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Upper Peninsula Fall Color Tours

When Michigan’s Upper Peninsula 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 driving tour through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula will provide you with a memorable experience.  Don’t forget to bring your camera.  The wonderful fall colors provide a beautiful backdrop for photographing the Upper Peninsula’s beautiful lakes, waterfalls, and lighthouses.

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Pre-Season

Early September

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Near Peak

Late September - 1 week of October

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Peak

2nd week of October

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Past Peak

3rd week of October

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Season End

Last week of October

 

Falls Color Tours

Copper Country Tour ~ Features:  Length of Tour: Approximately 100 miles.  Directions: Beginning in Baraga take US-41 north through Assinins, Keweenaw Bay, Arnheim, and Chassell to Houghton.  At Houghton you turn south on M-26 and travel through Atlantic Mine, South Range, Trimountain, Painsesdale, Toivola, Donken, Twin Lakes, Winona to the junction of M-38.  Turn east on M-38 and travel through Nisula and Alston to your point of orgin in Baraga.

Dead River Basin Tour ~ Features: Marquette, Big Bay, Sugarload Mountain, Dead River Basin, Big Bay Lighthouse.  Tour Length:  Approximately 90 miles. Directions:  Beginning in Marquette, travel west on US-41 to CR-510. Turn right on CR-510 and travel north through the Dead River Basin to CR-550.  Turn left on CR-550 and continue north into Big Bay. Big Bay Lighthouse is located just north of Big Bay. When leaving Big Bay stay on CR-550 and follow it along the Lake Superior shoreline to Marquette.  This beautiful, winding road road offers glimpses of Lake Superior on the left hand side.  A stop and hike to the summit  Sugarloaf Mountain offers a panoramic view of the area.

Highway 2 Northern Michigan Lighthouse Tour ~ From St. Ignace take US-2 west along the Northern shore of Lake Michigan to Menominee.  You will have beautiful views of Lake Michigan, sand dunes, lighthouses as you travel across the Upper Peninsula’s southern shoreline.  St. Ignace Area: Huron Boardwalk, Marquette Mission Park and Museum of Ojibwa Culture, Father Marquette National Memorial & New France Discovery Center, Fort de Bauade Indian Museum, Mackinac Bridge, Mackinac Island. Gros Gap Area: St. Helena Island Lighthouse can be viewed off shore from Point LaBarbe. Sand Dunes:  Miles of pristine sandy beaches, clear blue waters, and hiking the winding trails through the miles of dune alone Lake Michigan’s Northern shore. Cut River Bridge:  A tree-lined 147-foot deep gorge and it’s cutting river as it empties into Lake Michigan. Naubinway Area: Garlyn Farm ZOOlogical Park. Gulliver Area: Seul Choix Pointe Lighthouse. Manistique Area:  Manistique East Breakwater Lighthouse.  Garden Peninsula Area: Fayette Historical State Park. Poverty Island, Minneapolis Shoal, and St. Martin Island Lighthouses are located on islands off the Garden Peninsula and may only be viewed by taking a boat ride to the islands. Rapid River Area: Peninsula Point Lighthouse.  Gladstone Area:  Escanaba Area: Sand Point (Escanaba) Lighthouse. 
Cedar River Area:  Cedar River Lighthouse. Menominee Area:  Menominee North Pier Lighthouse

Ripley, Dollar Bay, and Hubbell to Lake Linden.  From Lake Linden take Boot Jack Road to the village of Gay.  From Gay take Scenic Shoreline Drive north to Black Rock Point, and Betsy on Betsy Bay. Continue northward on Scenic Shoreline Drive past Oliver Bay and Point Isabelle.  At Point Isabelle you will travel around Lac La Belle to the village of Lac La Belle.  A side trip to Bete Grise where you can view Bete Grise Bay and Mendota Lighthouse.  Back track to La La Belle and then take Lac La Belle Road west to US-41.  Take US-41 north past Lake Medora the Copper Harbor.  Visit Fort Wilkins and Copper Harbor Lighthouse while visiting Copper Harbor.  From Copper Harbor take M-26 south to Eagle Harbor.  Shortly before Eagle Harbor you will see Lake Bailey on your left.  The highway is call Brockway Mountain Drive at this point, and splits from M-26 just before Lake Bailey.  Continue on M-26 past the Great Sand Bay to Eagle River.  Continue on M-26 to the junction with US-41 at Phoenix.  Continue south on US-41 through the villages of Mohawk, Fulton, Ahmeek, Allouez, Copper City, and Kearsarge to Laurium and Calumet.  Take M-203 south from Calumet and follow the Portage Lake Ship Canal back to you point of orgin to Hancock.

Les Cheneaux Islands Tour ~ Features: Saint Ignace Mackinac Island, Hessel, Cedarville, Les Cheneaux Islands, DeTour Village, Caribou Lake, Drummond Island, Goetzville, Stalwart, Pickford, Donaldson, Sault Sainte Marie, and Soo Locks. Directions:  Beginning in Saint Ignace take I-75 north through the Hiawatha National Forest to Exit 359.  Take M-134 east through Hessel and Cedarville to DeTour Village. While traveling this route along the Northern coast of Lake Huron you will be able to view St. Martin, Marquette, and the Les Chenaux Islands. At DeTour Village you may want to take time to visit Drummond Island of continue your tour.  From DeTour Village take M-48 west through Goetzville and Stalwart to M-129.  Take M-129 north through Pickford and Donaldson to Sault Sainte Marie.  While visiting Sault Sainte Marie you may want to take a tour of the Soo Locks. From Sault Sainte Marie take I-75 south to your point of beginning St. Ignace. Photo: DeTour Reef Lighthouse.  Photograph courtesy of Penrose Outdoor Photography.

