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The best ways to see fall color in the Porcupine Mountains
If you love eye-catching beauty and stunning scenery, fall is the ideal time to visit the Porcupine Mountains and Ontonagon County in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Here’s a closer look at the best ways to see Mother Nature’s outstanding color show.
First, check to see the latest fall color reports to make sure you’re coming at the right time. The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park’s Facebook page provides regular updates, as do sites like UP Travel and Fun in the UP.
Auto & motorcycle tours
Auto tours are a great way to explore the vast wildernesses of the Porcupine Mountains and Ontonagon County in the fall. There are plenty of places to go, whether you’re riding your motorcycle or cruising in the minivan with the kids. Try one of these suggested routes:
- White Pine to Lake of the Clouds (approximately 30 miles roundtrip): This short drive will take to you to the scenic overlook at Lake of the Clouds, a perfect destination to see fall colors
- Silver City-Lake Gogebic Loop (approximately 80 miles): Travel through the state park, the Ottawa National Forest and past Lake Gogebic
- Ontonagon-Lake Superior Look (approximately 80 miles): Travel along the Lake Superior shoreline and through scenic U.P. woodlands
Get a bird’s eye view
Visitors can get a new perspective on the area’s fall colors at a couple of fun attractions in the Porcupine Mountains and Ontonagon County. The Porcupine Mountains Winter Sports Complex offers chair lift rides throughout the fall color season (check the state park’s Facebook page for more information), and Copper Peak in nearby Ironwood takes visitors to the top of the ski jump—the largest artificial jump in the world—which offers an unobstructed, 2,500-square-mile panoramic view of the U.P., Lake Superior and more.
Hike the trails
The state park offers nearly 90 miles of recreational trails open to hikers, from simple out-and-back routes that pass by waterfalls to more challenging routes like the Lake Superior Trail. Nearly 25 miles of the North Country Trail also pass through the state park, and hiking trails can also be found in the Ottawa National Forest, Black River Harbor Recreation Area and the Sylvania Wilderness Area. Learn more about the area’s hiking trails here.
See the falls
The region’s stunning fall colors provide an outstanding backdrop for visiting the numerous waterfalls that can be found throughout the Porcupine Mountains and Ontonagon County. Easy-to-access falls like Bond Falls and Agate Falls are popular destinations during fall color season, and there are many different falls to discover along the trails in the state parks as well. Here’s a look at some waterfalls to visit this season, and you can learn more about the region’s waterfalls here.
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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