2023 Michigan Fall Color | When to See Peek Colors | 38 Destinations, Overlooks, Scenic Drives, Weekend Getaways | Predictions for Peak Leaf Peeping | When to See Fall Foliage in Autumn
2023 Michigan Fall Color | When to See Peek Colors | 38 Destinations, Overlooks, Scenic Drives, Weekend Getaways | Predictions for Peak Leaf Peeping | When to See Fall Foliage in Autumn
By Sherry Trautman | Last Updated: October 13, 2023 | Travel-Mi.com
Planning to see Michigan fall colors 2023 but need to know the dates for peak fall colors?
Grab our fall foliage map with estimated dates for 2023 peak color as the trees change to their gorgeous red, yellow and oranges! Perfect time to plan a Michigan fall color road trip.
Leaf peeping is absolutely breathtaking throughout northern Michigan, upper peninsula and lower peninsula.
- SEE BELOW: DOZENS of Destinations, Hikes, Fall Color Tours, Scenic Drives and Weekend Getaways in both the upper peninsula and lower peninsula of Michigan.
Michigan Fall Color Report: When is Peak Foliage, Which Trees Produce the Most Color?
Michigan Fall Color is in Full Swing! The 2023 Fall Foliage Almanac has so far accurately predicted the color of the changing trees.
- Did you know vivid leaf colors are hidden below the green? As sunlight decreases and cold increases, tree growth slows and less green chlorophyll is produced allowing the bright yellow, orange, and red to show.
- Which trees change color? Deciduous trees such as oak, birch and beech show off brilliant reds, yellows and oranges.
Table of Contents (Michigan Fall Color Tour Guides!)
Peak Michigan Fall Color 2023 Map - UPDATED October 13, 2023
Below is our Michigan fall color map 2023. Find out when is peak fall foliage in Michigan! Be sure to watch Michigan weather reports as you plan your leaf peeping color tours of Michigan’s amazing fall foliage. Temperature and the amount of rainfall affect how fast the leaves change.
Michigan Fall Color Predictions for the Upper Peninsula
Michigan Fall Color Predictions for the Upper Peninsula: September 18 - October 13, 2023 (partial to peak).
- UPDATE October 13, 2023: Copper Harbor trees are at peak. Houghton, Keweenaw Counties, Calumet, Marquette, Munising areas are estimated to be full color now.
Looking at last year for reference, by October 13th, Munising was at full peak.
Michigan Fall Color Predictions for Northern Michigan (Lower Peninsula)
September 27-October 20, 2023 (Partial to peak).
- UPDATE October 13, 2023: Mackinaw City is about 80% color. Petoskey is about 70% color change and worth visiting. I just traveled to Boyne Mountain and the colors are gorgeous, about 70%. Boyne City, Belleair and the Charlevoix areas are about full color, absolutely stunning NOW.
- Harbor Springs is about 60% color change
- Tunnel of Trees is about 60% color change and a great time to be there. It's very pretty now. The Harbor Springs Chamber estimates Tunnel of Trees will be peek by October 20th. This northern area takes longer than the Petoskey region.
Looking at last year for reference, by October 14th, Boyne City and Cadillac were full color, Petoskey was 70% color.
Come on out and enjoy the Michigan fall foliage!
- While You are There: City Guides, Best Restaurants, Best Hotels and Fun Things to Do in: Tunnel of Trees, Glen Arbor, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Cheboyan, Mackinaw City, Petoskey, Leland, Traverse City, Alpena, Frankfort, Gladwin, Petoskey
Michigan Fall Color Predictions for Mid Michigan (Lower Peninsula)
Michigan Fall Color Predictions for Mid Michigan: September 28-October 20, 2023 (partial to peak).
- UPDATE October 13, 2023: 60% color change in Midland and Frankenmuth regions. Ludington is 70% color change, full color expected by October 15, 2023. Cadillac is about 70% color change, expecting another 7 days until reaching peak color.
Looking at last year for reference, by October 14th, Midland, Frankenmuth, Flint, Frankenmuth was full color.
- While You are There: City Guides, Best Restaurants, Best Hotels and Fun Things to Do in: Ludington, Midland, Frankenmuth, Bay City, Saginaw, Chesaning, Mt. Pleasant, Cadillac, Flint, Grand Rapids, Holland, Lansing
Michigan Fall Color Predictions for South-Southeast Michigan (Lower Michigan)
Predicted color change October 2-24, 2023 (Partial to Peak color change). Come on out and enjoy the Michigan fall foliage 2023!
