Peak color is on the way to northern Michigan! We'll get to enjoy the gorgeous reds, golds, and oranges within the next few weeks. The warmer October temperatures have slowed down the color change, but there are spots around the area where autumn's annual display is starting to appear. This slow shift bodes well for travelers, since the peak lasts longer and can be enjoyed in so many different places! 

Heading up north? Here are some recommendations for early fall color viewing: 

Boardman Lake Trail, TART Trails

Boardman Lake Trail 

Not far from downtown Traverse City, this trail is part of the TART Trails. The four-mile paved trail wraps along the eastern and northern sides of the Boardman Lake. It's an easy route that's perfect for walking, running or biking. Explore the whole trail or take a short walk, either way you'll find golden yellow and light orange colors along the tree line that borders the lake. There are plenty of areas to stop for rest and snacks, including the Filling Station Microbrewery (near the library) and Right Brain Brewery (on 16th street). 

Local Tip: Access and parking at the north end of the Lake is off Hannah Road just south of the Traverse Area District Library, and at the south end of the Lake at Medalie Park in the Logan’s Landing area off South Airport Road. If you’re walking or biking, you can get on the trail from 8th Street near Copy Central, the Oryana Trailhead, Lake Street or 14th Street.

Fall Color in the Village at Grand Traverse Commons

The Village at Grand Traverse Commons

Nestled within 480 acres of preserved parkland The Village at Grand Traverse Commons is a must-see destination during a fall color tour. Plan a few hours to explore the grounds, the historic buildings and the trails. And when you're finished, there are plenty of options for food and drink. Sip on cider or wine at Left Foot Charley, grab a coffee at Higher Grounds or enjoy a nice meal at Pepenero

Local Tip: This is a terrific area to hike hills and get a bird's eye view of Traverse City. Recommended trails include Old Orchard and Copper Ridge. If hills aren't for you, there are plenty of other areas to enjoy nature, including the Botanic Garden at the Historic Barns Park. 

Two kids picking pumpkins at Gallagher's for fall family fun in Traverse City


Just a short drive from downtown Traverse City, M-72 will take you into Leelanau County and towards the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Look for reds, oranges and yellows on the side of the road. This area is one that usually displays fall color early in the season.

Local Tip: Find the perfect pumpkin at Gallagher's Farm Market and try your navigation skills in the corn maze at Jacob's Farm, both agricultural attractions are just off M-72.