By Judy Reed
Cost for traveling Michigan’s back roads? $20 in gas. Seeing nineteen million acres of woods across Michigan awash in color? Priceless.
According to the West Michigan Tourist Association, Kent County is near or at peak, with about 75 percent of the trees showing color. The dominant colors in this area are pale yellows and light greens, with a few smatterings of oranges and reds. There is no better time to see the color. (All photos were taken in Algoma, Nelson, and Sparta Townships.)
You may notice some of the colors this year are not as vibrant as usual. According to WOOD-TV 8’s Chief Meteorologist Bill Steffen, the cool weather has been a factor in how the leaves look. “Good color comes from sunny, mild days and cool nights with average rainfall,” Steffen explained. He said that from September 28 through October 18, every single day was cooler than average (21 days in a row). The first 18 days averaged 6.7 degrees cooler than average. We had measurable rain on 8 of the first 9 days of October, and only 29 percent of possible sunshine for the first 18 days.
“The prime color change early this fall has been to a slightly more muted than average yellow,” noted Steffen. “However, there are certainly some outstanding individual trees and pockets of good color. Remember, Michigan has more different kinds of trees than any other state, so even if the colors are slightly less than spectacular, it’s still a natural show worth enjoying.”
And he’s right. There’s no better way to experience nature’s autumn display than autumn color tours, whether it be driving on a picturesque backroad, walking through a pristine garden or paddling down scenic river. Visit www.wmta.org to find some great scenic tours.