Michiganders Share Favorite Fall Color Hikes

It’s officially fall in Michigan – but that doesn’t mean it’s time to hunker down inside just yet.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, A Healthier Michigan and Michigan State Parks hosted a Twitter chat Wednesday using the #MIParks100 tag to learn how you stay active outdoors through the fall season.

Michigan’s state parks are celebrating their 100th year in 2019 – and boy, do Michiganders love their parks.

In fact, you love them so much it’s hard to choose just one as your favorite. From the biggest state park – Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in the Upper Peninsula – to Belle Isle in Detroit, each place has its own unique draw.

The sandy beaches and lush campgrounds at Ludington State Park placed it on the list of your favorites, as well as P.J. Hoffmaster State Park with its panoramic views of sand dunes and Lake Michigan, Lakeport State Park on Lake Huron in the Thumb and Wilderness State Park at the top of the lower peninsula.

Getting a breath of fresh air through a hike or a walk is your favorite popular fall activity, whether it’s on the 18,000 miles of state-designated trails, at a state recreational area closer to home or along the Detroit RiverWalk.

The best part of hiking in the fall is a personal tour of the forest’s biggest show: changing leaves. Check out our fall color guide to see when the perfect time is to catch the leaves at their peak near you.

You told us some of the best trails to hike to feel the crunch of leaves under your feet and to get great views of the trees as they change colors, including the 92-mile-long Fred Meijer White Pine Trail in Cadillac. Other popular spots to catch fall color include Lake of the Clouds in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, P.J. Hoffmaster, Pigeon River Forest and Bald Mountain Recreation Area.

You also tipped us off to Copper Harbor in the U.P., where Brockway Mountain Drive offers a 9.5-mile-long drive for visitors to take in the scenery and fall colors, with breathtaking views of Lake Superior.

Fall doesn’t mean the end of camping season in Michigan: some state park campgrounds are open year-round. Your favorites are Wilderness State Park, Sleepy Hollow, the Platte River State Forest, Copper Harbor, Petoskey State Park and Bobcat Lake in the U.P.

Heading out to your favorite state park or trail this fall? Don’t forget  to stay hydrated and to pack a first aid kit and sunscreen – even through the winter months. Stave off the chill in the air with a big mug of hot cocoa as you cozy up to the campfire. And there’s one phrase to remember when you’re outdoors in the fall in Michigan: dress in layers.

If you missed the Twitter chat, share your favorite Michigan state parks and fall hikes with us in the comments below.

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Photo credit: Anselm Baumgart

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