Tunnel Of Trees - Fbl 23 - M119

Country Roads with Stunning Foliage = Best Under-the-Radar Backroads for Fall Color Drives in Michigan

There’s something truly enchanting about taking a leisurely drive down Michigan’s country roads during the fall color season. As the calendar turns to autumn, these rustic routes become nature’s canvas, painted in breathtaking shades of crimson, amber, and gold.

The winding roads lead you through dense forests and quaint villages, offering glimpses of tranquil lakes and rolling hills along the way. Each turn reveals a new masterpiece, a breathtaking reminder of the beauty of Michigan in the fall.

The crisp air carries the scent of fallen leaves, inviting you to roll down your windows and immerse yourself in this captivating symphony of colors, making every journey an unforgettable adventure.

“Taking a fall color tour down a county road is a great way to spend an afternoon,” said Denise Donohue, CEO of the County Road Association (CRA) of Michigan. “Michigan’s colors are among the best in the country, making fall the perfect opportunity to go out and enjoy the state’s natural beauty.”

Houghton To Redridge - Covered Road - Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan
Houghton to Redridge – Covered Road | photo via @yepitstimetoeat

Upper Peninsula Back Roads with Stunning Foliage

The best time to embark on a scenic drive through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is undoubtedly from mid-September to early October when Mother Nature transforms this remote region into a symphony of vibrant colors.

Whether you’re on the shores of Lake Superior or amidst the lush forests, this autumn journey promises unforgettable beauty and a warm welcome from the UP.

Here are the best country road scenic drives across the Upper Peninsula:

Chippewa County

  • North and South Caribou Lake Roads in the DeTour Village area
  • Gogomain Road from Goetzville to Pickford
  • Lakeshore Drive from Brimley to M-123
  • Salt Point Road from M-28 to Lakeshore Drive

Related: 15 Best Spots Along the M-123 Tahquamenon Scenic Byway to Visit

Dickinson County

  • Kramer Drive on the north side of the city of Iron Mountain
  • Metropolitan Road near Felch

Gogebic County

  • Black River Road to Black River Harbor
  • Lake Road from Ironwood to Little Girls Point and Superior Falls
  • Black River Road from Bessemer to Copper Peak and Black River Harbor
  • Wolf Mountain Road from US 2 to Wolf Mountain
  • County Road 519N from Wakefield to the mouth of the Big Presque Isle River and Porcupine State Park
  • Thousand Island Lake Road from US 2 to Sylvania Wilderness Park

Houghton County

  • Covered Drive Road
  • Freda Road
  • Calumet Waterworks Road

Iron County

  • Ottawa Lake Road/Hagerman Lake Road loop
  • Pentoga Trail (CR-639) to CR-424 along Chicagon Lake and Pentoga Road from CR-424 to Brule River
  • Bates-Amasa Road (CR-643) US-2 to US-141 by Paint River and Hemlock River
  • Gibbs City Road and Ponozzo Road

Keweenaw County

  • Brockway Mountain Drive
  • Lac La Belle Road
  • Gratiot Lake Road
  • Mohawk-Gay Road
  • Eagle Harbor Road
  • Cliff Drive
  • Five Mile Point Road

Related: 5 Fantastic Fall Scenic Drives in the Keweenaw Peninsula

Marquette County

  • County Road 510 from County Road 502 north to Big Bay
  • Triple A off County Road 510 in Big Bay
  • County Road 533 in Skandia
  • M-35 from County Road 480 to Gwinn

Related: Where to Find the Best Fall Colors in Marquette Michigan | Upper Peninsula Fall Foliage Report

Ontonagon County

Fall Scenic Drive
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Under-the-Radar Scenic Drives in the Northern Lower Peninsula

Late September to mid-October unfolds as the prime season for a scenic journey through Michigan’s Northern Lower Peninsula.

Traverse winding roads that weave through charming villages, hug the idyllic shores of glistening lakes, and meander amid lush woodlands. At every bend, nature’s splendid artistry unveils itself, rendering this autumn drive an enchanting escape into the heart of pure Michigan beauty.

