Breathtaking vistas, tree-lined country roads, and walks on the lakeshore are but a few of the many ways you can enjoy the colors in the Western Upper Peninsula. Kermit Holt of the Chicago Tribune wrote of the fall colors “Nowhere in North America, not even New England are the colors of autumn more vivid and memorable than in Michigan’s Western Upper Peninsula.”
Experience a fall vacation full of the reds, oranges, golds, and greens that tint the maple forests in the Western Upper Peninsula from mid-September through early October. Ninety percent of the area is forest-covered, so your eyes will have plenty to take in.
The colors outlined by the mountains, bluffs, and lakes provide postcard-perfect views around every corner. Nothing can match one of our lakes or waterfalls wrapped in the brilliant colors of Autumn. Come see the burst of color for yourself, and bring a friend along to share the experience.
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula changes colors in autumn, with hillsides and meadows shedding green from the hardwoods to bathe in a grand finale of red, bronze, orange, and gold. The air is spicy with decaying leaves and mosses; tingling night breezes sweep down from the north to mix with warm Indian Summer days.
Take a driving tour to catch all of autumn’s colors in the UP. Along the way, stop at scenic overlooks for good photo opportunities. At rivers and waterfalls, watch the falling leaves float downstream like tiny sailboats, stems aloft to catch the wind.
Lake Gogebic Tour
You can start this tour from either end of the lake. As you drive around the lake, take the time to stop in at one of the restaurants for lunch or dinner, many of which offer a spectacular view over the lake. Lake Gogebic, the Upper Peninsula’s largest lake, measures 18 miles long and 3 miles wide, the driving distance around the lake is a little over 38 miles. Again, take your time and enjoy the colors.
From Highway 2 east of Marenisco take Highway M64 north. After a few miles, you will reach the south end of Lake Gogebic. About a mile further you will see hiking signs. This trail leads to a scenic overlook of the lake. As you continue up the west shore there are two restaurants; The Gogebic Lodge have great food with dining rooms that overlook the lake.
The west shore also features the parks. Gogebic County park is the furthest south, the State Park is in the middle, and Ontonagon County park sits at the north end. M64 will intersect with M28, go east this will take you into Bergland. Here you will find gas and supplies. About one mile east of Bergland is East Shore Road, turn right and follow the road until it comes to M64 on the south end of the lake. Turn left and you will return to Highway 2.
50 Mile Fall Color Tour
This tour takes in a little of everything our area has to offer. You begin in Ironwood at the intersection of US and Lake Rd, by the Holiday Gas Station. Take Lake road north. You will travel about 15 miles. At this point you will enter the Gogebic County forest and begin to go downhill. Half way down this hill is a spring with good drinking water.
As you continue on Lake Road you will come to Little Girls Point. This park is a great place to get out and stretch your legs. Take some time to walk the beach and listen to the waves of the Big Lake. This stretch of land is rich in history. It was the site of Indian villages and resting points for the Jesuit Missionaries, most notably Father Jacques Marquette, a they traveled from St. Ignace to Madeline Island in 1669.
As you continue west you will come to Superior Falls and the mouth of the Montreal River. This is an other good spot to get out and explore. As you cross the Montreal River you will enter Wisconsin. Shortly after this you will see the signs for Saxon Harbor, a must see. This place is part of the Old Flambeau Trail serving the Chippewa from LaPointe to Lac du Flambeau. As you Return to the main road you will intersect with Highway 2 turn left and it will bring you back to Ironwood.
25 Miles and 5 Waterfalls Color Tour
This is a simple trip, however the views are anything but simple. The Black River Scenic Byway is a protected road way by the Federal Government. It includes several waterfalls, Copper Peak ski flying hill and a walking suspension bridge over the river. This route while short is a good route to spend most of your time out of the car.
To begin you turn to the north off US-2 at the entrance to Big Powderhorn Mountain. The entrance is marked by the big skier. Follow the road to the main lodge of the ski resort. There the road turns to the right, follow it over the railroad tracks to a T intersection, here you turn left on to Black River Road. This will take you out to the waterfalls. Each of the waterfalls have paths leading to them. Potawatomi is barrier free with bath room facilities. Gorge and Rainbow have steps and observation decks, while Great Conglomerate and Sandstone falls have natural settings. At the harbor there is also a bathroom and picnic area. Enjoy this trip short in distance long on scenery.