Fall Color Tour: Peak dates, best roads in Michigan in 2020

fall color
Photo credit (Getty)

(WWJ) Grab a pumpkin latte and don a cozy sweater, because it's autumn in Michigan. 

And as always, the state will soon be bursting with crisp red, yellow and orange fall leaves that transform the landscape.

So when and where can we expect to see peak fall color in Michigan? 

Speaking to WWJ's Dan Jenkins, MLive Chief Meteorologist Mark Torregrossa said the color change got off to a bit of a slow start early on in September in much of the state.

However, cooler weather made the difference, with temps dipping into the upper 30s to the north mid-month.

"I think we're looking at a normal time period, which is first week or so of October in northern Lower Michigan, and then it works its way down into southern Lower (Michigan) by the second or even the third week," Torregrossa said. "I guess I should say the third or even the fourth week of October by the time it gets into the far southern part into our area, around the Detroit area."

If you're planning to head out on a fall color tour, experts suggest you try a local road instead of a freeway.

With that in mind, the County Road Association of Michigan has released "Don’t Miss" list with some of the prettiest color tour drives in the state for 2020.

“Taking a fall color tour down a county road is a great way to spend an afternoon during this unprecedented time,” said Denise Donohue, CRA executive director. “Michigan’s colors are among the best in the country, making fall the perfect opportunity to go out and enjoy the state’s natural beauty.” “This list of ‘don’t miss’ fall color drives reflects the best suggestions from over two dozen county road agencies who know the best color spots in their area,” she said.

The following regions are listed in order of expected leaf coloring dates starting from the Upper Peninsula and moving south. (Scroll all the way down for metro Detroit). Upper Peninsula (Now - Oct. 5)

Chippewa County

  • North and South Caribou Lake Roads in the DeTour Village area
  • Gogomain Road from Goetzville to Pickford
  • Lakeshore Drive from Brimley to M-123
  • Salt Point Road from M-28 to Lakeshore Drive

Dickinson County

  • Kramer Drive on the north side of the city of Iron Mountain
  • Metropolitan Road near Felch

Gogebic County

  • Black River Road to Black River Harbor
  • Lake Road from Ironwood to Little Girls Point and Superior Falls
  • Black River Road from Bessemer to Copper Peak and Black River Harbor
  • Wolf Mountain Road from US 2 to Wolf Mountain
  • County Road 519N from Wakefield to the mouth of the Big Presque Isle River and Porcupine State Park
  • Thousand Island Lake Road from US 2 to Sylvania Wilderness Park

Houghton County

  • Covered Drive Road
  • Freda Road
  • Calumet Waterworks Road

Iron County

  • Ottawa Lake Road/Hagerman Lake Road loop
  • Pentoga Trail (CR-639) to CR-424 along Chicagon Lake and Pentoga Road from CR-424 to Brule River
  • Bates-Amasa Road (CR-643) US-2 to US-141 by Paint River and Hemlock River
  • Gibbs City Road and Ponozzo Road
  • US-2 to Houghton County

Keweenaw County

  • Brockway Mountain Drive
  • Lac La Belle Road
  • Gratiot Lake Road
  • Mohawk-Gay Road
  • Eagle Harbor Road
  • Cliff Drive
  • Five Mile Point Road

Marquette County

  • County Road 510 from County Road 502 north to Big Bay
  • Triple A off County Road 510 in Big Bay
  • County Road 533 in Skandia
  • M-35 from County Road 480 to Gwinn

Ontonagon County

  • South boundary road from Presquile to Ontonagon

Northern Lower Peninsula (Now - Oct. 7)

Alpena County

  • Bolton Road to Long Lake Road
  • Nicholson Hill Road
  • Scott Ro