- UPDATE October 13, 2023: 50% color in Ann Arbor, Detroit region, Marshall. Friends in Detroit/Rochester say there are pops of color but still a week or two out from peek.
Looking at last year for reference, by October 20th, St Joseph was about peak. By October 14th, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Marshall, Detroit were full Color. Henry Ford/Village was full color then too!
Start planning your Michigan Fall Color Tours to bask in the beauty of Michigan's red, yellow and orange changing leaves!
We hope you enjoy the fall colors in Michigan 2023!
TIP: It is helpful to contact the local Chamber of Commerce or Visitors Center to see if the colors have changed before you book or fully plan your road trip! Weather conditions may cause the leaves to change earlier than intended.
Michigan Fall Color Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best time to see fall colors in Michigan? Fall colors in Michigan begin around the last week of September in upper peninsula. Fall colors begin around the first week of October in Michigan's lower peninsula.
Where is peak color in Michigan? Peak color can be seen all across the state. Visit Michigan's upper peninsula or hot spots like the Tunnel of Trees, Petoskey, Glen Arbor or Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Where to stay to see fall colors in Michigan? Petoskey, Charlevoix, Harbor Springs and Glen Arbor are popular Michigan Fall Color Destinations.
What are fall colors like in Michigan? Michigan fall colors are absolutely exquisite...especially during a sunny day with big puffy clouds as rays of light highlight the yellow, red and orange leaves.
What month do the leaves change color in Michigan? End of September through the first couple of weeks in October are the best months to see the fall color in Michigan.
Has fall colors started in Michigan? YES! The Upper Peninsula is almost in Peak fall color! Houghton, Marquette and Munising are almost peak.
Michigan in the Fall | 6 Incredible Color Drives to Enjoy Beautiful Michigan in Autumn (Michigan Fall Bucket List!)
- Fall Colors in Michigan - COLOR TOUR-13 EPIC PLACES with map
- Epic Michigan Fall Color Tour - COLOR TOUR - 9 AWESOME PLACES with a map
- Michigan in Fall - COLOR TOUR - 10 EPIC PLACES with map
- Tunnel of Trees - SCENIC DRIVE
- Fall Train Rides are another option to see the lovely fall color!!
- Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore - Let me say, visiting Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore this autumn should be on your Michigan Bucket List FOR SURE. Sleeping Bear Dunes has so many glorious hiking trails (like Empire Bluff and Pyramid) with grand vistas of Lake Michigan.
- Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive - Nearby Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive should also be on your Michigan Bucket List to see the fall colors. Tip: Before going to Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, it's best to check this page or call the nearest Chamber of Commerce to see when the colors are changing. This area can remain green well after Petoskey is in full color.
10 Best Places to See Fall Color in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the Keweenaw Peninsula
Map of Where to See Fall Color in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the Keweenaw Peninsula
1. Brockway Mountain Drive in Michigan's Upper Peninsula: Lovely Fall Scenic Drive with Overlooks
Where: Brockway Mountain Dr, Mohawk, MI 49950
The views from the top of Brockway Mountain are spectacular! Brockway Mountain Drive is an 8.8-mile-long lovely scenic roadway located west of Copper Harbor. Chris and I have been there several times as his family lives in the Keweenaw Peninsula.
The views from the top of the mountain overlooking the lush Keweenaw Peninsula and sparkling Lake Superior are just magical any time of year, especially during the fall.
And the best part?
No hiking necessary! You can just drive the winding paved roadway to the top!
2. The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
Where: 33303 Headquarters Rd, Ontonagon, MI 49953
The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park offers visitors over 60,000 acres of scenic woodland areas, jaw-dropping waterfalls, sparkling Lake Superior shoreline, gurgling rivers, and miles of hiking trails.
Fall is the perfect time to visit Michigan’s largest state park located in the Upper Peninsula! Be sure to visit the Porcupines Mountains Visitor Center for exhibits, gift shop, hiking trail conditions and lots of information.
3. St. Ignace Overlook
Ah, St. Ignace in the fall. It's a glorious thing, indeed.
Chris and I will share our secret:
If you want incredible fall views, pay the small fee and walk to the top of Castle Rock. From there, you can see the ferries going to and from Mackinac Island and of course, lovely views of Lake Huron and the surrounding forests.
Oh, and be sure to ride your bike or drive to the nearby Straits State Park. The views are breathtaking! We personally haven't been there in the fall but from our photo below (taken in the summer,) you can use you imagination of how fantastic it is with the autumn colors!
