Autumn camping destination #2: Colwell Lake Campground UP Michigan


+ColwellCG_AutumnSunset_JulianneGCraneThis is the second in a series of four posts that are exploring lesser-know public campgrounds to discover an autumn camping destination with spectacular fall color and abundance of outdoor activities.

Michigan’s entire Upper Peninsula explodes in dazzling, almost blinding, color beginning in mid-September. No place else we’ve visited comes close.

RVers who tour the coastlines of Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron drink in the autumn foliage and visit “quaint towns and historic lighthouses,” according to tourist brochures. There are many places to camp in the region’s national and state forests.

One such destination with amazing autumn scenery and generous campsites is the intimate Colwell Lake Campground, located within the Hiawatha National Forest. Peak season is May 15-Oct. 7.

More that half of the 40 sites come with incredible views of the lake filtered through the changing fall colors. There is an accessible fishing pier and walking nature trail around the lake. The autumn sunsets turn the trees into a breathtaking array of ruby reds and copper oranges.

“It’s a great place to be on warm fall days among the tall mature trees in full autumn color,” says RVer Thom Hochof Sutherlin, Ore., who travels with his wife, Dar, in their F350 Ford pickup and 2014 pop-up Four Wheel Camper Hawk. “We camp here whenever we’re in the area visiting family.”

If you go:

– Facilities: Most forest service campgrounds are closed for the season by mid-October, however, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Campgrounds remain open all year.
For information on Fall Color Routes, go to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Travel and Recreation Association’s website .
Best time for color: Now to mid-October for stunning autumn colors of reds, oranges and yellows.

If you missed other posts on ‘Autumn camping destinations’ — Click here

Julianne G. Crane

Photo: Autumn color from the accessible fishing pier at Colwell Lake Campground in Michigan. (Julianne G. Crane)

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1 Comment

  • I now travel full time and follow the nice temperatures. Grew up in Michigan and I really miss the north for fall colors. Seems like the sudden frost Michigan gets really pushes the trees to vacate the chlorophyll in the leaves. Other places with less sudden onset get color as the length of daylight decreases. So some color fades as others develop and it is not as spectacular.

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