Autumn is in full swing in the Mitten and Ann Arbor is no exception. This Michigan college town offers its locals and visitors mile upon mile of beautiful fall colors this time of year. Whether looking for a day long adventure or just one spot to capture the colors of the season, you ought to get in the car or on a bike and head out along the Huron River.
Geddes and Gallup Park
East of downtown along Geddes is where you’ll find Parker Mill County Park. A beautiful variety of colors waits alongside the historic Grist Mill and Fleming Creek. Right next store is the 69-acre Gallup Park which contains miles of trails along both sides of the river. You might spot canoes and kayaks on the move with the fall colors on either side.
Geddes turns into Fuller Road and alongside Gallup is Furstenberg Nature area which gives off a different feel and autumn experience with wetlands, woodlands and prairie. No need to keep hopping in the car if desired, as all of the parks in the heart of Ann Arbor are connected via trails and pedestrian bridges.
Fuller and The Arg
As you approach the University of Michigan Hospital campus, while still on Fuller, you’ll discover Fuller Park to the north and Nichols Arboretum, or The Arb, to the south. In The Arb you just might get lost amongst the variety of trails leading to native and exotic trees and shrubs. The colors of the season surrounding you will make you feel right at home.
Off the beaten path just across the river from family friendly Fuller Park is Island Park. The Greek Revival Shelter within is a romantic, scenic and popular place to have an autumn wedding or special event. Cross the bridge back into Fuller Park and walk through the woods alongside the river.
Argo and Main Ann Arbor
A little further upstream and after a few turns in the car, still in the heart of town, you can capture fall from the rocks in middle of the river at the Argo Cascades. Grab a canoe, kayak or raft at Argo Canoe Livery or just watch the University of Michigan rowing team go past all the colorful trees.
Still within Argo Cascades, walk across Argo Dam over to the opposite side of the river into Banderner Park. You’ll be along Main Street as it heads into downtown. From there you’ll have opportunities to capture autumn and the Ann Arbor skyline together.
Huron River Drive
The river at this point starts heading north and west of town at which time you should hop on Huron River Drive. Along the ten mile route to the Village of Dexter you’ll be hugging the river on both sides at various points as it will pass under you several times.
You’ll first come across Barton Nature Area and Park. Beautiful seasonal vistas await from the trails of the nature area. Hang along the river on a floating dock, grab a look at Barton Dam and/or climb the large stair case to have nothing but the vast Huron River and Barton Pond right in front of you.
A recommended place to get an autumn road shot is in-between Barton Park and Delhi Metropark just south of Honey Creek where the road and river are really hugging. My second choice would be on the East Delhi Road bridge looking north as you head into Delhi Metropark.
As you’re approaching Dexter, Dexter-Huron Metropark offers the visitor more fall colors both in the heart of the park and along the riverfront. Burns-Stokes Preserve is another off the beaten path spot to capture the Washtenaw County fall scene.
Now you’ve reached the Village of Dexter which offers its own autumn beauty. You could also continue on Huron River Drive into Hudson Mills Metro Park. Let me know how you like the setting there for future reference.
Checkout the route I took to explore the changing of the leaves. Some more scenes of the autumn beauty to expect when along the Huron River in and around Ann Arbor.
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What are your favorite spots along the water in the Ann Arbor area to capture the autumn colors? In Michigan?