4. Seney National Wildlife Refuge: Scenic Drive
Where: 1986 River Rd, Germfask, MI 49836
The Seney National Wildlife Refuge in Michigan's Upper Peninsula is an absolutely lovely scenic drive. In fact, I always get Chris to drive us through there on our way to Munising or Pictured Rocks Lakeshore.
There are several lookouts, bridges and scenic overlooks. You can see how curvy the drive is on the map above. The drive is free.
5. Cut River Bridge on U.S. Route 2 in Naubinway Michigan
Where: Lake Michigan Scenic Hwy, Naubinway, MI 49762
The Cut River Bridge is located on U.S. Route 2 along the sparkling Lake Michigan shoreline in Naubinway, Michigan. There is a picnic area to enjoy your lunch, vault toilets and a path that takes you under the bridge...very cool photo opportunities!
U.S. Route 2 in itself is very scenic, we always take time to pull off and enjoy the Lake Michigan shoreline along the way.
Then, if you are up to it, take the very long flight of metal stairs down to the ground level to walk the dirt trails along the scenic river that opens into Lake Michigan. I LOVE this riverwalk as it is so peaceful and pretty.
5. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Grab our guide to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore! There's so much to see and do!
6. Munising's Waterfalls are Breathtaking in the Fall
Munising is my personal favorite town in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. If you want to get on the water, you can catch the wild Rip Tide Ride (fast power boat ride) or the Pictured Rocks Cruise tours (slow color tour) to see incredible Michigan fall color. Chris and I have done both!
We've visited Munising several times as there are SO MANY MUNISING WATERFALLS to enjoy! Munising Falls is probably my favorite.
7. Scenic Fall Road Trip: Tahquamenon Falls State Park to Paradise to White Fish Point
Where: Tahquamenon Falls State Park, 41382 W M-123, Paradise, MI 49768
Tahquamenon Falls in the fall is gorgeous. Just try to be there on a sunny day so the trees light up with color! Be sure to visit both the Upper and Lower Falls as they offer vastly different experiences.
Chris and I always enjoy lunch at the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery and then we walk over to the Camp 33 Gift Shop only a few feet from the brewery to pick up a couple fun souvenirs.
Where: Whitefish Point, MI 49768
Then, continue east on scenic M-123, enjoying all the fall colors along the way to Paradise and then north up to Whitefish Point and learn more about the famous wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald.
Plan to spend a couple hours there touring the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, Whitefish Point Lighthouse, and the beautiful nearby beach for great rock hunting. I always bring a canvas bag to bring home a few treasures!
8. Visit Kitch-iti-kipi In the Fall!
The Big Spring, known as Kitch iti kipi, is located in Palms Book State Park in Manistique. Did you know this spring is Michigan's Largest Freshwater Spring?
The area was developed in the late 1920s with the help of Mr. John Bellaire and is a spectacular place to visit in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Be sure to take a fun free ride on an observation raft across the lovely lake. Along the way, peer down into the crystal clear waters to see the huge fish that manage to live in the icy 45 degrees Fahrenheit water.
9. Visit Beautiful Manistique Michigan!
After enjoying some time at Kitch iti kipi, you might as well check out the gorgeous pier and walking paths in Manistique.
Plus, the Colwell Lake Pathway is a 2 mile long loop trail that follows along the edge of Colwell Lake. It is surfaced to be fully accessible. This trail is really beautiful in the fall. Such fantastic views of the lake, trees and wildlife! You can access the trail either from the Colwell Lake Campground or from a trailhead located on M-94 approximately 30 miles north of Manistique or 9.8 miles south of Shingleton.
10. Visit Houghton Michigan
Chris grew up in Houghton Michigan so he loves when this hilly area is ablaze with vibrant color. The Houghton Lift Bridge (just to the left of where this photo was taken) connects Houghton Michigan with Hancock.
Grab our Houghton Michigan guide for lots more information!
16 Best Places to See Fall Color in Northern Michigan (Lower Peninsula)
Each of the links to the cities below are guides with maps that include fun things to do, restaurants and family-friendly activities.
- Alpena and the incredible Rockport State Recreation Area - Alpena has so many fun things to do: Glassbottom Boat Shipwreck Tours (great way to see the fall colors along the way!), fossil hunting, kayaking and more while enjoying the fall color in the region!
- Charlevoix - Tour the incredible Castle Farms, see if you can find all the fun Mushroom Houses and downtown Charlevoix has incredible tree lined vistas!
- Frankfort - Walk the downtown area with incredible tree lined vistas. The marina and lighthouse are worth checking out too.
