M22 Color Tour

Color Tour … south M-22, photo by Ken Scott Photography

While the leaves have yet to turn for serious in northwest lower Michigan, Michigan picked up yet another national accolade. The readers of USA TODAY​ voted for the best fall scenic drive and their #1 pick was Michigan’s M-22:

The M-22 route along Lake Michigan is one of America’s most beautiful tours, and it gets even better in the fall. This 116-mile road brings visitors through the peaceful countryside and along the shore, past small businesses, wineries, galleries and, of course, countless colorful trees. Visitors can stop and visit points of interest along the way and meet some locals, making this fall leaves trip a little bit wildlife and a little bit small town, all in one.

As a person who’s lived on or near M-22 for much of my life, I heartily agree! Read on to see the other selections, learn more about the 116-mile Michigan Highway 22, and visit this website for more about M-22 Fall Color Touring.

View Ken’s photo bigger, check out lots more of his pics of M-22 in every season and definitely follow him on Facebook!

Lots more fall color on Michigan in Pictures!

Fall Color in the Mitten

October 5, 2012

Fall Colors-HDR

Fall Colors-HDR by Mi Bob, photo by Mi Bob

Fall color is really kicking in around the state. It’s looking like this weekend may be the optimal time for your color tour, as Michigan’s summer drought might cause an earlier leaf drop.

The Freep has a nice aerial from the UP and reports that Upper Peninsula color is at 60-80%. If you head over to the Marquette Country Facebook, you can see a lot of photos from all across the UP. The West Michigan color report shows 40-50% coverage and they have photos from across the region on their West Michigan Weekly blog. Of course you can also search for “autumn” in the Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr to see the latest as well!

If you’re looking for some ideas on where to go, Pure Michigan fall color tours for everywhere in the state and other ideas for fall travel. This photo was taken near Muskegon, and while Pure Michigan doesn’t have a tour there among their 20+ tours, the West Michigan Tourist Association has a whole bunch of color tours including one that goes along the lakeshore near Muskegon.

Check this out on black and see more in Mi Bob’s Fall in West Michigan slideshow.

There’s lots more barns and fall color on Michigan in Pictures.

Fall is coming down the road

September 18, 2012


Autumn, photo by AcrylicArtist

After 70s and 80s for weeks & weeks, there’s a snap in the air as the north wind is rustling the leaves and it’s still dark at 6:30 in the morning. Those longer nights are key to the Science of Fall Color, and you can read all about what makes leaves change color and see another cool fall photo at that link!

Starting to lay plans as to how to enjoy Michigan’s fall color? While a helicopter color tour is probably out of reach for most of us, the fall color tours on Pure Michigan offer some solid ideas for experiencing Michigan at its colorful best. One note: while they invite you to see the dynamic colors of a trillion trees, the actual number (according to Michigan Forests Forever) is about 11.3 billion. That’s still quite a lot – here’s hoping you get to see at least a few hundred thousand!

Check this out background bigtacular and in Rodney’s Autumn slideshow.

Many more fall photos & wallpaper from Michigan in Pictures.

The Science of Fall Color

September 28, 2011

Autumn Copper Harbor

Autumn Copper Harbor, photo by Brian Callahan (Luxgnos.com).

There’s no doubt that the annual fall show that Michigan puts on is one of the best, but did you ever stop to think about the process that causes deciduous trees to change color? Well, here’s your chance…

The Science of Color in Autumn Leaves from the United States National Arboretum explains that process that starts the cascade of events that result in fall color is a growth process that starts in late summer or early autumn. When the nights get long enough, a layer of cells called the abscission layer forms that begins to block transport of materials from the leaf to the branch.

During the growing season, chlorophyll is replaced constantly in the leaves. Chlorophyll breaks down with exposure to light in the same way that colored paper fades in sunlight. The leaves must manufacture new chlorophyll to replace chlorophyll that is lost in this way. In autumn, when the connection between the leaf and the rest of the plant begins to be blocked off, the production of chlorophyll slows and then stops. In a relatively short time period, the chlorophyll disappears completely.

