Best roads for fall color in Michigan


County road commissions release their 2016
“don’t miss” list of best roads for fall colors

Plan to head out on a fall color tour? Try a local road instead of a freeway! Michigan road commissions- who know the back roads better than anyone- have recommended some of their hidden gems for enthusiasts over the next few weeks.

Managing directors from 11 Michigan road commissions have selected some of the prettiest color tour drives in their county, which the County Road Association (CRA) of Michigan has released as a “don’t miss” list for the fall.

“County roads provide a fantastic opportunity for Michigan residents to experience nature in action,” said Denise Donohue, executive director of the County Road Association of Michigan. “County road agencies invite motorists across the state to drive down their roads and enjoy the fall season.”

Michigan drivers are probably unfamiliar with many of these roads; particularly those “don’t miss” roads in other counties. Road commission staff know where the best fall drives are located because they have taken care of these roads and right-of-ways for years and years.

The following are recommendations from 11 counties across Michigan. Plug intersections into your vehicle’s navigation system and stop for a picnic or lunch outside; it’s sure to make a successful fall outing.

Drivers are invited to #LoveFallRoads with CRA on Facebook at or on Twitter at @MICountyRoads to let everyone know their favorite road site for Michigan’s fall colors. Be sure to indicate an intersection, the county, and the closest city/village.

The following regions are listed in order of expected leaf coloring dates starting from the Upper Peninsula.

Upper Peninsula (Optimal color dates: October 7-14)

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

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

Northern Lower Peninsula (October 14-21)

Alpena County

  • Bolton Road to Long Lake Road
  • Roads in southern areas such as Nicholson Hill Road and Scott Road

Leelanau County

  • North Eagle Highway
  • Newman Road
  • Port Oneida Road
  • Gills Pier Road
  • Schomberg Road

Mason County

  • Lakeshore Drive from Oceana Drive to Iris Road
  • Hawley from Pere Marquette Highway to Walhalla Road
  • South Masten Road to Washington Road and the Ruby Creek area
  • North Lakeshore Drive along Hamlin Lake
  • Custer Road from Hogue Road to US-10

Montmorency County

  • Pleasant Valley Road
  • Farrier Road
  • Carter Road
  • Meridian Line Road

Mid-Michigan (October 21-28)

Clinton County

  • Maple Rapid Roads from Harris Road to Tallman Road
  • Tallman Road from Maple Rapid Road to Stone Road
  • Stone Road from Tallman Road to Wacousta Road
  • Wacousta Road from Stone Road to Hyde Road
  • Peacock Road from M-78 to Cutler Road
  • Clark Road from Upton Road East

Barry County

  • Hickory Road from M-43 to east near Gilmore Car Museum

Kent County

  • Honey Creek Avenue from Pettis Avenue to Cannonsburg Road
  • Bailey Drive from Vergennes Street to Lincoln Lake Avenue
  • Fallasburg Park Drive from Lincoln Lake Avenue to Gavin Lake Avenue
  • 5 Mile Road from Lincoln Lake Avenue to Gavin Lake Avenue
  • Gavin Lake Road from 5 mile road to Belding Road
  • Wabasis Avenue from Belding Road to 12 Mile Road
  • Ramsdell Drive from 5 Mile Road to 11 Mile Road

Southwest Michigan (October 23- 30)

Berrien County

  • Blue Star Memorial Highway along Lake Michigan from Van Buren to M-63
  • M-63 south to St. Joseph
  • Red Arrow Highway from Stevensville to Lakeshore Road in New Buffalo
  • Red Arrow Highway to Union Pier then back to Warren Woods Road
  • Red Highway to Madron Lake Road in city of Buchanan

The 83 members of the County Road Association represent the unified, credible and effective voice for a safe and efficient local road right-of-way system in Michigan, collectively managing more than 73 percent of all roads in the state. Michigan has more than 90,000 miles and 5,700 bridges— the fourth-largest county road system in the nation.