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3 ways to see fall color in the Porcupine Mountains

It’s almost peak fall color season in the Porcupine Mountains and Ontonagon County. Here are three of the best ways to take in the amazing fall color found in the western Upper Peninsula.

Hike the state park

The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is Michigan’s largest, boasting more than 60,000 acres of old-growth forest on the shores of Lake Superior. The vast woodlands provide excellent opportunities to take in fall color, whether you’re planning a short day hike or a longer backcountry trip. In the state park alone, hikers will discover nearly 90 miles of recreational trails, including can’t-miss options like the Escarpment Trail leading to Lake of the Clouds and the Little Carp River Trail on the south side of the park. See a trail map and descriptions of the park’s trails here.

Other scenic hiking options in the region include a segment of the national North Country Trail, the Ottawa National Forest, the Black River Harbor Recreation Area and the Sylvania Wilderness Area.

Take a scenic waterfall drive

Fall is a great time to explore the scenic roads of the Porcupine Mountains and Ontonagon County from behind the wheel of a car or atop a motorcycle. And many of those routes will take you past some of the county’s most scenic waterfalls, including Bond Falls, Agate Falls, Bonanza Falls and the series of waterfalls along the Presque Isle River.

Looking for another fall color waterfall drive to take? Explore the Black River Scenic Byway, just west of the Porcupine Mountains.

Discover more waterfalls in the Porcupine Mountains and Ontonagon County here.

Get a bird’s-eye view

One way to fully appreciate the outstanding fall color in the Porcupine Mountains and Ontonagon County is to get above it all. Thankfully, there are several places in the area where you can take in amazing panoramic views of the seemingly endless landscape of reds, yellows and oranges. In the state park, head to the Summit Peak Scenic Area, where you’ll find an observation tower that overlooks the highest point in the park, or visit the Lake of the Clouds Scenic Area, one of the most photographed spots in the park. The Porcupine Mountains Ski Area just inside the park offers fall color chairlift rides in September and October (note that rides are on hiatus for 2021 as they make upgrades to the chairlift), and Copper Peak—a former ski jumping site in nearby Ironwood—invites visitors to an overlook that offers views of 2,500 square miles and three states (and even Canada on a clear day).

Looking to book a fall stay in the Porcupine Mountains and Ontonagon County? Find places to stay here.

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Note: Please travel safely and responsibly when you are visiting the Porcupine Mountains and Ontonagon County. Some businesses and facilities may have modified hours or procedures; please contact them directly for information. See Michigan’s latest coronavirus orders here.

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