Fall Colors

Experience the Vibrant Hues of Fall: Color Tours in Traverse City, Michigan

Nestled along the shores of Lake Michigan, Traverse City is a picturesque destination renowned not only for its culinary delights and cultural festivals but also for its breathtaking natural beauty, especially during the fall season. As the crisp air settles in and the landscape undergoes a stunning transformation, the area becomes a canvas of vibrant hues, making it an ideal time for a fall color tour. This guide offers essential tips and highlights for planning your trip to experience the awe-inspiring changing of the leaves in the Traverse City area.

Best Time to Visit for Fall Colors

The fall color season in Traverse City typically peaks from late September through late October. The transformation begins subtly in late September, with the colors reaching their dazzling peak in mid-October. Planning your visit during these times ensures you’ll witness the full spectrum of autumnal hues, from fiery reds and oranges to golden yellows.

Scenic Routes for
Fall Color Tours

M-22 Scenic Highway

This renowned route offers a breathtaking journey around the Leelanau Peninsula. Spanning over 100 miles, M-22 winds through picturesque towns, past vineyards, and along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Notable stops include Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, where the dune overlooks provide panoramic views of the vibrant foliage against the backdrop of the crystal-clear waters of Lake Michigan.

Old Mission Peninsula

Stretching into Grand Traverse Bay, the Old Mission Peninsula is a narrow strip of land that offers stunning landscapes and panoramic views on either side. The drive along M-37 is dotted with wineries, historic sites, and overlooks that provide sweeping views of the surrounding area, adorned in fall colors. The centerpiece of the peninsula is the Mission Point Lighthouse, a perfect spot for capturing the beauty of the season.

Boardman River Valley

For those who prefer a more secluded setting, the Boardman River Valley, just south of Traverse City, offers a serene escape. The valley is crisscrossed with trails and scenic drives that meander through dense forests, alongside rivers, and over rolling hills, all showcasing the splendor of fall.

Fall Color Tours by Bike or Boat

Biking Trails

Traverse City’s extensive network of biking trails, including the TART Trails, provides a unique way to experience the fall colors up close. The Leelanau Trail and the Boardman Lake Trail, in particular, offer picturesque routes through forests and fields ablaze with autumn colors.

Boat Tours

For a different perspective, consider a boat tour on Grand Traverse Bay or the Boardman River. These tours offer the chance to see the fall foliage from the water, providing a unique and tranquil viewing experience.

Planning Your Visit

Tips for Your Traverse City Fall Color Tour

Book Accommodations Early

Fall is a popular time to visit Traverse City, with many travelers coming to see the fall colors. It’s advisable to book your stay well in advance to secure your preferred accommodations.

Dress in Layers

Michigan’s fall weather can be unpredictable, with warm days and cool evenings. Dressing in layers ensures you’re comfortable throughout your tour.

Check Local Resources

For the most current information on peak color times and recommended routes, consult local resources such as the Traverse City Tourism website or local news outlets.

Combine with Local Attractions

Enhance your fall color tour with visits to local wineries, cider mills, and pumpkin patches for a full autumn experience in the Traverse City area.
A fall color tour in Traverse City is more than just a sightseeing trip; it’s an immersive experience that connects you with the natural beauty of Northern Michigan. The vibrant foliage, combined with the region’s rich culture and warm hospitality, makes for an unforgettable journey. Whether you’re cruising along scenic highways, biking through colorful forests, or enjoying the view from the water, Traverse City in the fall is a destination that truly captivates the heart.
Book your room now at Turtle Creek Hotel & Casino for a weekend of fun, flavor, and festivities!