river with boardwalks)
  4. Grass River Natural Area (Beautiful 1.5 miles of boardwalks, rivers, lake)
  5. Deadman's Hill Overlook (See Michigan Fall Colors from a high vantage point)
  6. Boyne Mountain Resort (Chairlift rides and scenic views of peak colors in Michigan!)
  7. Boyne City (Beautiful lakeside city with scenic views of Michigan foliage)
  8. Coveyou Scenic Farm Market (Love farmers market with pumpkins, home goods, honey and more.  Plus an incredible scenic view of Michigan fall foliage.
  9. Petoskey (Shopping, restaurants and lovely views of Lake Michigan)
  10. Harbor Springs - (Great shopping, restaurants, biking)
  11. Tunnel of Trees - (One of the most scenic routes in America!)
  12. Good Hart - Cute shops along the Tunnel of Trees Scenic Heritage Route
  13. Cross Village - Shopping and Leg's Inn along the Tunnel of Trees Scenic Heritage Route

Michigan Fall Tour Ideas & Resources 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time to see fall colors in Michigan?  Grab our fall color changing predictions here but it's generally the week of October 10-16ish time frame for Traverse City region.

Where can I see fall colors in Michigan? Michigan fall colors are incredible throughout the state, but resounding popular places to see fall color tends to be in northwest Michigan.  Sleeping Bear Dunes, Traverse City and all across the mid to western regions of Michigan. See our guide below!

When fall colors will peak in Michigan in 2023? Grab our fall color changing predictions here!

How long does it take to drive through the tunnel of trees? It takes about 30 minutes one way if you don't stop, but I would plan about 2.5 hours if you take your time and stop in Harbor Springs, Good Hart and Cross Village.

Michigan Fall Color Tour Map

Zoom in and out to see the desired stops and click this Michigan Fall Color Tour GOOGLE Map for live directions as you drive!

If you are wondering where are the best fall colors in Michigan right now, we've listed them below!


1. High Rollaway Observation Deck-Our First Stop On Our Michigan Color Tour!

Address: Kingsley, MI 49649

Is 200 feet above the Manistee River Valley high enough for you?  The High Rollaway Observation Deck offers an absolutely stunning view of the valley and lush trees below. 

  • The High Rollaway Observation Deck is an incredible place to see fall colors in Michigan!

You can see the sparkling Manistee River snaking its way through the valley far below.  It was fun to see several kayakers maneuver the tight river turns of the scenic Manistee River as they enjoyed the Michigan fall color.  

2. Rugg Pond Dam Walking Trail To See Stunning Fall Michigan Foliage

Rugg Pond Dam is located on Valley Rd NW just south of Seven Bridges Natural Area.

Rugg Pond Dam is on our Michigan fall color tour because I thought it was such a cool unexpected discovery and I want to share it with you! 

  • Plus, Valley Rd NW offers incredible Michigan fall foliage.

I absolutely love watching the gushing dam spill into the absolutely beautiful Rapid River from Rugg Pond.  The forest surrounding Rugg Pond is very scenic, especially during Michigan fall, and there are several benches along the way so you can sit and enjoy the view and wildlife! 

There is also a trail into the woods that locals enjoy on a nice summer or fall day.  So take the time to stop for a few minutes and enjoy Rugg Pond Dam!

Parking is only a few feet from the Dam (it's right off Valley Rd NW) so if you are short on time you can see the dam in about 15 minutes.

3. Seven Bridges Natural Area is a Michigan Hidden Gem! 

Michigan Hidden Gem Alert!

Valley Road, Rapid City Michigan

  • Seven Bridges Natural area is a quiet place with several boardwalks that meander through lovely cedar trees. It's our third stop on our Michigan color tour!

For me, the highlight of this Michigan hiking trail is the seven scenic boardwalk bridges that cross over the gurgling Rapid River.

The trail is very easy to manage.  The terrain is flat and is a combination of boardwalks, dirt paths and grassy areas. It's a great place to get an up close and personal look at peak fall colors in Michigan!

Here is a trail map of the Seven Bridges Natural Area. It is about .8 miles round trip and very easy, flat and fun for the whole family.  

Much of the trail follows the Rapid River, which is one of my favorite aspects! You will also pass through this lovely environment of tall grasses and beautiful trees. 

There are no restrooms/porta-johns here.

