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.
Fall Colors Updates
“The Western UP was on fire this week for fall color, I saw it go from 60% color to peak/past peak in a matter of 4 days. There is still color and yes good color. The backcountry roads are amazing to drive on right now, the forests are just blazing with yellows, reds, and oranges, go ahead go off roading. Enjoy the smells and sounds of the quiet forests. Views from Bald Mountain (view TravelIronwood.com for directions how to get there) were awesome, an underated place to view the fall colors, it is a drive, but many times you’ll find yourself alone and that is always a great peaceful time, just you and nature. Places like Lake of the Clouds are at peak now, the reds have faded along the Lake of the Clouds and yellows are a blaze few yellowish-green hues remain across the forest treetops. The interior portion along South Boundary road has reached peak and leaves are falling. Summit Peak views are starting to turn a bit dull, still lots of bright yellows late this week. Overall for the Porkies expect good color through Thursday maybe Friday. After the weekend things will start getting really dull and you’ll see lots of bare trees with all the rain and winds this week. Areas around Ironwood are still good yet, Copper Peak views are amazing still, things are still pretty colorful, your western views a bit more than your south eastern right now. This week things will start becoming more dull for color by Saturday. Don’t let this stop you, color will still be beautiful for most people, the views are breath taking anytime from Copper Peak. Areas near Bergland are really colorful and will become less colorful as the week goes on. M64 north to Silver City was real nice this last week and color will be fading quickly on this stretch and has begun a bit already. Around Lake Gogebic the color is still hanging on but already seeing those reds disappear. Wolf Mountain views were great late week, this week the color should turn yellow and dullish brown with some leaf loss. Around the Watersmeet and Paulding areas color was excellent and bright with still a few patches of green late week, but as this week progresses expect past peak color. Bond falls was packed with people so if you’re looking for a peaceful lonlier adventure to Bond wait a couple weeks, but you won’t have the color however. Agate falls is a bit less crowded and the views from the trestle bridge are amazing. For the real adventurous person take a hike down the steep hillside to the bottom of the falls for amazing views, careful with all the rain we have had and will be getting it will be slippery.” – Courtesy of Fun in the UP
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)
-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.
-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.
-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!