This is when autumn colors are revealed. Chlorophyll normally masks the yellow pigments known as xanthophylls and the orange pigments called carotenoids — both then become visible when the green chlorophyll is gone. These colors are present in the leaf throughout the growing season. Red and purple pigments come from anthocyanins. In the fall anthocyanins are manufactured from the sugars that are trapped in the leaf. In most plants anthocyanins are typically not present during the growing season.

As autumn progresses, the cells in the abscission layer become more dry and corky. The connections between cells become weakened, and the leaves break off with time. Many trees and shrubs lose their leaves when they are still very colorful. Some plants retain a great deal of their foliage through much of the winter, but the leaves do not retain their color for long. Like chlorophyll, the other pigments eventually break down in light or when they are frozen. The only pigments that remain are tannins, which are brown.

The explain that because the starting time of the whole process is dependent on night length, fall colors appear at more or less the same time every year and are not overly dependent on temperature, rainfall or other factors, other than the fact that weather can shorten or prolong the show by stripping leaves from trees.

Click through to the US Arboretum for more and also see Fall & Fuit from the Science of Color and Wikipedia’s entry on Autumn leaf color.

This photo was taken on Highway 41, just outside of Copper Harbor. Michigan in Pictures has a great Fall Color Tour for the Keweenaw Peninsula (Houghton, Eagle River, Copper Harbor) that you’ll want to check out. It’s one of a number of Travel Michigan’s Fall Color Tours that you can enjoy courtesy Pure Michigan. More fall fun in the Michigan Fall Wallpaper Series and The Colors of Fall.

Check this photo out bigger and see more in Brian’s Autumn Color slideshow.

maplepath by Aunt Owwee

maplepath, photo by Aunt Owwee

Our next fall color tour from Travel Michigan, Lansing – Grand Ledge – Hastings – Battle Creek – Eaton Rapids, starts where the above photo was taken: at the Fenner Nature Center in Lansing (once known as the Fenner Arboretum). The park is named after biologist Carl G. Fenner and has 130 acres with 4 miles of trails winding through maple groves, pine forests, swamp forests, old fields and 3 different ponds. This weekend (Oct 20 & 21) they’re having an Apple Butter Festival. Aunt Owwee (Shirl) has a cool four seasons view from here and lot more great shots of autumn in Michigan.

If you’ve got the nature center bug, you can stop at the Woldumar Nature Center, located along the Grand River not far southwest of Lansing. From there, head out M-43 to Grand Ledge. Fitzgerald Park aka “The Ledges” are absolutely gorgeous in the fall, as evidenced by this photo from Rein Nomm of Fall at the Ledges that appeared last year on Michigan in Pictures. Not convinced? Search fall at Grand Ledge on Flickr. Last weekend, the city of Grand Ledge held their annual Color Cruise, but there’s still plenty of color to be found.

Thornapple River by hansendmThen it’s on to Hastings and Historic Charlton Park, a re-creation of a 19th century town. The structures are open only Memorial Day to Labor Day but you can certainly enjoy strolling along the river. For a little more exercise, jump on the non-motorized vehicle only Paul Henry – Thornapple Trail (see photos of the trail on Flickr). When complete, the trail will be a 42-mile route from Grand Rapids to Vermontville. The photo to the right of the Thornapple River was taken by hansendm.

The it’s on to Gull Lake and the W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary. The sanctuary is one of the North America’s pioneer wildlife conservation centers and offers a chance to see birds in the wild, bird displays and birds of prey enclosures featuring rare and common raptors including a bald eagle, red-tailed hawks and eastern screech owl.

Travel Michigan suggests a possible detour to the Fort Custer Recreation Area, located between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo. It features three lakes, the Kalamazoo River and an excellent trail system that includes 16 miles of mountain bike trails. The 3000+ acre area was farmland that was acquired by the federal government to establish Camp Custer, an induction and military training center for the US Army during WWII.

If it’s raining or all this outdoor stuff doesn’t sound fun, consider stopping at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners which features almost 200 vehicles spanning over 100 years of automotive heritage from a 1899 Locomobile to the muscle cars of the 60s and 70s.

