Home to hundreds of serene waterfalls, immaculate beaches, and deep forests, Michigan’s rural Upper Peninsula is the perfect place for nature lovers searching for a unique adventure.
Nestled along the turquoise waters of Lake Superior near the small city of Munising is the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Although the lakeshore is a popular summer destination for travelers, rich shades of red, orange, and yellow blanket the thick treetops that surround the colorful sandstone cliffs in the fall, providing one of the best colors shows in the world.
Hiking Pictured Rocks in Fall
When you hike the Chapel Basin Loop, you’re guaranteed to see the best views of the Pictured Rocks by land. All hikes begin at the Chapel/Mosquito trailhead parking lot at the end of Chapel Road, approximately 15 miles northeast of Munising off Highway 58. Here, you’ll get to explore at least two beaches, waterfalls, and popular landmarks in the park, such as Chapel Rock and Grand Portal Point.
Best Way to Take In the Colors: From the Water
The best way to soak in the fall foliage around Pictured Rocks is by taking a tour along the lakeshore. Visit Munising, the park’s western gateway, and climb aboard a Pictured Rocks Cruises boat tour, where you’ll travel alongside the most visually stunning 40 miles of shoreline on the Great Lakes. Pictured Rocks Cruises offers tours through mid-October.
For a bit more adventure, book a trip with Pictured Rocks Kayaking and see the most beautiful parts of the park as you paddle up close after launching into Lake Superior from a boat. The kayaking outfitter recently added a new, $99 tour, and extended the end of its season. Tours will operate until the end of September!
Pictured Rocks, Fall Colors, and Waterfalls
The U.P. is home to all but one of Michigan’s waterfalls. Ranging in size from under 5 to 50 feet vertical drops, there are over 200 waterfalls in the U.P., with the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore home to several of them.
Miners Falls is the most powerful waterfall in the Pictured Rocks park. The 1.2-mile round-trip hike is a popular one and a great way to see some of the most treasured areas in the park due to the falls’ close proximity to Miners Beach and Miners Castle.
Munising Falls is located at the western edge of the Pictured Rocks park and is arguably the most popular waterfall in the area. Located within the city limits of Munising off Sand Point Road.
By A Natural Spring
After visiting Pictured Rocks, enjoy a short hour drive and see Michigan’s largest spring – Kitch-iti-kipi, also known as “The Big Spring.” Enjoy the gorgeous fall hues reflecting off the crystal clear waters of the spring on a self-guided raft while you glide across the spring – a must see!
Nicknamed “The Root Beer Falls” due to the unique, copper color of the water, Tahquamenon Falls consists of the Upper and Lower Falls. The Upper Falls is one the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. It’s more than 200 feet across with a drop of approximately 50 feet. Four miles downstream you’ll find the Lower Falls, a series of five smaller falls cascading around an island. A gorgeous place to see fall color and only a 1 ½ hour drive from Munising!