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September 26, 2011

Fall Color in Leelanau, the Sleeping Bear Dunes & Traverse City

Filed under: fall,food,Leelanau,michigan,news,photo,wine — Andrew McFarlane @ 10:40 am

See the comments for color updates, add your own and also get the latest color on the Leelanau Almanac.

Scenic drive Sleeping Bear DunesFall color season is a great time to visit the Leelanau Peninsula. Our roadsides are lined with maple and oak and while the hillsides catch fire in late September of every year, the pace slows down and gives visitors a little more elbow room to slow down and enjoy it all. Here's a few of our favorite fall features and websites...

  • Leelanau Webcams There's a few webcams that can give you a live look at the state of fall color in the region. If you turn the Cove Cam in Leland to the right, you can see some of the color on Lake Street in Leland. Inland Seas has a webcam on Suttons Bay. You can also check in on downtown Traverse City.
  • Fall Events There are all kinds of great events to enjoy in Autumn - click that link to see some of them through the Leelanau Calendar.
  • Fall Color Photos You can get some great fall color photos from the Leelanau.com photo group and also through the Leelanau blog's Fall archive. There's some nice fall backgrounds as well!
  • Antique Apples at Kilcherman's Farm offers a unique tasting experience over 100 apples!
  • Wine Touring The Leelanau peninsula is home to over 20 wineries, many of them off-the-beaten-path. Visit tiny tasting rooms like Chateau Fontaine in Lake Leelanau, or explore the impressive Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay. Each as diverse and interesting as the award-winning wines they produce.
  • Fall Surfing! You might not be aware that Leelanau boasts some excellent surfing in the Fall. Click that link to check out Northern Michigan Surfing on Facebook!
  • The M-22 Color Tour explores 116 miles of scenic highway winding through the countryside of Benzie, Manistee, and Leelanau Counties.

Over at Michigan.org their fall color tour for Leelanau/Traverse City/Benzie features Leelanau:

"Land of Delight" is the English translation of the Indian wood "leelanau," and it's easy to understand the reason for so naming the Leelanau Peninsula, especially in fall. Circling the perimeter of the place many call Michigan's "little finger" is a color tour that has been popular for decades. An easy and interesting route, M-22 takes you along the shoreline through the quaint villages of Suttons Bay, Peshasbestown, Omena and Northport, with water views almost the entire way. North of Suttons Bay the sign reads: Northport 12 miles. Northport, situated near the tip of Leelanau Peninsula, overlooking Grand Traverse Bay, is a picture-perfect town, with a marina, waterfront, unique shops, galleries and restaurants.

glen lake colours 2Each port town has its own unique charm, and each is a perfect place for shopping, dining, trying your luck at the casino or just breathing the crisp fall air. Tour the Grand Traverse Lighthouse, a living museum. Along the western coast, Leland and Glen Arbor offer still more options, and spectacular autumn color can be expected in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, a 71,000-acre national park that includes 35 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. Go barefoot "one last time" when you encounter the massive sand dunes and stunning sunset beaches.

According to the National Park Service, many of the best spots for viewing fall colors at Sleeping Bear are easily reached by car or by a brief hike. The park's popular Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, for instance, gives motorists a bird's-eye view of areas like Alligator Hill, where brilliant fall foliage is set off by Glen Lake's tropical shades of turquoise, jade and cobalt blue.

Get more at puremichigan.org and add your own color touring tips below!

Photo credits: Scenic drive Sleeping Bear Dunes by creed_400 and glen lake colours 2 by Pettman's Photographic Memories

10 Comments »

  1. Update for September 26
    We're seeing some very nice fall color out there which more or less came out of nowhere this weekend! Some places are nearing 50% color and though we still have a lot of green, we might be looking at a peak weekend of October 8th instead of the more typical October 15th

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    Comment by Andrew McFarlane — September 27, 2011 @ 6:46 am

  2. Wednesday, September 28
    Fall color really came on last weekend and we are in advance of 50% color in some locations. This weekend will be very good and we are holding with our peak weekend pick of October 8th with color still excellent for the following weekend!

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    Comment by Andrew McFarlane — September 28, 2011 @ 10:57 am

  3. Monday, October 2
    Fall color is very strong right now and we will likely hit peak this weekend or the middle of next week. The good news is that there is a wide range of color with some areas at full color right now but many others showing significant green.

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    Comment by Andrew McFarlane — October 3, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

  4. Thursday, October 4
    Fall color is popping right now! We will likely hit peak this weekend or the middle of next week. The good news is that there is a wide range of color with some areas at full color right now but many others showing significant green. That means we will continue to have color the weekend of the 15th and very likely the following weekend as well

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    Comment by Andrew McFarlane — October 6, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

  5. Tuesday, October 11
    Fall color is at our near peak depending on where you are in Leelanau. Color along the Lakeshore is most advanced and we will definitely see amazing color the weekend of the 15th.

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    Comment by Andrew McFarlane — October 11, 2011 @ 2:04 pm

  6. Hey Folks...
    I will be visiting the Leelanau area Oct 17,18,19.
    Will I be late, or do you feel this is may be peak?
    I love this area and will be bringing my sister from CA.
    Want to show off the colors in MI !

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    Comment by Linda in Chicago — October 12, 2011 @ 1:32 am

  7. Hey Linda - it may be a little past peak but it still should be fantastic!

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    Comment by Andrew McFarlane — October 12, 2011 @ 8:07 am

  8. Friday, October 14
    Fall color is at and even passing peak around the county. We've started to see some browns and muting of color but when the sun pops, it's still very strong! We expect to have nice color even into next weekend.

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    Comment by Andrew McFarlane — October 14, 2011 @ 4:22 pm

  9. Friday, October 21
    Fall color is at peak to passing peak around the county. We will still have a great weekend for color touring with all kinds of sun!

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    Comment by Andrew McFarlane — October 21, 2011 @ 9:26 am

  10. Wednesday, October 26
    Fall color is past peak around the county, but I on a drive earlier today, I was still seeing some excellent color - lots of yellows from the aspens and still some startling reds & oranges to be seen. With sunshine on tap, we will still have some very nice color touring this weekend!

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    Comment by Andrew McFarlane — October 26, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

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