Kalamazoo river from the Nature Center bridge by cathieContinuing south, we come to the city of Battle Creek where recommended stops include the Sojourner Truth Monument (check out this set of photos of the Monument), Binder Park Zoo, the Leila Arboretum and Children’s Garden and the Battle Creek Linear Park. The park is a walkable, bikeable and billed as “the world’s largest classroom,” featuring signs that tell about plant, animal, cultural and historical points-of-interest along the park.

If you’re hungry as you head out on Old 27, consider Cornwell’s Turkey House aka Turkeyville USA. A bit further south is the town of Marshall. In addition to being a shopping mecca, Marshall’s downtown is designated as a National Historic Landmark District and features a wealth of historic attractions including the American Museum of Magic.

The photo to the right is of the Kalamazoo river from the Nature Center bridge by cathie and it’s just one of the places you can stop as you ease on down the road back to Lansing through the towns of Albion, Springport & Eaton Rapids. They recommend a stop at The English Inn of Eaton Rapids for dinner. Having eaten there before, I can only say “got room for another?”

Just so it’s clear, these fall color tour entries are produced by Absolute Michigan & Michigan in Pictures using the great information compiled in Travel Michigan’s Fall Color Tours as a starting point. We’re trying to add to what they’ve put together – not rip them off! As always, if you have links to information or photos that we missed, comments or reports, post them in the comments below!

Don’t miss our Michigan Fall Wallpaper series and see more of Travel Michigan’s Fall Color Tours.

Leelanau fall by Jeff Lamb

Leelanau fall, photo by Jeff Lamb

Our next stop (as designed by Travel Michigan) is the region of Northwest Lower Michigan containing Traverse City – Northport – Frankfort. I know this is the second day in a row with a photo from the Leelanau Peninsula … I guess sometimes I feel like hanging around my home. Jeff Lamb likes hanging around here too, especially in the fall, and I think he’s one of the best at capturing the roll of the hill and sweep of the sky that characterizes fall in this part of Michigan. See more in his Leelanau set (slideshow).

Old Mission, MI by Jerry TingThe tour starts at the end of the Old Mission Peninsula at the Mission Point Lighthouse. I’m not sure how you start there – airlift probably. I am sure that you’ll see great color along the winding roads of Old Mission like in this photo Old Mission, MI by Jerry Ting. In addition to being prime fruit growing regions packed with roadside stands and markets, both peninsulas feature great wine trails with about 20 wineries – learn more from the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula and the Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association web sites.

Downtown Traverse City has a ton of restaurants and shops to choose from and if you like historic homes, consider wandering the tree-lined neighborhoods of the city and also the Village at the Grand Traverse Commons as there are some gorgeous trees and cool shops to be found there as well! If you want more options, check out the Traverse City CV’s color tours of the region (they also provide regular color reports). One tour they suggested is a northwest Michigan apple tour.

Assuming you’re still with us, lets head north to Leelanau County. M-22 winds along the outside of the county along Lake Michigan through the villages of Suttons Bay, Omena, Northport, Glen Arbor & Empire. From Northport, consider a short jaunt to the beautifully restored Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum at the tip of Leelanau. On the way back stop in at Kilcherman’s Antique Apple Farm (also see this article) for a huge selection of rare & tasty apples and cider. At the southern end of Leelanau County is the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. With historic farms and hiking trails & overlooks offering soaring views of fall’s glory, this could be a whole weekend in and of itself. Before we leave, I better put in a plug for my Leelanau.com web site as a travel & information resource and also point you at my favorite trail: the Empire Bluff Trail. One look at a collection of photos from Empire Bluff should be all the push you need to take this short but amazing trail!
Another Autumn at the Tweedle Barn by John Clement HoweHeading south on 22 we enter Benzie County. The photo to the right (Another Autumn at the Tweedle Barn by John Clement Howe) is from the Tweddle-Treat farmstead that’s just off 22 on Norconk Rd). If it’s not to cold, head down to Otter Creek Beach (aka Esch Rd). Further down 22 we pass Crystal Lake and also the 2nd most photographed lighthouse in the world, Point Betsie. A little further south are the towns of Frankfort & Elberta that boast beautiful Lake Michigan beaches and Frankfort pier and make a perfect place to catch the sunset (or some fish). A couple other highlights along the way back to Traverse City are Gwen Frostic Prints in Benzonia and the Homestead Sugar House in Beulah.

