Deep reds, vibrant greens, dazzling oranges and golds: fall turns an already-gorgeous Grand Rapids scene into a colorful show worth finding your front-row seat to.
Whether you’ll walk along apple-scented orchard rows or paddle through tunnels of trees on a kayak or SUP — incredible views of the autumn hues are here! Check out a few of our favorite spots to find them:
From Calvin Ecosystem Preserve’s 100+ acres of forest and native gardens to Blandford Nature Center’s loops of trails through old-growth forest, wetlands, and prairies — there’s no better place to immerse yourself in fall beauty! Frederik Meijer Nature Preserve boasts sweeping color over rolling hills and valleys (best viewed from the boardwalk over tranquil Pickerel Lake). And, if you’re bringing the kids along for the leaf-peeping, too, try these top nature trails in Grand Rapids for families!
Just a five-mile ride from downtown Grand Rapids sits one of the largest urban greenspaces in the U.S. — Millennium Park. Follow 18 miles of tree-lined trails to beautiful vistas of lakes and ponds — or rent a kayak, paddleboat, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard to soak up all the fall color while you float! Other favorite local parks for leaf-peeping include: Seidman Park (Ada), Provin Trails (Grand Rapids), Aman Park (Grand Rapids), and Townsend Park (Cannonsburg).
Orchards & Farms
Riding Robinette’s mountain bike trail (then treating yourself to fresh-pressed cider and a warm maple bacon donut) or winding past apple trees and patches of pumpkins on a festive harvest-time hayride — you’ll get an eyeful of delicious fall color at these u-pick apple orchards & pumpkin farms!
There are plenty of places to paddle to fall color in Grand Rapids — on rivers or lakes, kayaks or SUPs. But, for the really breathtaking views, locals like to drop in on the Rogue River in Rockford, Flat River in Lowell, Thornapple River (between the Cascade and Ada dams), or the stretch of Grand River from Lowell to Ada. Or, if a convenient kayak launch and a laid-back lap around the lake sounds nice, try Reeds Lake in East Grand Rapids!
For the chance to hover over peaceful waters (with foliage all around), visit two historic bridges for a heightened fall color experience! The 1867 Ada Covered Bridge welcomes walkers and bikers over the Thornapple, and the 1871 Fallasburg Covered Bridge brings walkers, bikers — even vehicles — across the Flat River. Time your trip right for this dreamy photo-op: a wooden bridge blanketed by autumn leaves!
If a long, scenic drive seems like the perfect way to unwind, there’s plenty of pavement that’ll take you through the canopy, come early-October. But where exactly are the best roads in Grand Rapids for fall color? The Kent County Road Commission recommends a few favorites; pour some warm apple cider in your to-go mug and go cruise them all!
- Honey Creek Ave. from Pettis Ave. to Cannonsburg Rd.
- Bailey Dr. from Vergennes St. to Lincoln Lake Ave.
- Fallasburg Park Dr. from Lincoln Lake Ave. to Gavin Lake Ave.
- 5 Mile Rd. from Lincoln Lake Ave. to Gavin Lake Ave.
- Gavin Lake Ave. from 5 Mile Rd. to Belding Rd.
- Wabasis Ave. from Belding Rd. to 12 Mile Rd.
- Ramsdell Dr. from 5 Mile Rd. to 11 Mile Rd.