There are numerous ways to experience fall’s colorful brilliance in the Keweenaw Peninsula – and that even includes from up above by chairlift.
Known as Michigan’s Copper Country, the Keweenaw Peninsula is the northernmost part of the Upper Peninsula and comprises seemingly endless trails, acres and acres of remote wilderness, rugged lakeshore, secluded beaches, numerous historic sites and much more.
And all of it undergoes a vibrant morph of color that hits its peak in late September through early October, spurred by the micro-climate caused by Lake Superior and the peninsula’s northern location.
As an area galvanized by outdoor activities, there are several ways to immerse yourself in the array of orange, red and yellow. As for the best way and spot to observe the transformation, there’s no right answer even for Keweenaw Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director Brad Barnett.
“It’s hard to pick because honestly there are so many favorites,” he said. “I love to get out and hike at Pilgrim Community Forest. Or jump in a canoe and take the Sturgeon River down to Portage Lake.”
For fall color visitors it really comes down to a choose-your-own-adventure type of excursion. The simplest way, which also allows you to cover a lot of ground in a short time, is by car. The area features miles of scenic roads to explore.
A recommended cruise is the Brockway Mountain Drive, between Eagle Harbor and Copper Harbor. This road winds up 720 feet of elevation where you can witness fall color, rugged shorelines and vistas all in one swoop.
Discover more: Scenic Drives in Keweenaw Peninsula
Accentuating Keweenaw’s unique fall color experience is the chance for a bird’s eye view via a chairlift. Chairlift rides are available at Mont Ripley, where guests can soar above dazzling colors and see spectacular views.
Those who don’t want to only remain seated and like to mix in activity with their fall color palette will find plenty of opportunity by foot, paddle or pedal.
“If you want to experience the fall color on a more personal level, there are miles and miles of trail,” Barnett said. “So bring your mountain bike. We’re a mountain biking mecca with 90 miles of single-track trail between four different systems. You can ride through an abandoned copper mine, take the Tech Trails on Michigan Tech’s campus, and trails for beginners to experts. Just tons of trails.”
Discover more: Mountain Biking in the Keweenaw
Along with color, the fall months also provide rejuvenation to the area waterfalls thanks to extra precipitation in September and October. Exploring the area waterfalls with stunning fall color as its backdrop is a must.
“When you come in the fall it’s usually wetter, so the waterfalls are really flowing,” Barnett said. “There are a dozen different waterfalls to check out and they are just spectacular this time of year.”
Discover more: Waterfalls in Keweenaw
Autumn’s artist brush paints endless color in the Keweenaw Peninsula to go with all the adventure awaiting. All types can be captivated by the yellow, orange and red tints that takeover the area’s sweeping landscapes. And because of its unique climate, Barnett said peak colors in the area hit at different times depending where you are. So, if you miss it in one spot, chances are another area is bursting with color.
There’s a reason USA TODAY 10Best named the Upper Peninsula the number one destination for fall foliage in the country – and a trip to Keweenaw showcases it beautifully. Put on your favorite fall flannel, grab your favorite hiking boots, bike or kayak and wander Keweenaw this fall.