A Quest For Color
For those who couldn't imagine a life without seasons, there is a special love affair with the vibrant foliage that accompanies late-September and early-October in this corner of the world. Michigan's Gold Coast was the first spot mentioned in Travel + Leisure magazine's list of America's Best Fall Color Drives. Just 20 miles from the tour the winds along scenic M-22, Crystal Mountain is rated by Fodor's Travel among the country's 15 Best Resorts for Fall Getaways.
As the landscape turns a mix of rich orange, bright yellow and fiery red, enjoy a few of our favorite spots to take a day trip (or two) to experience this glorious fall season.
1. Point Betsie Lighthouse - Frankfort, MI
Just nine miles north of Frankfort, this historic site is one of Benzie County's most breathtaking year-round but never more so than color season. (25 miles from Crystal Mountain)
2. Pierce Stocking Drive - Empire, MI
Good Morning America called it the Most Beautiful Place in America. We agree. (33 miles from Crystal Mountain)
3. Empire Bluffs - Honor, MI
A very manageable hie, but even if it weren't, the effort would be totally worth it for the view. (24 miles from Crystal Mountain)
4. Pyramid Point - Maple City, MI
It's a 2.7 mile loop but Lookout Point is only .6 miles from the trailhead. Of course, with colored leaves all around, you might not even notice. (37 miles from Crystal Mountain)
5. Fishtown - Leland, MI
The drive north to Leland is worth it alone, but the early-1900s fish shanties now housing quaint shops and eateries makes it even more so. (42 miles from Crystal Mountain)
6. Scenic Chairlift Rides - Crystal Mountain
Held select days in September and October, but always worth the visit. Enjoy the ride up the Crystal Clipper high-speed quad, but get your camera out for the ride down; you'll want a photo for Facebook or Instagram. See the Fall Chairlift Schedule »
7. Michigan Legacy Art Park - Crystal Mountain
The 40+ sculptures take on new life with the change of every season. Fall is no exception along nearly two miles of hiking trail as well as the "Access for All" trail for those with limited mobility.
8. Grand Traverse Commons - Traverse City, MI
Hop out of the car for a while to take a stroll among the historic buildings, explore the boutiques and galleries and sample cuisine, craft beer, wine and coffee. (30 miles from Crystal Mountain)
9. Leelanau County Wine Country - Learn More »
Leelanau County sits on the same parallel as Burgandy, France, a region known for its wine. The wines themselves are matched only by the breathtaking landscape. We'd recommend paying a visit to our friends at Black Star Farms and Brengman Brothers.
10. Betsie Valley Trail - Learn More »
This bike trail extends from nearby Thompsonville to Frankfort, but the nine-mile ride from Beulah to the trail's end includes a nice stretch along Crystal Lake and the Betsie River.
11. Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail - Learn More »
Whichever direction you choose, from the Dune Climb, whether the easier ride to Glen Arbor or the more challenging trip toward Empire, you won't be disappointed.
12. Betsie River - Benzie County, MI
Experience one of northern Michigan's most pristine rivers from the unique vantage point of a canoe or kayak. Call our neighbors at Crystal Adventures to book your adventure! (3 miles from Crystal Mountain)
13. Platte River - Honor, MI
This mellow float trip down the Platte River is located in nearby Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and is a must-see when the colors begin to change. We recommend booking a trip with our friends at the Honor Trading Post. (19 miles from Crystal Mountain)