Just so it’s clear, these fall color tour entries are produced by Absolute Michigan & Michigan in Pictures using the great information compiled in Travel Michigan’s Fall Color Tours as a starting point. We’re trying to add to what they’ve put together – not rip them off! As always, if you have links to information or photos that we missed, comments or reports, post them in the comments below!

Don’t miss our Michigan Fall Wallpaper series and see more of Travel Michigan’s Fall Color Tours.

outside east jordan, mi. by redmudball

outside east jordan, mi., photo by redmudball

The above photo is of the St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church of East Jordan (link) and is part of Casey’s Fall in East Jordan set.

While the autumn color is still in full bloom in the Upper Peninsula, we better head south across the Mighty Mac and spend some time on color touring Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Our first tour of Mackinaw City – Charlevoix – Petoskey (as designed by Travel Michigan) begins just on the other side of the Mackinac Bridge in Mackinaw City. They encourage you to stop in at the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, a beautifully restored 1892 structure that serves as a museum and is part of Mackinac State Historic Parks. You might pop for the MSHP day pass and check out Colonial Michilimackinac and/or Mackinac Island, but we better not get sidetracked.

Harbor Springs in fall by Latitude45Travel Michigan suggests getting off I-75 (a suggestion with which we heartily concur) and heading south down US-31. Just a few miles down, take Gill Rd. west to Just a Plain Farm, which features a full farm market & bakery plus all kinds of activities including hay rides, pumpkin picking and corn mazes. Then it’s back to 31 to Levering Rd. where you’ll want a map to navigate to Petoskey State Park, featuring 300+ acres on Little Traverse Bay, sandy beaches and one of the many dunes named Old Baldy on Lake Michigan. If you like views like the one to the right of Harbor Springs by Latitude45, continue on because this area is full of them! Martin has great photos of fall color from all over the Petoskey area as well!

You’ll want to keep that map handy (or turn to Google maps) as you head through the city of Petoskey (and maybe stop for lunch or a coffee at Roast & Toast). You may also want to wind through historic and tree-lined Bay View and check out the scenery & fishing on the Bear River. Up the Bear River is Walloon Lake (it’s a town and a lake). You can’t say Walloon Lake without also saying “Ernest Hemingway”, so here’s the Hemingway Resource Center’s page on the family cottage Windimere on the shore of Walloon Lake. The cottage is privately owned, but there’s a wealth of detail about the history of the area.

Assuming you avoid the temptation to brood moodily at Hemingway’s favorite barstool, it’s on to Charlevoix. On any of several ways, you can pass through a large number of small towns which are well detailed by the Petoskey – Harbor Springs – Boyne Country Visitors Bureau. There’s a lot of beautiful scenery here and even the back roads have back roads.

Like Petoskey, Charlevoix is full of all manner of shops and stores. If you’re in the mood for a more extended color trip, consider the ferry to Beaver Island. It’s known as America’s Emerald Isle, but in the fall, there’s all kinds of color to be enjoyed. Near Charlevoix there are two state parks, Young State Park on Lake Charlevoix and Fisherman’s Island State Park on Lake Michigan.

Assuming you head back north, take M-32 out of Petoskey to Harbor Springs. North of Harbor Springs on M-119 is the “Tunnel of Trees” a gorgeous stretch of narrow road along the shore that is lined with maple and other trees.

 Unique Door of Leggs Inn restaurant, Cross Village, Michigan by artbabeeThe Legs Inn in Cross Village is a textbook example of the “It’s my darn place and I’ll do whatever the heck I want with it” style of architecture for which northern Michigan is justly celebrated. The picture to the right of the door by artbabee is just the barest sample – she has more in her Charlevoix, Cross Village, and Walloon Lake, Michigan set! Their Polish food is also justly celebrated – here’s what they have to say about the whole thing:

Located in historic Cross Village, Michigan, Legs Inn is a “monument to nature.” Built on a high bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, it is unique and mysterious as seen in its architecture and decor. The fantasy-like atmosphere of this medieval looking stone, timber and driftwood landmark was created by one man, Polish immigrant, Stanley Smolak. He fell in love with Northern Michigan and its people, many of them Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and decided to settle in Cross Village in 1921.

