Surprising Spots To See Great Fall Foliage

Many of us are looking forward to seeing the vibrant colors of the fall foliage.

You probably think that means heading for the Northeast or Canada.

Not necessarily so, says newly-named CBS News Travel Editor Peter Greenberg.

On "The Early Show" Monday, he spotlighted some surprise locations to take in those vibrant reds and oranges.

In reality, the Northeast has no monopoly on fall foliage, Greenberg stressed. Fall foliage starts in higher elevations and travels south and west across the country. The change is dependent on weather; trees need that cold snap, with warmer days and cooler nights, to change into brilliant colors. Slower cooling periods just make the leaves dry out and turn brown.

Michigan, which has over 100 different species of trees

Things are looking good for a colorful fall in Michigan. It's been a rainy summer, and they're hoping for warmer days and cooler evenings to get that fall show of colors. Michigan has more than 100 different species of trees, including oak, maple, and sycamore. In the colorful Upper Peninsula, leaves start turning early, around mid- to late-September, and peaks around the first week of October into the middle of the month. By the end of October, you can find some good past-peak color in Northern Lower Michigan.

Another surprise is to enjoy the foliage in Michigan's wineries. There are now 64 wineries spread throughout the state, particularly in the west and southwest. Not only can you experience the leaves changing, but also vines turning red. Fruitful Vine Wine Tours offers group and individual tours between Memorial Day and late October, from $39-$59 per person. Domaine Berrien Cellars & Winery in Berrien Springs, also near the southwestern coast, offers wine flights paired with local cheeses and meats where you can sit overlooking the vineyard as well as maple and oak trees, which peak around mid-October.

No matter where you are in Michigan, you're always within 85 miles of a Great Lake, and fewer than 6 miles from a lake or street. Kayaking and canoeing is a great way to experience the fall colors, whether it's on the Escanaba River or along the Manistique River into the nearly 96,000-acre Seney Wildlife Refuge.

The Upper Peninsula has some of the best trails in the country. On the Keweenaw Peninsula (way up top) , try driving up Brockway Mountain, the highest scenic road between the Rockies and the Alleghenies, 1,000 feet above Lake Superior. Brockway Mountain Drive covers nearly 9 miles and is perfect for driving or bicycling to catch the fall colors. Also, Ottowa National Forest covers nearly 1 million acres in western Upper Peninsula.

About 56 miles off the Keweenaw Peninsula in Lake Superior is the Isle Royale National Park, an International Biosphere Reserve, which makes for a great day trip or for overnight camping through September. There are more than 165 miles of scenic trails, with both guided and self-guided experiences. It is accessible only via seaplane or boat: Ranger III ferry is $100-$120 round-trip; Voyageur II is $122; Isle Royal Queen is $128; Royale Air Service is $285 round-trip.

Colorado isn't only as a ski and winter destination. It has a brilliant fall foliage season as well.

Colorado is known for its aspen trees-nearly 2 million acres in all-which changes into a brilliant, vibrant gold in the fall. The change happens very quickly, but not at the same time all around Colorado (remember, it starts at the higher elevations first). So a good tip is to book your travel to Colorado, and then follow the color once you get there.

Northwest-Aspen, Grand Junction. Visit in mid-September, where the most popular viewing spot is probably Maroon Bells at Maroon Lake. If arriving into Denver, the drive west from Twin Lakes to Aspen over Independence Pass for some of the most scenic views in the state.

Then there's the southwest part of the state -Gunnison-Crested Butte, Telluride. Visit mid- to
late-September. Gunnison-Crested Butte sits on almost two million acres of wilderness in southwest Colorado.

Locals celebrate an entire month with "September Splendor in the Rockies," with cookoffs, farmers markets, art events, and festivals.

In fall, hotels are dropping their prices compared to summer and winter. Stay at any Crested Butte Mountain Resort property (Elevation Hotel & Spa, Lodge at Mountaineer Square, Grand Lodge Hotel and Suites, and CBMR Properties condos) this September and October and save 25 percent. (Not valid at the Grand Lodge September 14-17, or at the Elevation after
September 27.)

There are multiple scenic drives, including the stunning West Elk Loop Scenic & Historic Byway, a 205-mile loop along Highway 135 to Kebler Pass to Highway 133.

Central Colorado also has fall foliage-Denver, Colorado Springs. Visit from mid September to early October. Pikes Peak Railroad is a great way to experience the foliage without breaking a sweat. It's a three-hour, 9-mile ride that climbs up more than 14,000 feet of Pikes Peak, so you can see first-hand how the foliage changes at a difference pace the higher the elevation.

Trek through vast wilderness and stay at the 10th Mountain Division Hut System in the Rocky Mountains. Twenty-nine backcountry huts sprinkle the Colorado Rocky Mountains-many with easy access to Aspen, most accessible by 4-wheel drive, mountain bikes or hiking. Huts are equipped with fireplaces, cooking materials and water.

Even Amtrak can be a great option. The California Zephyr train from Denver to Grand Junction is a five-hour ride that departs Denver at 7:45 a.m. is an affordable (about $45), do-it-yourself ride through the heart of the Rockies.

  • CBSNews

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.