- Glen Arbor - We love Glen Arbor's quaint downtown. Stop into Cherry Republic for wine tasting, drive scenic M-22, pop into the downtown shops, rent a bike to explore the downtown region!
- Harbor Springs - Harbor Springs has a wonderful downtown and marina. It's the gateway to the Tunnel of Trees so stop there for lunch before your tunnel of trees adventure!
- Tunnel of Trees - The famous Tunnel of Trees is a beautiful as it sounds, especially during Michigan fall color tours. Beginning in Harbor Springs, this scenic Michigan fall color drive take about 40 minutes one way. Click the link above for our guide.
- Leland (Fishtown) - Leland is a lovely fishing village with incredible tree lined streets, rushing dam, and scenic water vistas. Go for the scenery and stay for the shopping and great eats!
- Mackinaw City - Mackinaw City has lovely tree lined streets downtown that are perfect for viewing Michigan fall color. Go for an Ugly Annie boat tour to view the fall colors and see the Mackinac Bridge from a whole new perspective! Go zip lining, eat some Mackinac Island Fudge, go shopping downtown and take a trolley ride!
- Old Mission Peninsula - Old Mission Peninsula is lined with trees and is a scenic color tour in itself. Be sure to see the Mission Point Lighthouse and stop at a couple wineries along the way!
- Leelanau Peninsula - The Leelanau Peninsula
- Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore - we also have hiking trail maps that offer incredible views!
- Tawas - Definitely visit Tawas State Park for fantastic hiking trails and Michigan fall color.
- Traverse City - Be have a great Traverse City travel guide! Be sure to visit Jacob's Farm too!
- Ocqueoc Falls - OMG! If you love Michigan waterfalls, Ocqueoc Falls located in northern Michigan's lower peninsula is a must-see! Especially during Michigan fall color. It will take exquisite photographs!
- Oscoda - There are several incredible spots to visit in Oscoda. Lumberman's Monument is a must see, along with taking a fall color tour on the AuSable River Queen. It's so much fun!
- Manistee River Trail - WOW, my dad and I hiked the Manistee River Trail and it was exquisite! The high views of the river, colorful trees and things to see were unparalleled.
6 Best Places for Fall Color in West Michigan
- Grand Haven
- Ludington and Ludington State Park
- Saugatuck and Saugatuck Dunes State Park
- South Haven
- St Joseph
When Does Fall Start In Michigan?
If you are wondering, "When Does Fall Start in Michigan" or "When is the Best Time for for Fall Colors in Michigan," well, it begins about the second week of September in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
You will start to see bits of color in the lower Peninsula mid September and it continues until about the 2nd or 3rd week in October in the southern parts of Michigan.
Michigan Fall Color FAQ's
See all the Michigan Fall Color FAQ's we get asked each year! We might answer some of yours too!
What is the best time to see fall colors in Michigan?
The best time to see fall color in Michigan is the tail end of September up until about the third week of October. Of course, trees in the Upper Peninsula tend to change early and are past peek around the first or second week of October. The east and west shoreline of Michigan also change early so it's best to check with the local Chamber of Commerce before planning a trip.
What is autumn like in Michigan?
Ahh, autumn in Michigan is magical, especially when we have a few warm days with glorious sunshine. I love taking fall color tours, hikes and photography trips around the first week of October to enjoy the last few days that we can be outside in just a long sleeve shirt or sweatshirt.
What month is autumn in Michigan?
Autumn begin in September and continues through October.
What day is fall in Michigan?
The first day of fall is September 23, 2023. You will have to wait a few days after this date to see Michigan fall colors.
Why Do Leaves Change Color in The Fall?
Can't wait for leaves to change in Michigan each year!
Per the American Forests Blog, leaves get their green color from a chemical called chlorophyll. Tree leaves also have orange and yellow pigments called carotenoids.
During the warmer months, these colors are masked by all the chlorophyll active inside the leaves.
However...as temperatures begin to drop in the fall, chlorophyll production is reduced so reds, yellows and oranges are revealed. Cool, huh!
Autumn Shows Us How Beautiful It Is To Let Things Go!
Pin This Michigan Fall Color Page!
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Also, check out our notes and tips for Mackinac Island! Did you know Mackinac Island has quite a few hidden places to find that many visitors don't know about? Just this last trip we found a whole hidden area that has outstanding views of the island and the surrounding water. We were just thrilled!
Also, we have lots of information on Mackinac Island hotels and places to stay. We made a map so you can pick your lodging by your desired location! Here's some info on Mackinaw City too, since I'm sure you will want to check that out too!
Plus, check out our Michigan Fall Activities and Things to Do!
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