Overcast skies, colorful forest beds, stunning lakeside views, and rich pieces of history are just the beginning of what you’ll discover when you explore the Alpena region. We are into peak fall color season here in NE Michigan and here is where you can enjoy some seasonal fall color in the region!

Walks by the Water

Ocqueoc Falls

Besser Natural Area: Stretching over 134 acres, this area is home to one of Michigan’s last remaining stands of virgin pine. An easy one-mile trail will take you through the softwoods to view the timber and opens to a pristine sandy beach with over 4,000 feet of Lake Huron shoreline.

Ocqueoc Falls Bicentennial Pathway: The Lower Peninsula’s largest waterfall and only handicap-accessible falls in the United States, Ocqueoc Falls features trails for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. Discover where the Ocqueoc River cut a channel through the limestone bedrock and witness salmon swim through the underground channels during the spawning season. The remnants of an old mill race can also be seen just above the falls.


Wildflower Wandering

Thompson’s Harbor State Park. Photography by Abbey Jo Rehling

Thompson’s Harbor State Park: Located 24 miles north of Alpena, this natural area has 5,000 acres of limestone, sand dunes, upland, and marsh, providing the ideal habitat for a variety of wildflowers. In Michigan, there are less than 50 of these remaining examples of forest wet swale communities of this quality. This park is home to one of the largest populations of the State’s wildflower, the Dwarf Lake Iris.

Alpena Township Nature Preserve: This township nature preserve at Misery Bay includes nearly 10,000 feet of Lake Huron shoreline, coastal marshes, fens, old-growth northern white cedar forests, karst geology sinkholes, and over 150 species of rare plants. The variety of habitats also provides excellent opportunities for year-round bird watching.

Among the Tall Trees

Chippewa Hills Pathway. Photography by Paul Gerow

Norway Ridge Pathway: Five miles south of the City of Alpena, Norway Ridge provides a serene escape with an abundance of nature on the ten miles of forgiving, groomed terrain. Trails wind through lowland forest habitat covered with ridges of large red pines. This is an ideal trail system to enjoy all four seasons!

Chippewa Hills Pathway: Located twenty miles southwest of the City of Alpena, this trail system is considered one of the best-groomed trails in Northeast Michigan. Open to hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. You’ll feel at one with nature on this beautiful, heavily wooded property featuring a variety of old oak, maple, and evergreens.

Big Adventure Time

Rockport State Recreation Area

Rockport State Recreation Area: Rockport, located just north of the City of Alpena, is your place to discover rough and tough rugged terrain throughout 4,000 acres of pristine forest. Featuring an abandoned limestone quarry where you can hunt for Devonian Period fossils, Lake Huron breezes fuel your adventure through trails, shoreline beaches, sinkholes, and more. Stay after the sun goes down and you will understand why this park has been named one of Michigan’s official Dark Sky Preserves.

Negwegon State Park: Negwegon is revered for it’s rustic and undeveloped landscape. It is here you will discover one of the most remote and beautiful sandy beaches on Lake Huron. Adventure awaits you with 10 miles of hiking trails, four backcountry campsites, gorgeous woodlands, and remnants of Native American life found in stone structures and trail marker trees. Negwegon is also a designated Michigan Dark Sky Park.

Backyard Bliss

Thunder Bay River at Island Park. Photography by Amy Lijewski

Island Park: Right in the heart of the City of Alpena, Island Park is a 17-acre island located in the city’s 500-acre wildlife sanctuary. Cross over the beautiful, hand-hewn covered bridge from Duck Park to get to Island Park, where you’ll discover rolling nature trails, fishing and bird-watching platforms, and 5 different ecosystems.

Alpena Bi-Path: Just over 18 miles long, this path will gracefully lead you through charming city parks, along Lake Huron and the Thunder Bay River and throughout downtown Alpena. You’ll get to enjoy the best of nature, all right within the city limits.