When it comes to beautiful, relaxing fall escapes, there’s nothing quite like our Bed and Breakfast in Traverse City. Though we’re technically located 12 miles outside of downtown Traverse City on the Leelanau Peninsula, we offer an unforgettable home base to explore the area, including heading out to places like Sleeping Bear Dunes & the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive in the fall.
Michigan fall colors are truly stunning, especially when contrasted against the blue hues of Lake Michigan along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Fall colors may not be the biggest attraction at Sleeping Bear Dunes, but they are certainly a breathtaking sight to behold. The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is one of the many gorgeous fall drives in the Traverse City area, but it’s definitely one of the most popular.
Even the drive north out of downtown Traverse City and towards our top-rated Bed and Breakfast in Traverse City is gorgeous in the fall. Once you’re here, you’ll find colorful vineyard views and breathtaking ocean views that are simply magical under the vibrant glow of Michigan fall colors. Sip delicious wine in our tasting room, enjoy delicious meals at our on-site restaurant, meander trails, and otherwise explore our property, and experience the best of fall in Michigan. Book your room at our Bed and Breakfast in Traverse City today!
Fall on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive
There are many stunning things to do in Traverse City and the surrounding areas in the fall, but one of our favorites is taking the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, known casually as the Sleeping Bear Dunes Scenic Drive, is a breathtaking 7.4-mile loop along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is actually beautiful any time of year, but in the fall, this short drive through the colorful beech-maple forest is otherworldly. The trees are a vibrant shade of yellow in the fall, which offers visitors the perfect contrast with the surrounding dunes and the lake itself.
Though the route is short, there are twelve stops worth making on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, plenty of hiking opportunities, and even more gorgeous fall views. We’ve included some of the top highlights from the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive below.
- One of the most iconic sights along the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is the covered bridge – a sight more common to the New England states of New Hampshire and Vermont!
- One of the best views on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is at the observation deck of the Lake Michigan Overlook. The overlook towers 450 feet above the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, offering impressive views from above. This is also one of the best places to catch a sunset on the Lakeshore.
- Grand vistas of Lake Michigan, surrounded by the vibrant hues of Michigan fall colors, aren’t the only views you’ll enjoy on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. Stop at the Glen Lake Overlook, and you’ll find a beautiful view of Big and Little Glen Lake, too.
- As you navigate the winding Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, take a moment to get out for a dune hike at the Cottonwood Trail.
- For a great view of the signature dunes of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, head to Dune Overlook. This overlook sits at the eastern edge of the sand dunes and on one of the highest dunes. From here, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, including sights like North and South Manitou Islands, Pyramid Point, Sleeping Bear Bay, the Sleeping Bear Dunes, Glen Lake and the surrounding hills, the Little Glen Lake Mill Pond, and the historic D.H. Day farm.
- The largest dune on the Lakeshore is Sleeping Bear Dune, and you can find a fantastic view of it from the Sleeping Bear Dune Overlook.
- The final overlook worth stopping at on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is the North Bar Lake Overlook. North Bar Lake was formed as a sandbar built up and blocked water from Lake Michigan – and this is just another beautiful place to enjoy the signature Michigan Fall Colors along the Lakeshore.
- Though most of the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive travels through a Beech-Maple forest, there’s also an interesting pine plantation worth seeing along the drive. It’s a remnant of the once-thriving logging industry along this coastline.
More Things to Do at Sleeping Bear Dunes This Fall
Of course, taking a gorgeous scenic drive is just one of the many things to do at Sleeping Bear Dunes this fall – or really, any time of year. Though you may only think of trips to the beach in the summer, you absolutely don’t want to miss a trip to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in the fall.
Michigan fall colors along the Lakeshore and the broader Leelanau Peninsula typically peak in early to mid-October, so there’s plenty of time to plan a trip to view these mesmerizing colors firsthand. If you’re short on time, the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is a great way to see the best of the best of this magnificent Lakeshore. However, if you have more time to explore, here are a few more things to do at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore this fall.
- Hiking the Empire Bluff Trail is one of the best things to do at Sleeping Bear Dunes in the fall. You’ll head uphill through a dazzling forest of changing leaves before emerging at the overlook for a stunning view up and down the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, ablaze in the season’s colors.
- Another great hike to take in the fall is the Alligator Hill Trail. Once again, the trek through the forests is magnificent in peak foliage season, and the view of Glen Lake at the end is more than worth the journey.
- Of all the hikes worth taking at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, none are more memorable than the Pyramid Point Trail. At the summit, you’ll enjoy views of the rolling dunes, Lake Michigan, and hidden lake. It’s beautiful any time of year but positively stunning under the glow of Michigan fall colors.
- If you’re looking for a great fall bike ride, consider the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. Most of the 21 miles of trail are paved.
If you’re interested in exploring all the things to do at Sleeping Bear Dunes, including the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, it’s time to visit our Bed and Breakfast and winery on the Leelanau Peninsula. Book your room at our Bed and Breakfast in Traverse City today!