Here are the best country road scenic drives across the Northern Lower Peninsula:

Alpena County

  • Bolton Road to Long Lake Road
  • Nicholson Hill Road
  • Scott Road
  • Long Rapids Road

Related: Steal My Itinerary for An Amazing Fall Weekend in Alpena

Antrim County

  • Deadman Hill overlook off US-131 viewing Jordan River Valley
  • Jordan River Road off US-131
  • Pinney Bridge Road off M-66
  • Cascade Road off Alba Highway (CR 620)

Crawford County

  • CR101 looking north from CR100 (“Pioneer Hill”)

Emmet County

  • Pleasantview Road north of Boyne Highlands to Robinson Road
  • Robinson Road from State Road to Pleasantview Road
  • State Road from Harbor Springs to Cross Village
  • Brutus Road from Pleasantville Road to US-31
  • Mitchell Road from Fletcher Road to Cheboygan County line

Leelanau County

  • North Eagle Highway
  • Newman Road
  • Port Oneida Road
  • Gills Pier Road
  • Schomberg Road

Related: Experience a Virtual Fall Color Tour in Leelanau County [PHOTOS]

Mason County

  • Lakeshore Drive from Oceana Drive to Iris Road
  • Hawley from Pere Marquette Highway to Walhalla Road
  • South Masten Road to Washington Road and the Ruby Creek area
  • North Lakeshore Drive along Hamlin Lake
  • Custer Road from Hogue Road to US-10

Montmorency County

  • Pleasant Valley Road
  • Farrier Road
  • Carter Road
  • Meridian Line Road

Oceana County

  • (start in Claybanks Twp) Scenic Drive from Webster north to 16th Ave north to Buchanan, then east to 18th then north to Silver Lake Rd. Continue on Silver Lake Rd north to N Shore Dr to 24th, 24th to Fox to Ridge, and Ridge north to Longbridge, Longbridge to east to US 31 BR Monroe (Pentwater Twp).
  • (start in Ferry Twp) 154th north from M20 to Loop Road, Loop Rd west to 148th Ave, 148th Ave north to Pierce Rd, Pierce Rd West to 144th Ave, and 144th Ave north to Crystal Valley (Madison Rd, Crystal Twp)

Osceola County

  • 80th Ave from River Rd to 20 Mile Rd
  • 20 Mile Rd from 80th Ave to 180th Ave

Presque Isle County

  • Long Lake Highway from M-65 into Alpena County
  • E-634 Highway from Polaski Road west to Lake May Road
  • W-638 Highway Ocqueoc Road from Walker Highway to North Allis Highway from Ocqueoc Road west to M-211.

Related: Explore Ocqueoc Falls – Michigan’s Largest Waterfall in the Lower Peninsula with Year-Round Access

Wexford County

  • Fall Color Scenic Routes, all starting from downtown Cadillac:
    • Route 1: Cadillac Lakes (20 miles)
    • Route 2: Hodenpyl Dam (70 miles)
    • Route 3: Pine River (65 miles)
    • Route 4: Lake Missaukee (35 miles)
Fall Scenic Drive
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Mid-Michigan Country Drives for Eye-Popping Color

Early October to mid-October emerges as the perfect window for an enchanting scenic drive through the heart of Mid-Michigan. It’s an invitation to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Mid-Michigan and create cherished memories amid this stunning fall spectacle.

Here are the best country road scenic drives across Mid-Michigan:

Barry County

  • West State Rd from Hastings to Middleville
  • Gun Lake Rd from M-179 (near Gun Lake) to M-179 (near Hastings)
  • Yankee Springs Rd from M-37 to Delton Rd South of Middleville

Clinton County

  • Maple Rapids Road from Harris Road to Tallman Road
  • Tallman Road from Maple Rapids Road to Stone Road
  • Stone Road from Tallman Road to Wacousta Road
  • Wacousta Road from Stone Road to Hyde Road
  • Peacock Road from M-78 to Cutler Road
  • Clark Road from Upton Road East

Jackson County

  • Seymour Road from N Elm Avenue to Trist Road
  • Kimmel Road from Thorne Road to Draper Road

Shiawassee County

  • Grand River Road from Laingsburg to the Village of Byron
Hines Drive Fall Color Tour, Metro Detroit, Southeastern Michigan
Photo Credit: Aaron Cruz

Back Roads Across West Michigan for Fall Color Tours

Embrace the beauty of West Michigan with a scenic drive in mid-October, a time when the region dons its autumnal splendor. 

The small towns and picturesque landscapes along the way beckon you to explore, offering warm hospitality and stunning vistas of lakeshores and rolling hills. So, grab your keys and embark on an unforgettable journey through the enchanting West Michigan fall foliage.

