Seven Great Spots for Fall Photography in the U.P.

Posted on August 26th, 2021

There’s a photographer’s paradise of fall vistas and colorful wide-open spaces in the U.P.

Over the next few weeks, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula will be changing its green mantle of summer for the brilliant gold and burgundy colors of autumn. These seven spots are particularly great for capturing the season’s change on camera.

  1. Driving the Black River National Forest Scenic Byway, on the west side of the Upper Peninsula, is a great way to start your search for the perfect fall photos. With multiple waterfalls and hiking trails along the drive, there are lots of places to pull over and take in the colorful U.P. views. Plus, if you stop and ride the 18-story elevator up the Copper Peak ski flying hill, located along the route, you may see some of Wisconsin’s fall colors too!
  2. Heading east, the next spot for great fall photography is the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. At the highest point in the park, the Summit Peak Observation Tower gives photographers a stunning panorama of fall colors. While on the other side of the park, the Lake of the Clouds is a favorite spot for photographers year-round.

    Photo credit: Gary Balduc
  3. Next is the Keweenaw Peninsula. Take M-41, with its canopy of golden trees, to Copper Harbor to see even more photo-worthy autumnal views. Brockway Mountain Drive is particularly spectacular with its views of Lake Superior and the thousands of sun-dappled leaves glistening in the trees.
  4. Then stop in Marquette, where there are a couple of fantastic fall photo ops. Hike the moderate Sugarloaf Mountain or the more rugged Hogback Mountain for gorgeous views of the fall landscape and Lake Superior. Or take a trip over to the old County Road 510 Bridge on the Dead River for a photographer hotspot.
  5. Don’t forget to stop by the picture-perfect, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore area for more photo-taking opportunities. These iconic rocks look gorgeous with the fall foliage along their cliff-banks. While you are in the central U.P., drive down Federal Forest Highway 13 to capture more of this country’s vivid fall colors.
  6. If you’re in the southeastern U.P., drive along US Highway 2 between Naubinway and St. Ignace to catch the fall colors beside the northern shores of Lake Michigan. The Cut River Bridge Roadside Park is an especially-nice turn-off for photographers hoping to capture the beauty of this historic bridge and the richly forested gorge that it spans.
  7. A list of fall photography spots in the U.P. wouldn’t be complete without adding in Tahquamenon Falls State Park. Fondly known as the “Root Beer Float Falls” because of the tannins in the water, the amber-browns of the Upper Falls provide a perfect backdrop for treasured photographs.

    Photo credit: SMT Photo

This list is just a small smattering of great fall photography locations across the U.P! Take one of our Fall Color Routes, drive along Federal Forest Highway 16 (near Watersmeet and Kenton) or skirt around Whitefish Bay (W Lakeshore Dr/Lake Superior Shoreline Rd to Whitefish Rd) for more fall beauty.

But keep an eye on the U.P. Fall Color Reports, and don’t wait too long to start your fall trip. The 2020 peak colors have almost arrived!