UPDATE: I created a new page with the latest Michigan Fall Color updates and a rather comprehensive listing of Michigan Corn Mazes and Michigan Apple Orchards - Michigan Fall Colors. Taking a Fall Color Tour in Michigan is a great way to really get familiar with our state. You don't partake in a fall color tour by zipping up the freeway. You take the roads less traveled. I personally recommend taking U.S. 31 out of Traverse City on up to 119 (the tunnel of trees) out of Petoskey for one of the most beautiful color tours you will ever take. For just a glimpse of the beauty of this drive, see this wonderful photo.
U.S. 2 along the northern shore of Lake Michigan is excellent as well. There are a plethora of great spots to pull off and enjoy the view as well as take pictures. The Cut River Bridge has a nice picnic area and trails that take you down to the beach. Walk across to the middle of the span and take an awesome photo (like this one).
Another favorite of mine is along the shore of Lake Superior on M-28 in the U.P. Head in to Marquette and on up to Mount Marquette for a breathtaking view of autumn colors with Lake Superior as the backdrop (see this great photo). Take 550 out of Marquette on up to Big Bay to see some of the most beautiful country around (you have to see Yellow Dog Falls in the fall). I can't believe more people don't visit the U.P. So much to offer, yet so few take advantage.
Plan when you want to go using this Michigan Fall Color Map that projects when the color reaches its peak across the different parts of Michigan -
If you choose one of the three routes I mentioned above you will get the joy of stopping in towns like Elk Rapids, Cross Village, Naubinway, Manistique, Munising, Marquette and Big Bay. Places unique to Michigan that you probably wouldn't have set out to stop in as a destination, but you're glad you found them.