Here are the best country road scenic drives across West Michigan:

Berrien County

  • Blue Star Memorial Highway along Lake Michigan from Van Buren to M-63
  • M-63 south to St. Joseph
  • Red Arrow Highway from Stevensville to Lakeshore Road in New Buffalo
  • Red Arrow Highway to Union Pier then back to Warren Woods Road
  • Red Highway to Madron Lake Road in the City of Buchanan

Kalamazoo County

  • Route 1: East Kalamazoo County – Starting from the intersection of 29th Street and Q Avenue (51 Miles)
  • Route 2: North Kalamazoo County – Starting from the intersection of 33rd Street and G Avenue (45 Miles)
  • Route 3: South Kalamazoo County – Starting from the intersection of 8th Street and O Avenue (73 Miles)

Related: Kalamazoo Michigan Fall Color Tour: 4 Can’t-Miss Roads for a Fall Scenic Drive in West Michigan

Kent County

  • Honey Creek Avenue from Pettis Avenue to Cannonsburg Road
  • Bailey Drive from Vergennes Street to Lincoln Lake Avenue
  • Fallasburg Park Drive from Lincoln Lake Avenue to Gavin Lake Avenue
  • 5 Mile Road from Lincoln Lake Avenue to Gavin Lake Avenue
  • Gavin Lake Road from 5-mile road to Belding Road
  • Wabasis Avenue from Belding Road to 12 Mile Road
  • Ramsdell Drive from 5 Mile Road to 11 Mile Road

Muskegon County

  • Scenic Drive from Memorial Drive to Michillinda Road
  • Along Lake Michigan shoreline and Duck Lake

Ottawa County

  • Lakeshore Drive from Grand Haven city limits to Ottawa Beach Road/Holland State Park
  • Hayes Street from M-11 intersection to Berlin Fair Drive/the Berlin Fairgrounds in Marne
  • Leonard Street from intersection on Leonard Street/S. Lake Avenue in Village of Spring Lake to Lamont
  • Mercury Drive/Green Street/N. Cedar Drive from Grand Haven to Riverside County Park
Hines Drive Fall Color Tour, Metro Detroit, Southeastern Michigan
Photo Credit: Aaron Cruz

Southeast Michigan’s Best Fall Color Drives

Mid-October paints Southeast Michigan with enchanting hues, making it the perfect time for a fall scenic drive. Meander through charming towns, explore the serene countryside, and discover the beauty of Southeast Michigan.

Whether you’re along the shores of the Great Lakes or winding through colorful woodlands, the vibrant fall foliage will leave you in awe. So, grab your keys, hit the road, and create lasting memories amidst this natural splendor.

Here are the best country road scenic drives across Southeast Michigan:

Macomb County

  • 24 Mile Road between Van Dyke Freeway and Shelby Road
  • Tillson Street between Sisson Street and South Main Street
  • M-53 between 28 Mile Road and 32 Mile Road
    • Along the route, there are apple orchards for travelers to get a taste of Macomb County pies, donuts, and cider along with fall vegetables at the local produce stands
  • Lakeshore Drive between 8 Mile Road and Marter Road
  • Macomb Orchard Trail
  • Campground Road between 29 Mile Road and 31 Mile Road
  • Mt. Vernon Road between Dean Road and 31 Mile Road

Oakland County

Independence Township:

  • Rattalee Lake between Ellis and M-15
  • Hadley Road between M-15 and Shappie
  • Shappie Road between Hadley and Perry Lake Road
  • Pine Knob Road between Sashabaw and Clarkston Road

Commerce Township:

  • Wixom Rd – Charm to Sleeth/Duck Lake intersection
  • Richardson Rd. – Martin Parkway to Newton
  • Wise Rd. – Canal to Carrol Lake

White Lake Township:

  • Porter Rd
  • Pontiac Lake Road to Cuthbert to White Lake Road
  • Gale Rd
  • McKeachie Rd

Orion Township:

  • Scripps Rd. between M-24 & Joslyn Rd
  • Greenshield Rd. from Joslyn Rd. to Kern Rd.
  • Kern Rd. from Silverbell to Clarkston Rd.

Oxford Township:

  • Delano Rd. (from Ray Rd. to Davison Lake Rd.)
  • Ray Rd. (0.65 mile east of N. Oxford Rd. to Lake George Road in Addison Township)

Southfield Township:

  • Evergreen Road – from Beverly Rd (13 1/2 Mile) to 14 Mile Road that passes by the Evans Nature Preserve

Washtenaw County

Tunnel Of Trees - Fbl 23 - M119
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Take a Drive and Enjoy the Views

Going on a drive to see the fall colors on a county road is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. Michigan has some of the most beautiful colors in the whole country, so autumn is the perfect time to get out and appreciate the state’s stunning natural beauty.

List of fall drives on Michigan’s country roads provided by MiBackroads.com.

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