6 awesome ways to take a fall color tour on Mackinac Island

Published on September 19th, 2018

Last updated on November 29th, 2022

It’s just about that time of year for one of Michigan’s favorite pastimes: the fall color tour. As the weather cools and the sun sets earlier, the leaves begin to change from their summer greens into a kaleidoscope of yellows, oranges and reds.

The amazing display presents an awesome opportunity to get behind the wheel of your car, hit the open road and…

…wait a minute, there’s no motor vehicles on Mackinac Island!

No problem, color tours on Mackinac are a unique experience. Here are six extraordinary ways to immerse yourself in the beauty of fall on the island (car not included):

BikePedal for 8.2 miles all the way around the outer edge of Mackinac Island, with blazing leaves on one side and dazzling blue waters on the other.

Hike – You can walk the loop around Mackinac Island or hike right straight through the middle of it. There are more than 70 miles of trails on Mackinac, including the Tranquil Bluff Trail that courses through the forest along the eastern shore, on the edge of cliffs high above Lake Huron.

CarriageHire a horse-drawn carriage driver or rent your own horse and buggy and experience the Mackinac Island version of a fall color tour on four wheels (and some hooves).

Horseback – You can ride horseback everywhere on Mackinac Island that you can go in a horse-drawn carriage, and then some. Saddle up your trusty steed and saunter on up to Fort Holmes, the highest point on the island. It’s 320 feet above lake level, offering an amazing panoramic view of the island’s colors and the surrounding waters.

Kayak – Rise before the sun and get out on the water for a kayak tour of Mackinac Island to get a unique look at fall colors, not to mention a cool perspective on the island’s limestone formations – like Arch Rock above and a maze of underwater rock below.

Plane – From 1,000 feet in the air on a 20-minute Mackinac Island color tour by air, you can see 30 miles in any direction and take in all of Mackinac’s beautiful hardwood forest – as well as the island’s buildings and landmarks that look so tiny from up above. A Mackinac Island fall color tour by helicopter is another aerial option.

Fall color on Mackinac often peaks in early October. That’s also the time many hotels, resorts and B&Bs offer special deals before the island prepares to hibernate for the winter. Pick your Mackinac Island lodging and make plans for a Mackinac-style color tour this fall.