4. Grass River Natural Area-Fabulous Michigan Hiking Trail to See Peak Colors in Michigan

Boardwalk alongside tall grasses and a small scenic pondGrass River Natural Area is so serene and peaceful!

Michigan Hidden Gem Alert!

Grass River Natural Area is located at 6500 Alden Highway, Bellaire, MI. 

There are several miles of walking or hiking trails at Grass River Natural Area.  I'm absolutely in love with this place!

It's one of my favorite places to visit in Michigan in the fall as the temperatures are cooler, the trees are magnificent and it's very quiet. Grass River Natural Area is a great place to see fall colors in Michigan!

I highly recommend taking the Sedge Meadow Boardwalk loop beginning at #16 and walking clockwise toward #18 and #15.  It is incredibly scenic with boardwalks, bridges and scenic views of the the Grass River.  

I also love to walk out to the dock as it feels like another world out there as you wander through the grasses.  It's absolutely lovely. 

  • Grass Lake Natural Area is free but donation boxes are available. There is also a nature center.  Porta-johns are available in the parking area.

Time Allotment: Depending on how many trails you want to walk, you could spend 1.5 hours to all day.  It's an incredible place. Pack snacks and drinks. 

There are porta johns bathrooms here. 

Isn't this view just lovely! It's only one of many along the Sedge Meadow Boardwalk Loop.

5. Visit Deadman's Hill Scenic Overlook-One of the Best Places to See Fall Colors in Michigan 

Deadman's Hill Scenic Overlook is a lovely overlook requiring a very short walk up a gradual hill.  It's definitely worth it! 

6. Boyne Mountain Resort and Fall Ski Lift - See the Peak Fall Colors From the Sky!

You need to head to Boyne Mountain to ride their ski lift this fall or harvest season! 

It's one of my favorite fall getaways in Michigan! Where else can you get such a great birds eye view of peak fall colors in Michigan!?

So if you are wondering where to see fall colors in Michigan, this is it!

  • For a small fee, you can glide to the top of the ski hill for a magnificent view of the changing trees and the lovely Boyne Mountain Michigan resort.

You don't need to buy tickets ahead of time but you may stand in line for a few minutes.  Plus, plan to stay for lunch or dinner as there is a cute restaurant right near the chair lift.  You can see why it's one of the best places to visit in Michigan in the fall!

7. Visit Lovely Boyne City Michigan!

Our next stop to see fall colors in Michigan is lovely Boyne City.  I love Boyne City Michigan as there are several fantastic restaurants right on the water. We recommend Cafe Sante for their wood fired pizzas.  Freakin' awesome! 

Take time to wander the downtown area shops, the marina and the docks.

Heck, if it's a nice day, rent a boat from Boyne Watersports! 

They have kayaks, pontoons and jet skis.

You only live once, right?

8. Coveyou Scenic Farm Market in Petoskey-Great Stop On Our Michigan Color Tour Map!

Coveyou Scenic Farm Market Location: 4160 US-131, Petoskey Michigan.

Just south of Petoskey is Coveyou Scenic Farm Market, a lovely spot to pick our pumpkins, preserves, gifts and pretty much everything you need for the fall season!

Coveyou Scenic Farm Market in East Jordan also holds events throughout the season on their gorgeous new deck with incredible views of forests and Walloon Lake.  You will love this stop along our Michigan color tour!

There are no restrooms at this stop.

9. Explore Petoskey Michigan

We love visiting Petoskey in any season throughout the year! 

Stay at the Inn at Bay Harbor

Stay at the Inn at Bay Harbor located 4 miles west of Petoskey!  

This luxury inn is located right on the shores of Lake Michigan and offers in-house dining options, e-bike rentals, pool, spa and luxurious rooms. We greatly enjoyed our stay!

It's a great place to stay while enjoying the fall colors in Michigan!

10. Harbor Springs: Gateway of the Tunnel of Trees

You will absolutely love visiting Harbor Springs! This lovely lakeside town overlooks the Little Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan.  Take time to wander the quaint downtown, grab some lunch and wander the marina.

Harbor Springs Chamber recommends visiting Ahrens Gallery and Studio located at 5200 West Lake Road Harbor Springs MI. This gallery is open year round with incredible artwork.

Read more: Best Things To Do in Harbor Springs! 

