You only have to drive a few miles in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (U.P.) to see why year after year, U.S.A. Today readers have voted this region among the top five fall foliage destinations in the nation. Scarlet red, sunny yellow and fiery orange leaves first appear in mid-September. Across the U.P., the color show peaks with breathtaking intensity by mid-October and lingers until early November along the shorelines of Lakes Superior, Huron and Michigan. The interior forests in the Western and Central U.P. are typically the first to show their brilliant colors. The last curtain call typically takes place in the Eastern U.P. near its shorelines. Check the weekly fall color reports for updates in each region. 

Where will you see the best fall color in our thousands of leafy miles? We compiled this comprehensive guide of scenic fall drives with the help of The County Road Association of Michigan and locals whose favorite routes are on roads less traveled. If you discover other scenic roads to add to the list, please upload your photos to our Fall Photo Crowdriff Collector below. 

Western U.P. 

Iron County

  • From Iron River, take US-2 W, then a left on M-73 S and right on Ottawa Lake Road. Turn left on Today Lane and continue straight onto Hagerman Lake Road.
  • From Iron River, take US-2 E to Bates-Amasa Road (County Road 643). Then take US-141 by the Paint River and Hemlock River.
  • From Caspian, take County Road 424, then left on Pentoga Trail (CR-639). Continue along Chicagon Lake then left on CR-424 and right on Pentoga Road to Brule River.
  • From Iron River, take US-2 W, then right on Gibbs City Road and continue straight on Ponozzo Road.

Gogebic County

From Bessemer, take the Black River National Scenic Byway (it runs along County Road  513) to Black River Harbor. See the Great Conglomerate Falls, Potawatomi, Gorge, Sandstone and Rainbow Falls along the way.

  • From Bessemer, take Black River Road, then a right on Black River Harbor Parkway/Copper Peak Road. Stop at Copper Peak Adventure Ride, the only ski flying hill outside of Europe. The viewing platform provides the highest, unobstructed, 360-degree vista in the Midwest. You will overlook nearly 40 miles of fall beauty in every direction. Return to Black River Harbor Parkway and drive to Black River Harbor on Lake Superior.
  • From Ironwood, take Lake Road to Little Girls Point on Lake Superior. Continue on to the Montreal River’s Superior Falls on the Michigan/Wisconsin border.
  • From Ironwood, take US-2 E, then a left on Usfs 398 and continue on Wolf Mountain Road. At the end, hike the 0.7 miles to the top of Wolf Mountain — the highest point in Gogebic County — for a spectacular fall view.
  • From Wakefield, take County Road 519 N to the mouth of the Big Presque Isle River and Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. While at the state park, drive up to the Lake of the Clouds overlook for one of the most photographed fall views in the Midwest! 
  • From Watersmeet, take US-2 W, then a left on Thousand Island Lake Road to Sylvania Wilderness. These 18,000 acres of colorful, old-growth forest are part of the Ottawa National Forest. For a different perspective, bring your canoe or kayak, and see the trees reflected in the water as you paddle one of the 34 lakes.

Ontonagon County

From the Porcupine Mountains State Park, take South Boundary Road to M-64 E. Follow the gorgeous Lake Superior coastline to Ontonagon.

Houghton County

  • From Houghton, take M-26 W. Memorial Road. Follow Houghton Canal Road to Coles Creek Road to Covered Drive.
  • Follow Covered Drive west to Freda. From there, take Freda Crosscut Road to Misery Bay Road then east to M-26 at Toivola.
  • From Calumet take M-203 S. Pine Street to Waterworks Road. Turn right, and go west to Waterworks Park on Lake Superior. This rocky coastline is a great place to hunt for agates.  

Keweenaw County

From Copper Harbor, take US-41 S and continue on M-26 S. Turn left on Brockway Mountain Road and follow it 9.5 miles to the top. This is one of the U.P.’s most photographed fall color destinations. You will have a 360-degree view of Lake Superior and acres of hardwood trees in every hue of autumn. 

  • From Gay, take 2nd Street to Gay-Lac La Belle Road north along the Lake Superior coastline to Lac La Belle. 
  • From Mohawk, take US-41 N, then right on Gratiot Lake Road. Turn right on Iron Gate Road and left on Sager Ct. Follow to the Gratiot Lake Overlook for more leaf viewing. 
  • From Gay, take Lake St. to Mohawk-Gay Road. Continue west through the heart of the Keweenaw Peninsula to Ahmeek.
  • From Ahmeek, take US-41 N, then turn left on Cliff Drive. Enjoy the beautiful stretch to Phoenix.
  • From Phoenix, take US-41 N, then turn left on Eagle Harbor Road. This drive ends at the quiet Lake Superior town of Eagle Harbor. While there, visit Eagle Harbor Light. 
  • From Ahmeek, take Five Mile Point Road for a beautiful drive along the Lake Superior coastline to Eagle River. 

Central U.P.

Marquette County

  • From Marquette, take US-41 N to County Road 510 to Big Bay. Then loop back to Marquette, following the coastline on County Road 550. The combination of trees and water creates many photo-op moments along your drive. 
  • From Marquette, take US-41 N to County Road 510. Turn west on County Road AAA, or Triple A Road, which will take you across the Yellow Dog Plains.
  • From Marquette, take US-41 S to Skandia then right on McFarland Road/County Road 533 for forest views. 
  • From Marquette, turn left and take M-533 S to Gwinn. Here you can get an up-close view of fall color and wildlife hiking on the 2.9-mile Wolverine and Lighted Trail Loop in the Escanaba River State Forest, paddling on Anderson Lake or walking along the river on the Flat Rock Hiking Trail. 

Dickinson County

From Iron Mountain, go east on E. Ludington then a left on Black River/ S. Stephenson Avenue. Take a left on Kent Street, a right on Fairbanks Street, a left on Walker Street and right on Kramer Drive. Enjoy the fall scenery as you head toward Pine Mountain Ski and Golf Resort. 

  • From Felch on M-69, go west, then take a left on Metropolitan Road for a scenic drive that will loop you back to M-69.

Eastern U.P.

Chippewa County

From De Tour Village, take Division Street to North Road, then continue on E. North Caribou Lake Road. Go south on M-48 and take E. South Caribou Lake Road back to De Tour Village. From De Tour Village 

  • From Pickford, take E. Gogomain Road to S. Raber Road and follow it past Munuscong Lake to Goetzville. 
  • From Brimley, take Lakeshore Drive west along Lake Superior. Continue to follow along the Whitefish Bay Scenic Byway until it intersects with M-123 N. Turn right and follow the coast to Paradise. From here you can choose to go north to Whitefish Point or west to see the Upper and Lower Tahquamenon Falls — all three choices are must-sees in the fall. 
  • From Brimley, turn right on M-28 W. When you reach S. Salt Point Road, turn right. Take another right at Richardson Avery Road, a right on Rexford Road and drive back to M-28. 

Where will your next fall road trip take you in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula? No matter where you turn, our trees will welcome you with a canopy of warm autumn colors and days filled with awe in our wilderness. Go outside and play!

Maps to 10 fall color routes