Authentic Polish cuisine is our specialty, but delicious American dishes, including local fresh Whitefish, are also served. The Smolak family and staff are dedicated to making your visit to Legs Inn an unforgettable experience, which will have you returning often with family and friends throughout the years.

In a perfect world, you might arrive at Wilderness State Parkin time for sunset over Lake Michigan. In an even more perfect world, you’d be at the top of a multi-year waiting list for a cabin at the park!

Just so it’s clear, these fall color tour entries are produced by Absolute Michigan & Michigan in Pictures using the great information compiled in Travel Michigan’s Fall Color Tours as a starting point. We’re trying to add to what they’ve put together – not rip them off! As always, if you have links to information or photos that we missed, comments or reports, post them in the comments below!

Don’t miss our Michigan Fall Wallpaper series and see more of Travel Michigan’s Fall Color Tours.

Miners Castle - October 2006, Lars Jensen

Miners Castle – October 2006, photo by Lars Jensen

Let’s jump over to the eastern side of the UP for the next color tour of Munising – Newberry – Grand Marais … and the Pictured Rocks.

The highlight of this tour is of course the stunning Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore., (be sure to check out Lars Jensen’s other Pictured Rocks galleries). Travel Michigan starts you heading east from the town of Munising (Munising.com has the best links, but you can also see the Munising Visitors Bureau). Horseshoe falls at night by Amy KilroyBe sure to check out Munising area waterfalls including Horseshoe Falls (photographed so well by Amy Kilroy – see her Pictured Rocks set for more!). Regarding Munising, Michigan.org says:

This harbor town of about 2,500 is the departure point for regularly scheduled, 2-1/2 hour, narrated Pictured Rocks Boat Cruises as well as chartered Skylane Air Tours that offer a birds-eye view of the scenery. Hikers can tackle all or a portion of the 43 mile Pictured Rocks segment of The North Country Trail (NCT), a national scenic hiking route from North Dakota to New York.

I’ve never done the Air Tour (check that link above and scroll down for the video!), but the boat cruise offers an amazing look at the Pictured Rocks that’s well worth the time and cost! The Pictured Rocks is my favorite place in Michigan, and I’ve covered it pretty well on Michigan in Pictures and on Absolute Michigan. The same is true of Tahquamenon Falls, so let’s say that Grand Marais is a cool little harbor town with its own brewery and a great little diner car diner and skip over to the Tahquamenon Logging Museum which features all kinds of logging era memorabilia and special events including Lumberjack Breakfasts and a Harvest Fest the 3rd weekend of October.

They don’t stop at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point (’cause that’s another tour), but you can definitely make the short detour to check this very cool museum out. Then it’s back south to Newberry (recent photos at visitnewberry.com) and then west to the Seney National Wildlife Refuge (Wikipedia entry) and the gorgeous Seney Stretch of M-28. Although this highway has been called “mind-numbingly monotonous” and “the state’s most boring route“, it’s actually pretty beautiful in the fall! (photo to the right is H-58 in Fall Color by James Phelps – part of his great Pictured Rocks set).

Here’s a link to a map of photos from the Munising / Pictured Rocks area in the Absolute Michigan pool!

Just so it’s clear, these fall color tour entries are produced by Absolute Michigan & Michigan in Pictures using the great information compiled in Travel Michigan’s Fall Color Tours as a starting point. We’re trying to add to what they’ve put together – not rip them off! As always, if you have links to information or photos that we missed, comments or reports, post them in the comments below!

Don’t miss our Michigan Fall Wallpaper series and see more of Travel Michigan’s Fall Color Tours.

Quincy Hill in Fall Colors 5 by KaylynStar

Quincy Hill in Fall Colors 5, photo by KaylynStar

Kaylyn has a number of colorful photos of Quincy Hill in the fall. As the northernmost point of Michigan, the Keweenaw Peninsula would probably have been the logical place to start color touring Michigan rather than where we did start (Western UP – Ironwood, Silver City, Wakefild, Porcupine Mountains).