Walking along marinas and watching the boats is one of my favorite things to do in Michigan.  Harbor Springs has a lovely marina, so be sure to take the time to enjoy it.

  • There are public restrooms at the marina.

11. Tunnel of Trees - Voted One of the Most Scenic Drives in America!

Are you ready to see some of the best fall colors in Michigan? The famous tunnel of trees is a Michigan fall destination. 

Michigan's Tunnel of Trees was voted one of the most scenic drives in America by USA Today's readers! 

The Tunnel of Trees is a 20 mile route through beautiful trees with breathtaking views of Lake Michigan.  It's not to be missed.

  • Grab our in-depth ----> Tunnel of Trees guide with lots of stops along the way and things to do!  
  • The Tunnel of trees area includes Harbor Springs, Good Hart and Cross Village.

Visit the tunnel of trees this Michigan fall!

12. Visit Charming Good Hart Michigan!

Good Hart Michigan consists of three shops: Primitive Images, A Studio and the General Store; all within steps of each other. It's a great spot to stretch your legs, do a little shopping and use the porta-johns located at the back of the General Store. 

The stores have everything from Michigan gifts to snacks, home décor and tea tastings, so be sure to stop for about 45 minutes and enjoy the area.

Picnic tables are also available in Good Hart so you can enjoy your lunch along the Tunnel of Trees Heritage Route.

13. Explore Cross Village

Cross Village is a small town worth exploring and one of our favorite places to visit in Michigan in the fall. It's highlight (in our opinion) is having dinner at Legs Inn, famous for their polish cuisine and eclectic interior. 

Legs Inn was named “2nd most iconic restaurant” in the state of Michigan by How cool, huh?

They don't accept reservations so we recommend getting there about an hour before you are starving to death!

TIP: Legs Inn generally closes at the end of the third week of October for the season, so be sure to check their website for hours and days they are open. 

Leg's Inn has two shops to explore and their backyard overlooks sparkling Sturgeon Bay and Lake Michigan. Legs Inn takes great pride in their lovely gardens, so be sure to check them out. 

Here's a Freakin' Cool Idea: Why Not See the Fall Colors in Michigan By Hot Air Balloon?  

Several companies offer hot air balloon rides year round, especially during the fall colors in Michigan.  I mean seriously, how cool would that be to drift over forests of yellow, orange and red trees? The photographic opportunities are just mind boggling. 


Grab our Michigan Hot Air Balloon Rides Guide to book a crazy cool Michigan fall adventure!

Other Fun Articles You May Like!

Did You Know You Can See Fall Color at Sleeping Bear Dunes? + Hike Scenic Fall Trails?

So guys, if you are staying in Traverse City, you must visit Sleeping Bear Dunes! 

See More Places to Visit in Michigan in the Fall

  • See our Michigan in Fall page that covers: Where to see upper peninsula fall colors and more peak colors in Michigan. 

When Is the Best Time to See Michigan Fall Color?

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About the Lead Author | Sherry Trautman

Thanks for stopping by!

Our Words of Wisdom: “Never follow anyone else’s path. Unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path, then by all means follow that path.”

"Sherry & Chris"

We're Sherry and Chris the founders of one of Michigan's most comprehensive and Top Travel Blogs!

    Sherry Trautman is a seasoned business owner and a multifaceted content creator, deeply entrenched in the world of travel in Michigan. With her extensive background in writing, editing, photography, marketing, website design, web mastering, social media, and publishing, she is the driving force behind the acclaimed Michigan Travel site "" A lifelong Michigander, Sherry's journey began in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan led her to St. Joseph during her formative years, and further to Kalamazoo for her higher education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design and Fine Art from Western Michigan University. Her career initially blossomed in Battle Creek, where she contributed significantly to aviation, marketing, and the art industry.

    In 2018, Sherry, alongside her husband Chris, embarked on a passionate endeavor with the inception of This venture was not just a business but a full-time commitment to exploring and celebrating the diverse landscapes and communities of Michigan. Together, they tirelessly traverse the state, curating unique experiences, capturing stunning visuals, and weaving engaging narratives that showcase Michigan's rich cultural tapestry and natural beauty. From her early experiences in different Michigander locales to her extensive professional background, Sherry's life and work epitomize a deep-rooted expertise in Michigan travel, making her an authoritative voice in this niche.

Sherry & Chris are at the Inn at Bay Harbor and looking out at the lake.
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