Fall Color Tours: The Western Upper Peninsula

Mom's Vista from Tiffibunny

Mom’s Vista, photo from Tiffibunny

This is one of a large number of great photos from all over the US posted by Tiffany Follett that were taken by her mom (see her set From My Mom for more!). It’s a view of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park from M-107 that was taken in September 2003.

I thought this was a perfect photo to use to highlight Ironwood – Silver City – Wakefield, the first Michigan fall color driving tour from Michigan.org that I’m going to try and flesh out with photos from the Absolute Michigan group on Flickr and links to even more photos and information. View from Copper PeakI hope this isn’t seen as a rip-off – the tours they have developed are pretty cool and my hope is that this can be a complement to what Travel Michigan has put together. If you take the tour and/or have observations, photos or links to add, please do in the comments below!

This tour starts at the western end of Michigan’s stretch of US-2, in the town of Ironwood. Absolute Michigan’s page for Ironwood lists Copper Peak Ski Flying (MoodyGoat offers View from the Top – that’s over 1800′ up!) and the Western UP CVB as some notable sites. To those I’ll add the North Country National Scenic Trail, which enters Michigan at Ironwood and goes all the way to the Mackinac Bridge (explore the UP portion of the trail) and North Guide’s WesternUP.com (they are regularly posting fall color photos too).

They send you down U.S. 2 to Wakefield, one of many ore towns settled in the late 1800s, and then up County Road 519 to the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park where you can catch staggering views like the one above (lots more from the Porkies on Michigan in Pictures). The photo below is Lake of the Clouds, Porcupine Mountains by J. Michael Ducey.

Lake of the Clouds, Porcupine Mountains by J. Michael DuceyNext it’s east to Silver City, about which Hunt’s Guide to the UP says:

Today Silver City is mostly a collection of tourist-oriented resorts and other businesses along M-107 near the entrance to Porcupine Mountains State Park. But for three years in the 1870s it was a silver mining boom town. At the fur-trading post that was the first settlement here, stories circulated about silver found by Indians back in the woods away from Lake Superior. Homesteader Austin Corser actually found the silver on the Little Iron River in the 1850s. He kept quiet about it until he proved his claim. In the 1870s he revealed the silver, sold his land, and left. Only one brick of silver, worth $723, was ever shipped from Silver City.

Then it’s south on M-64 to Bergland, located at the northern tip of the Upper Peninsula’s largest lake, Lake Gogebic. They suggest stretching your legs on the Gogebic Ridge Hiking Trail or Lake Gogebic State Park before heading back west to Ironwood.

You can check out more photos from this area on the Absolute Michigan group’s map on Flickr (and add your own!) and get your desktop in theme with the season with out Michigan Fall Wallpaper series!

More of Travel Michigan’s Fall Color Tours.

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