Fall in the Western U.P
Autumn is short and sweet in the Western U.P. but it sure is something to be admired. The changing colors are absolutely beautiful and nothing beats the fresh air of the Northwoods. Enjoy hiking to waterfalls, viewing overlooks, mountain biking the trails, or just enjoying the crisp air, all surrounded by the gorgeous fall colors the Northwoods has to offer. Click here to download the color tour guide.
Fall Color Report: 20-60% – Week 7 / Sept 6th-12th Views in the western UP are starting to fill in with color a bit more noticable now, those reds just aren’t showing up like last year but you can see them here and there, many of them you can see have started wilting. Porkies this week should really start changing with this cool weather, views at Lake of the Clouds were showing lots of green but you could see that the yellows are starting to fill in the leaves now. I have a feeling Lake of the Clouds will fill in really quickly this year with color a bit quicker than usual due to the heat from this summer stressing out the trees, probably be pretty good color on the lower regions of the hills and more dull color upper regions. Heading down South Boundary Rd to Co Rd 519 you will see more color in the interior than areas closer to Lake Superior, this drive should start getting really colorful by Sept 22nd and last into peak around Sept 28-30. Views from Mt. Zion are big and some of the best in the Western UP, always worth it to take in the views no matter the season. The color is pretty patchy yet but you can see the color starting to become visible now especially on the hills, next week the color should start filling in pretty good after a bit of cool evenings this week. Outside Ironwood to Ironwood there are a fair number of trees with color but still pretty patchy, but you can see as your driving some color happening on some of the hills. -funintheup.com
Best Spots For Fall Color Views
– Copper Peak Adventure Ride: After an 800-foot chair lift ride, take an 18-story elevator to the main observation deck. From there, visitors can decide if they want to walk an additional 8 stories to the top starting gate. Enjoy awe-inspiring, unobstructed views of the amazing fall colors and area. (Rides are held now until Mid-October daily 10am-4:30pm)
-Black River Scenic Byway: The Black River Valley Scenic Byway is a protected road way by the Federal Government & a perfect drive for a color tour! Make sure to stop at the 5waterfalls (Great Conglomerate Falls, Potawatomi Falls, Gorge Falls,Sandstone Falls, & Rainbow Falls) along the way, each with walking paths leading to them. Every waterfall offers a unique view of the Black River & fall colors. At the end of the Black River Road is the Black River Harbor, offering amazing sights of the Lake Superior & a gorgeous suspension bridge over the river. There is also a picnic area & bathrooms.
-Powers Road/Bald Mountain: Bald Mountain offers two different lookout areas showcasing Lake Superior and the Gogebic Range. Take a drive downPowers Road and the first lookout will be on your right, showcasing Lake Superior. Take the trail off to the left and enjoyhiking a .8 mile interpretive trail that ends at the second lookout. This hidden favorite is gorgeous any time of the year butespecially during the fall!
-Bluff Valley Park: Hike up to the top of the bluff to see amazing fall views of the town.
-Wolf Mountain: Wolf Mountain is the highest peak in Gogebic County and provides great fall views of the area. The hike is a little less than 1 mile long and gradually inclines as you go through the forest.
-Mt. Zion Overlook: At the top of the Mt. Zion Ski Hill is an overlook showcasing the amazing views.
-Corrigan’s Lookout: A short hike will lead you to a gorgeous overlook of Upson Lake. Upson, WI
-Porcupine Mountains Fall Color Lift Rides: Take the chairlift to the top of the Porcupine Mountain Ski Hill and enjoy seeing amazing views of Lake Superior and nearby areas all surrounded by amazing colors. – CLOSED for 2021 fall season due to lift maintenance
-Porcupine Mountains: The Porkies offer multiple opportunities to see the amazing fall colors. Visit Lake of the Clouds to see a gorgeous lake surrounded by trees bursting with color, hike around the Presque Isle River Waterfalls, or take a fall lift ride at the Porcupine Mountain Ski Area. (Rides are held in September and October weekends)
Fall Color Tours
Western U.P. Waterfall Color Tour
This is a simple trip, however the views are anything but simple. The Black River Scenic Byway is a protected road way by the Federal Government. It includes several waterfalls, Copper Peak ski flying hill and a walking suspension bridge over the river. This route while short is a good route to spend most of your time out of the car.
To begin you turn to the north off US-2 at the entrance to Big Powderhorn Mountain. The entrance is marked by the big skier. Follow the road to the main lodge of the ski resort. There the road turns to the right, follow it over the railroad tracks to a T intersection, here you turn left on to Black River Road. This will take you out to the waterfalls. Each of the waterfalls have paths leading to them. Potawatomi is barrier free (from the Gorge Parking Lot) with bath room facilities. Gorge and Rainbow have steps and observation decks, while Great Conglomerate and Sandstone falls have natural settings. At the harbor there is also a bathroom and picnic area. Black River Harbor also includes a campground, cabins and shopping. Enjoy this trip short in distance long on scenery.
50 Mile Fall Color Tour
Tour Highlights: Little Girls Point, Lake Superior, Gogebic County Forest, Superior Falls & Saxon Harbor.
Directions: Take US Hwy 2 West to Lake Road (the intersection with Walgreens & Holiday Gas Station) and take a right onto Lake Road heading North. After about 15 miles you will enter Gogebic County Forest. A little farther is Little Girls Point, where you will have a spectacular view of Lake Superior. Continue West & you will come to Superior Falls & the mouth of the Montreal River. A little farther along will be signs for Saxon Harbor, which is part of the Old Flambeau Trail. As you return to the main road (Hwy 122) it will intersect with Hwy 2, take a left and it will bring you back to Ironwood.
150 Mile Fall Color Tour
Tour Highlights: Cisco Chain of Lakes, Bond Falls, Porkies & Presque Isle Falls.
Directions: Follow Hwy 2 heading East. You will pass through the Ottawa National Forest, with several side roads to travel (maps are available at the Forest Service offices. Then turn North onto Hwy 45 in Watersmeet, MI. In Paulding, MI there will be signs for Bond Falls, which is a spectacular sight! Then you can stay on that road to get to M28 or head back to Hwy 45 N. At the intersection of Hwy 45 & M28, take M28 W to see Agate Falls. Continuing North on Hwy 45 you will end up in Ontonagon, a great place to stop & eat! Take M64 West along the shore of Lake Superior and you will eventually come to Lake of the Clouds on Hwy M-107. Next take South Boundary Road. Be sure to stop at Summit Peak for a fantastic lookout of the fall colors! At the end of South Boundary Road take Cty Rd 519 North 1 mile to walk the waterfalls along the boardwalk. Then you can return to Wakefield on 519 to Hwy M28, then right on Hwy 2. This is a full day tour with unforgettable sights!