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Fall Color Tours


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Northwestern Michigan changes color in autumn, the hillsides and meadows shed their forest greens and are ablaze in spectacular bronze, gold, orange and red.  The aroma of decaying leaves; mingle with the cool breezes swept down from the north, and bring an end to the warm Indian summer days.

Hunter’s head to the forest in search of upland game and water foul. Wildlife begins preparing for winter. Chipmunks and squirrels are busy putting up their food supplies for winter.  Ducks and geese begin migrating south for the winter.

The unpredictable aurora borealis may also provide you with a wonderful evening display of dancing lights that grow bolder at this time of the year. The fall harvest is in full swing, roadside farm markets offer a large variety of fruit and vegetables.  A stop a one of Northwestern Michigan’s wonderful orchards or wineries can provide a pleasant break from your driving.

A driving tour through Northern Michigan will provide you with a memorable experience.  Don’t forget to bring your camera.  The wonderful fall colors provide a beautiful backdrop for photographing Northwestern Michigan’s beautiful lakes, and Northwestern Michigan Lighthouses.



Early September


Near Peak

Late September - 1 week of October



2nd week of October


Past Peak

3rd week of October

Button-Fall Season End02

Season End

Last week of October

NOTE:  Because of the lake effect, fall colors run about a week later than the dates above if your are traveling with 5-miles of Lake Michigan or Grand Traverse Bay.


Fall Color Tours


Jordan River Valley Tour ~ Features:  Jordan River Valley, Gaylord, Elmira, Boyne Falls, East Jordan and Alba. Tour Length: Approximately 96 miles. Directions:  Take M-32 west from Gaylord through Elmira to US-131.  Then take US-131 north to Boyne Falls.  Then take M-75 west to Deer Lake Road (C-48).  Take Deer Lake Road south past Deer Lake and Boyne Mountain's golf course to East Jordan. Take M-66 south to Alba Road.  Take Alba Road east to C-42, then C-42 back to M32 and Gaylord your point of orgin. 50 miles and approximately one hour drive time.

Gaylord, Elmira, Boyne Falls, East Jordan, Alba

Lake Charlevoix Circle Tour ~ Features: Tour Length: Approximately 40 miles.  Directions: This tour begins in Charlevoix.  Take M-31 north to McSauba Road, then on McSaubu south to C-56. Follow C-56 south to Horton Bay (a former haunt of the young Ernest Hemingway). Continue south on C-56 to Boyne City. Take Ferry Road to the ferry launch site opposite Ironton.  Take the ferry to Ironton, then M-66 north to your point of orgin in Charlevoix.

Charlevoix, Horton Bay and Boyne City

Leelanau Peninsula Tour ~ Features: The quaint villages of Glen Arbor, Leland, Omena, Suttons Bay have fine restaurants and unique specialty shops. The Leelanau Peninsula is home to many fine wineries & vineyards. These include: Black Star Farms, Bel Lago Vineyard and Winery, Boskydel Vineyard, Chateau de Leelanau Vineyard and Winery, Chateau Fontaine, Ciccone Vineyard and Winery, Good Harbor Vineyards, L. Mawby Vineyards, Leelanau Cellars, Raftshol Vineyards, Shady Lane Cellars, and Willow Vineyard.  A stop to sample some of their fine vintages is a must during your tour.  Please check with individual vineyards or wineries before visiting.  Some of them have limited hours for visits or require reservations.   You will find contact information on our Wineries page.  Tour Length:  Approximately 90 miles. Directions:  Take M-72 west from Traverse City to Empire.  Then travel north on M-22 to M-129 and turn left. M-109 takes your to the Dune Climb and the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive (part of the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore).  M-109 returns you to M-22 at Glen Arbor.  Continue north on M-22 along the west shore of the peninsula through Leland to Northport.  Then M-201 and C-629 to the tip of the peninsula. On the return trip take M-22 south along the east cost of the peninsula through Omena and Suttons Bay to return to Traverse City

Glen Arbor, Leland, Northport, Omena, Suttons Bay and Traverse City

Old Mission Peninsula Tour ~ Features: Old Mission Peninsula divides Grand Traverse Bay in East and West arms.  The picturesque countryside is noted for it’s beautiful orchards and vineyards.  The Bowers Harbor Vineyards, Chateau Chantal, Chateau Grand Traverse, and Peninsula Cellars are located on the Old Mission Peninsula. Tour Length: Approxiamtely 40 miles.  Directions: Take M-37 north from Traverse City to Old Mission Point at the tip of the peninsula.  On your return trip take M-37 south, turn right on Peninsula Drive and follow the West Bay shore back to Traverse City

Traverse City, Bowers, Harbor and Old Mission

Tunnel of Trees Tour ~ Peak Colors: Late September to Mid-October. Tour Length: Approximately 100 miles. Tour Route:  Our tour begins in Mackinaw City.  Take I-75 south to M-31, then M-31 south through Carp Lake and Levering to C-66, then C-66 west to Cross Village,  then M-119 south along Lake Michigan through the Tunnel of Trees, continue through the villages of Wequetonsing and Harbor Springs to C-81, then C-81 north through the villages of Pleasant View and Bliss to the point of origin in Mackinaw City. Highlights:  Lake Michigan Shoreline, Colonial Michilimackinac State Park, Wilderness State Park, Tunnel of Trees, farm markets.

Mackinaw City, Carp Lake, Levering, Cross Village, Wequetonsing, Harbor Springs, Pleasant View, and Bliss.

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Last updated Saturday, December 08, 2018