Old Victoria Tour ~ Features: Old Victoria Restoration, Ontonagon Lighthouse, Bruce Crossing, Silver City, White Pine, Bergland, Matchwood, Ewen, Rockland. Tour Length: 81 miles.  Directions:   This tour starts at Bruce Crossing.  Take US-45 north to Rockland. O-Kun-De-Kun Falls is located 8 miles north of Bruce Crossing. At Rockland take Victoria Dam Road to the Old Victoria Restoration.  Located at the Victoria Dam, this restored village reflects the mid-1800s harsh life of Cornish immigrants-turned-copper miners. The site features cottages, a sweathouse, Hiking Trails and picnicking.  Return to Rockland and then continue north on US-45 to Ontonagon. Tour of the Ontonagon Lighthouse are available through the Ontonagon Then take M-64 west to Silver City.  Continue south on M-64 through White Pine to Bergland.  Then take M-28 west through Matchwood and Ewen to your starting point at Bruce Crossing.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Tour ~ Features: AuSable Point Lighthouse, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Seul Chroix Lighthouse, Seney National Wildlife Regfuge, Miner’s Castle, Grand Sable Dunes, Grand Marais Maritime Museum.  Directions: This tour begins at Newberry.  Take M-123 north out of Newberry to H-37, then H-37 north through Pine Stump Junction to Deer Park.  When leaving Deer Park take H-58 west to Grand Marais.  The Grand Marais Coast Guard Station which stood  guard over Grand Marais Harbor since the mid 1930s, is now the Grand Marais Maritime Museum.  The museum features exhibits on Lake Superior shipwrecks and the lives and times of the U.S. Life Saving Service, a forerunner of the Coast Guard. Sable Falls is located on Sable Creek, 1-1/2 miles west of Grand Marais.  The next stop is AuSable Point Lighthouse.  Continue on H-58 through the Pictured Rock National Lakeshore. At the village of Melstrand take H-15 south to Shingleton.  Shingleton is home to the world famous Iverson Shoeshoe Co.  Take M-94 south along the western boundry of the Seney National Wildlife Refuge to Manistique.  From Manistee take US-2 east to Gulliver.  Seul Chroix Lighthouse is located at Gulliver.  Continue east on US-2 to M-77, then M-77 north through Blaney Park to Germfask.  The main entrance to the Seney National Wildlife Refuge is located at Germfask. Take H-44 west between the Manistique Lakes to the village of Curtis.  Take H-33 north to M-28, then M-28 east to return to Newberry.

Waterfalls Tour ~ Features:  Au Train, Christmas, Chatham, Eben Junction, Forest Lake, Hiawatha National Forest, Rumley, Shingleton, Sundell and Wetmore.  Tour Length:  Approximately 102 miles. Directions:  From Munising take H-28 east to H-15 and turn right.  Continue south on H-15 to Shingleton at the intersection of M-28.  Shingleton is home of the world famous Iverson Snowshoe Co. If you are in need of a new set of shoe for those winter treks, this is the place to stop. From Shingleton travel west on M-28 through Wetmore.  You will find the junction of M-94 just past Wetmore.  Take M-94 west through Forest Lake, Chatham, Eben Junction, Rumley, Sundell to the junction of M-41. AuTrain Falls is located east off of H-03 just north of M-94 near Forest Lake. Laughing Whitefish Falls is located 2 1/2 miles northeast of Sundell and is considered one of Michigan’s notable waterfalls. Turn right on M-41 and continue north to the junction of M-28. Turn right on M-28 and follow it through AuTrain and Christmas to your point of orgin in Munising.  Photo:  Wagoner Falls - Photograph courtesy of Michele’s World.

Whitefish Point Tours ~ Features: Brimley, Brimley State Park, Bay Mills, Bay Mills Indian Reservation, Bay View Campground, Eckerman, Hiawatha National Forest, Monocle Lighthouse, Naomikong Point, Point Iroquois Lighthouse and Museum, Salt Point, Strongs and Tahquamenon Bay, Lower and Upper Tahquamenon Falls, Whitefish Point Bird Observatory, Whitefish Point Lighthouse, and Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Museum. Directions:  Come and enjoy an outstanding scenic drive on the Hiawatha National Forest's Whitefish Bay Scenic Byway. This tour starts in Brimley, near Brimley State Park, take M-221 north toward Bay Mills. This two lane road that follows along the Lake Superior shoreline is rich with history and scenic beauty. Point Iroquois Lighthouse and Museum is located just north of Bay Mills. After visiting the museum take the Curley Lewis Scenic Highway west along the north shore of Lake Superior, on Whitefish Bay. Ore boats and ocean-going vessels pass as they ply the magnificent waters of the Great Lakes. At the junction of M-123 turn right an travel north to Paradise. At Paradise take Whitefish Point Road north to Whitefish Point.  At Whitefish Point you will find the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Museum, Whitefish Point Lighthouse, and the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory.  Return to Paradise via Whitefish Point Road and then take M-123 west to Newberry.  Taquamenon Falls State Park, Lower Taquamenon Falls, and Upper Taquamenon Falls are along this route. At Newberry take M-28 east to return to Brimley.  The villages of Soo Junction, Hulbert, Eckerman, Strongs, and Raco are located along this route.

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