In any case, the Keweenaw, way up north and surrounded by the icy waters of Lake Superior, is one of the first places in Michigan to be touched by autumn’s paintbrush. Michigan.org’s Color Tour of Houghton, Eagle River, Copper Harbor starts you in the city of Houghton at the Quincy Mine (photo: Quincy Mine & Hoist by Coder). Quincy Mine by CoderThe mine is open from May through late October and is part of the Keweenaw National Historical Park and offers guided tours of the old copper mine, the largest steam hoist ever built and a whole lot more mining history. There’s a museum on site and they also have a passenger cog rail tram that takes you to the top of Quincy Hill (where I assume you can get some great photos).

The tour heads north on M-41 to Phoenix where you can apparently tour the Church of the Assumption. The copper mining ghost towns of the Upper Peninsula page from Exploring the North has a brief bit on Phoenix:

Phoenix is located on highway 41 at the junction of M-26 to Eagle River. Once (about 1872) a thriving mining town of around 500 to 1000 people, but today there are only a few old buildings and the Phoenix Church remaining at the site of the old mine. St. Mary’s Church was built in 1858 to serve the Catholic residents of the mining community of Cliff, the scene of the area’s first major copper discovery in 1844. In 1899 the church was dismantled and reassembled in Phoenix, where it was renamed the Church of the Assumption. The Keweenaw County Historical Society has purchased and restored the property so the Phoenix Church appears much as it did over 100 years ago.

Eagle River Falls by Jim SorboeFrom there, it’s west to Eagle River, once an important port town for the copper industry and now a resort community. Attractions include the Eagle River Falls (photo: Eagle River Falls by Jim Sorbie) and the Eagle River Inn (they have some cool old photos on their site). Keep heading north and you’ll come to Jacob’s Falls and the Jampot, where the good monks of the Holy Transfiguration Skete make jams, jellies and pastries from all kinds of fruits including their famous thimbleberry jam. Stop car. Go in. Buy jam.

Eagle Harbor is next, and I can never mention Eagle Harbor without mentioning the first blog I ever saw, George’s Eagle Harbor Web. It’s also home to the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse and Museums (detailed info from Seeing the Light). Samuel of the Mountain by Kyle RokosNot far past here is Brockway Mountain Drive, the highest above sea-level drive between the Rockies and the Alleghenies. From the lookouts you can see glorious views of the town of Copper Harbor where you can see their photo gallery & webcam, Lake Fanny Hoe & Fort Wilkins State Park and the northern Keweenaw (photo: Samuel of the Mountain by Kyle Rokos). It’s probably time for a bite to eat too and them you can take a boat tour to the Copper Harbor Lighthouse if you’re feeling a little adventurous … or the ferry to Isle Royale if you’re feeling a lot adventurous!

It looks like the folks at Travel Michigan got a little tired at this point, tailing off with:

Continuing south of Copper Harbor is the authentic Delaware Mine, which yielded eight million pounds of the metal between 1847-1887. The scenic route continues through wonderful forests and through the city of Calumet, which was the cultural and commercial center of the Keweenaw Copper Range. Take time to visit the restored Calumet Theater and the red sandstone buildings of the downtown business district. This is the heart of the Keweenaw National Historic Park, which recognizes the importance of the mining history of this rugged and scenic region.

I’ve been in the Delaware Mine and I have to agree with UPTravel.com who say “If you have time to visit only one attraction in the Keweenaw, make it Delaware Mine, the area’s premier tourist attraction, where copper was mined from 1847 – 1887.” It’s very, very cool.

If you’re curious as to what the color looks like right now, I’d say “pretty darn good!” A final reminder, be careful when driving those back roads!

Just so it’s clear, these fall color tour entries are produced by Absolute Michigan & Michigan in Pictures using the great information compiled in Travel Michigan’s Fall Color Tours as a starting point. We’re trying to add to what they’ve put together – not rip them off! As always, if you have links to information or photos that we missed, comments or reports, post them in the comments below!

Don’t miss our Michigan Fall Wallpaper series and see more of Travel Michigan’s Fall Color Tours.

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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