Pure Michigan Fall Color Update – September 25, 2014
Reds are bursting in small patches around the Eastern Upper Peninsula. The tree-lined drive from St. Ignace to Sault Ste. Marie along Mackinac Trail (H-63) promises to be a good choice for this coming weekend. In the Western Upper Peninsula, the area near the Porkies is almost at peak and changing very quickly. Color seekers wanting to get a glimpse of this area at its finest should plan a trip within the next one or two. Locals have also resorted lots of spotty color near Paradise and the entire Whitefish Point region. The Central Upper Peninsula is also reporting good color with peak only a week or two away.
In and around the Charlevoix Area the colors are just beginning to change. Although the foliage along the lakeshore is still mostly summer, viewers fin find some impressive color change further inland. Color seekers in the area this weekend will want to plan a drive down 31 to Friskes Farm Market and Royal Farms Market–both have a bountiful harvest and great baked goods– and then take the breezeway east to see gorgeous colors and rolling hills. Peak conditions are estimated to be one to two week away.
Leaf color in the Grand Traverse Bay and Traverse City areas at this stage is largely confined to highlights of crimson, gold and scarlet from early-turning vines and splashes of purple and orange from low-growing shrubs like chokecherry and sumac. But there’s a growing wave of color just to the east of Traverse City, along the Chain of Lakes region in Antrim County, where higher elevations and cooler temperatures are bringing out the deeper reds and golds of fall.
For a lovely autumn afternoon drive, follow US 31 north from Traverse City as it carves its way past orchards and farms along the shore of East Bay. At Elk Rapids, turn right at the light and follow Ames Street (which becomes the Cairn Highway) along the northern shore of Elk Lake, through the village of Kewadin and southward again on County Road 593. This road will take you along the eastern shore of the lake, across the Torch River as it empties into Torch Lake, and into the village of Rapid City. Continue east on 593 (now known also as Valley Road) as it winds its way up through the narrow valley of the Rapid River. A good stop here is at The Seven Bridges, where the river separates briefly into several braided streams. Continue up the valley past Rugg Pond, another very scenic area where a young Ernest Hemingway once camped, until the road ends at M-72. Turn right and follow the highway west to Traverse City, where you’ll pass a dramatic vista of Elk Lake and nearby Lake Skegemog. Peak conditions in the Grand Traverse Bay region is still one to two more weeks away.
The Gaylord area fall color explosion is just starting to get underway with about 10 percent change at this time. Conditions are estimated to peak in two to three weeks.
The majority of trees in Midland, Saginaw and Bay counties are still sporting their summer greens; however, driving north on I-75, M-52 and M-83, you will see a burst of vibrant reds, crimsons and various shades of gold. The area anticipates peak color in one to two weeks.
Maples in Southwest Michigan’s Saugatuck-Douglas area are beginning to get a touch of red. A number of area ash and sassafras trees are beginning to show vibrant fall color also. Virginia Creeper vines are reported to be especially striking this week dressed in their classic seasonal bright red color. The area won’t see peak conditions for at least three to four more weeks.
Fall is definitely in the air, even if the tree tops in the Ann Arbor area are still lush and green. Canoe or kayak along the Huron River to immerse yourself within the landscape or visit Nichols Arboretum and Matthaei Botanical Gardens to walk and experience picturesque trails for hikers of all skill levels. The Dexter Cider Mill and Wiard’s Orchards & Country Fair are two must-experience attractions for seasonal fare like cider and doughnuts. The vendors at Ann Arbor Farmers Market also have colorful bounties ready for you to enjoy. Big Ten football fan and enthusiastic color seekers won’t see peak conditions for another three to four week, but the area has a number of activities and attractions to fall for until then.
2014 Official Pure Michigan Travel Guide
Start planning your next Pure Michigan getaway with the new 2014 fall travel guide today!
The 2014 Pure Michigan Fall Travel Guide highlights fascinating sights to see, intriguing places to go and great activities to hiking, biking, golf, antiquing, waterfowl hunting, auto-heritage tours and brilliant Fall-color drives to participate in throughout Michigan.
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