Nestled between mountains and on the shore of the most superior of the Great Lakes, Marquette experiences a brilliant show of fall colors each year. Situated on the Upper Peninsula, its northerly location brings cooler temperatures year round, so Yoopers are usually the first Michiganders to delight in the natural beauty of our great state’s autumnal change.
If you are planning a trip to the UP to enjoy The Mittens’s earliest fall, I’ve compiled a list of the top three must-see spots in and around Marquette.
1. Hogsback Mountain
A challenging two-hour hike from base to peak and back, Hogsback Mountain is the highest point in Marquette. Once you reach the top of the 435-foot climb, you’ll see why the strenuous workout is worth it. A southern peak in the Huron Mountain Range, Hogsback Mountain boasts a 360-degree view of Lake Superior, Little Presque Isle Point, and Little Presque Island, as well as westward views of the mountains as far as atmospheric conditions will allow.
Well known to locals and a favorite of more than a few students, Hogsback is located only 10 minutes from Marquette. As one of the area’s best kept secrets, it is rarely overrun by tourists, so you can enjoy the stunning display in contemplative awe.
2. Sugarloaf Mountain
Located almost directly across CR 550 from Hogsback, Sugarloaf Mountain is a family-friendly hike, complete with stairways over the more treacherous rocks, and a scenic lookout platform at the peak. Don’t let this deter you from visiting if you’re in search of a more demanding outing: only steps away from the viewpoint are heart-pumping trails and low-grade rock climbing leading to even more stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Just one look at the forests of bright green pines, combined with the spectacular colors of turned oaks, maples, and birches will leave you in no doubt as to why fall color enthusiasts have been flocking to this favorite for years.
3. Dead River
With a name like Dead River, this spot seems quite appropriate for the spookiest time of the year. Featuring a crystal clear, 42-mile river broken by waterfalls and rock faces over 30 feet high, the hike can be perilous at times, with narrow trails and jutting rocks. However, the views of bright foliage over rushing cataracts leave even the most exhausted trail-goers satisfied.
One of the first places I explored in the Marquette area, Dead River has been a favorite of mine since autumns past, when I watched a friend cliff dive into the river, while red, orange, and yellow leaves floated upon the surface of the water.
No matter where you decide to tour, you won’t go wrong in Marquette. The Upper Peninsula’s official travel and recreation website uptravel.com has recently declared that the Marquette County colors are at their peak now, so get up here soon if you don’t want to miss them!
Claire Moore, Feature Writer.