West Michigan's abundant forests helped fuel Grand Rapids' rise as "furniture capital of the world" in the late 19th-early 20th centuries. While many hardwoods were sacrificed to sawmills in those years, Grand Rapids remains a tree-lover's paradise.

You’ll see an explosion of fall colors in 150+ local parks, on tree-lined suburban streets, and even alongside expressways as you cruise around town – including a “mountain” of trees that greets you two minutes west of downtown on I-196.

Each year, the Kent County Road Commission releases four fall color routes that showcase the vibrant colors of the season and the natural beauty of the area. Check out their 20222021, and 2020 Fall Color Tour recommendations – and stay tuned for the 2023 routes.

The County Road Association of Michigan identified these Kent County roads as “don’t-miss” destinations for fall color:

  • Honey Creek Avenue from Pettis Avenue to Cannonsburg Road
  • Bailey Drive from Vergennes Street to Lincoln Lake Avenue
  • Fallasburg Park Drive from Lincoln Lake Avenue to Gavin Lake Avenue
  • 5 Mile Road from Lincoln Lake Avenue to Gavin Lake Avenue
  • Gavin Lake Road from 5-mile road to Belding Road
  • Wabasis Avenue from Belding Road to 12 Mile Road
  • Ramsdell Drive from 5 Mile Road to 11 Mile Road
Grand Ravines South & Dog Park

The Grand Ravines' pedestrian bridge is the perfect spot for catching fall color scenery.

Photo by Alina Albin for Experience GR.

Fall Photo Spots

If you want to plan your own driving route, consider these scenic stops for your itinerary. You’ll find all sorts of colorful photo ops as you explore them on foot.

Ada Township Park. This 57-acre park includes a 200-tree arboretum, woodland garden, and nature area with barrier-free warbler trail.

Ada Covered Bridge. Erected in 1867, this 125-ft. Brown-truss wooden bridge spans the Thornapple River and is open to foot and bicycle traffic. It’s located in Leonard Park, just steps away from the walkable shopping and dining village of Ada.

Blandford Nature Center. An extensive trail network through old-growth forest and a naturalized golf course are ideal for admiring fall’s color palette.

Calvin Ecosystem Preserve & Native Gardens. Hike scenic trails through 100+ acres of forest, wetlands, and a native plant garden for a display of fall finery. Bring binoculars for birdwatching!

Fallasburg Covered Bridge. Opened in 1871, this 100-ft. Brown-truss wooden bridge still accommodates vehicular traffic across the Flat River just north of Lowell. It is adjacent to a forested county park crisscrossed with hiking trails. Visit Lowell’s charming main street, lined with antique shops, art galleries, and restaurants – before or after your tour.

Grand Ravines Park. This Jenison park offers scenic views of the Grand River and a pedestrian bridge, plus a “treehouse” that’s perfect for capturing panoramic vistas of fall color.

Grand River Riverfront Park. Walking paths throughout this Lowell park are lined with fall foliage but the most popular photo spot may be the pedestrian bridge over the Grand River.

Lowell Area Trailway. Staying in Lowell, this 2.5-mile paved pathway connects the Fred Meijer Flat River Valley Rail Trail with the Wittenbach/Wege Agriscience and Environmental Education Center, which offers another five miles of trails through lush forests, rolling prairies, open fields, and wetlands.

Millennium Park. Just five minutes from downtown, this 1,500-acre park boasts 18 miles of tree-lined hiking/biking trails, many alongside small lakes and the Grand River.

Pickerel Lake Park/Frederik Meijer Nature Preserve. Explore a scenic mix of wetlands, sandy woods, and rolling forest hills and valleys alongside a picturesque 80-acre lake. A 900-ft boardwalk crosses a portion of the lake.

Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery. This 100-year-old family orchard is a favorite fall destination for purchasing or picking 30+ varieties of apples, enjoying cider and homemade baked goods, and engaging with nature via hayrides, a corn maze, a petting zoo, and a mountain bike trail.

Muskegon State Park and Saugatuck State Park. Hike forested sand dunes on the way to Lake Michigan beachfront (and dazzling fall sunsets) at these parks 40-50 minutes from downtown GR.

Front Entrance at Robinette's Apple Haus & Winery

September and October are prime apple picking months, making it the perfect complementary activity to your fall color tour.

Photo by Experience Grand Rapids

More Fall Fun

Other ideas to supplement your fall color tour: