A Michigan park has been voted as the state’s top “hidden gem” to see fall foliage this season, along with a pair of others in the Mitten State.
The lineup, surveyed by 3,000 nature enthusiasts, named the top 150 spots across the nation that offer breathtaking views of the seasonal change.
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park listed No. 2 in the nation as one of the best locations to see the burgundy and orange hues and soft tones of gold and amber on trees, according to mixbook.com.
Situated in the northwest region of the Upper Peninsula in Carp Lake Township, the park was described as an “underrated treasure for witnessing” the changing colors of the leaves during fall.
“Far from the bustling tourist spots, it provides a peaceful escape to experience autumn’s vibrant palette,” the website said. “With its expansive forests, rolling hills and picturesque views, the park showcases the Midwestern fall in its purest form.”
Established in 1945, the park, fondly known as “the Porkies,” is Michigan’s largest state park. It features 60,000 acres of old-growth forest, roaring waterfalls, a Lake Superior shoreline, rivers, trails and ridges, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. It sits alongside the largest old-growth, hardwood-hemlock forest in the Great Lakes region.
Fall officially began Saturday, with the fall equinox, one of two days of the year when the sun is exactly above the equator and the day is as long as the night, according to Britannica.com. The other is the vernal, or spring, equinox on March 20 or March 21 each year.
The timing of color changes and falling leaves is primarily regulated by the calendar as nights become longer, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on its website.
About 270 miles east in the U.P. in Paradise, the Tahquamenon Falls State Park came in at No. 25 on the list to spot the color shift.
“This lesser-explored park unveils a captivating display of red, orange, and gold hues amidst its iconic waterfalls and dense forests,” mixbook.com said. “The park’s serene ambiance, combined with its lesser-known status, offers a unique and off-the-beaten-path opportunity for nature enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the vibrant colors of autumn.”
Tahquamenon’s Upper Falls is home to the largest waterfall in the Great Lakes State, measuring 200-feet wide and 50-feet tall, the DNR said. Just 4 miles east, the Lower Falls is situated along M-123.
In the Lower Peninsula, the Hartwick Pines State Park in Grayling placed No. 118 on the mixbook.com list.
Hartwick Pines, according to the natural resources department, features a visitor center, 21 miles of trails, a logging museum and a 49-acre forest of “scenic beauty.”
“The park’s mix of towering pine and hardwood trees burst into an array of red, orange, and gold hues during the autumn months, creating a striking contrast against the historic logging camp and the park’s tranquil lakes,” mixbook.com said.
Leslie Albertson, director of brand at Mixbook, said the leaves and serene landscapes offer the perfect canvas for fall.
“We hope these stunning, hidden gems across the U.S. inspire people to pack their bags and experience some incredible fall destinations firsthand,” Albertson said. “Even better, these fall spots make the perfect backdrop for this year’s family photos, to share in a holiday card or gift in a photo book.”