Whether or not you’re a Michigan State enthusiast, one thing everyone should be able to agree on is how stunning its campus is in the autumn months. After trekking around the campus for the past three years as a student, I’ve come to learn where the best spots are to watch the autumn colors evolve.
We can start near where I lived for the past three years, Snyder-Phillips. Next to the dorms you’ll find the university’s chapel, and behind that is a sidewalk. Along that sidewalk are dozens and dozens of trees. If you walk along that trail at just the perfect time the sun shines through the leaves and douses you in warm light. I recommend picnicking beside the Red Cedar River and along this sidewalk before the weather gets too chilly.
Now, if you continue along the sidewalk, you’ll soon reach the bridge. Trek up the hill past The Rock (a hulking, painted slab of earth comprised of years of history) and walk across the crosswalk. In North neighborhood, this is my favorite place to admire the colors of autumn. At autumn’s peak, the way the trees crisscross one another with puzzles of varying reds and oranges makes for a simply spectacular view.
Take the crosswalk right next to the rock so you end up right next to Bessey. You should see the sidewalk slump steeply down to the left. Follow it. You’ll come across a small deck where you can sit just above the river. It’s a relaxing spot where you can read, talk, or just be. Below is the view from that deck.
WJ Beal Botanical Garden & Sparty Statue
Something you can find next to the Michigan State University Library is the famous Beal Botanical Garden. Here, you can walk amongst dozens of plant species, and if you visit at sunset, it feels like you’re in some kind of magical land dominated by fairies.
Walk through the gardens and when you get to the very back near the Red Cedar, turn right so you can follow the sidewalk towards the bridge. When you get to the top of the sidewalk, you should be able to see the Sparty Statue. Find a crosswalk and cross the street; the view from the top of that side of the bridge looks like it’s straight out of a Hudson River School painting.
At this point, you can pick between two different ways to go. If you cross the street again and follow the sidewalk, you’ll encounter more student traffic near the stadium and Wells Hall. On the plus side, it feels as if you’re walking underneath a tunnel of trees, and during autumn that’s sure to be a wonderful experience.
What I would recommend more is turning right at the Sparty Statue. Find the baseball stadium and walk on the sidewalk that’s parallel to the fence. If you keep on walking straight, you’ll come across the most gorgeous colors on this side of State’s campus. Walk there as the sun is going down, and the colors are illustriously illuminated by the warm glow of the streetlamps.
As a student, I’ve rarely ventured over to East neighborhood because I never really needed to. Something that I’ve discovered the past two autumns, though, is that East Neighborhood is truly the best place on campus to immerse yourself in Michigan’s autumn colors. It’s the perfect place to walk your dog, walk with friends, or enjoy nature and student life.
As you could probably tell, many of the trees in the photographs above are green, since it’s only the beginning of October. However, in the same week I took those I took these photographs of East Neighborhood, and the colors are ever-more evident.
Make sure to go visit Michigan State’s campus as soon as possible, because soon enough it will look like this:
Where else can you see autumn colors in the Greater Lansing area? Let us know where you like to explore in the comment section below.