Page 47 - Color Tour 2018
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Look down on colors
Lakeshore best viewed from on high
Many would say Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore beauty peaks along with the colors of fall.
To take in all that beauty, try mov- ing to high ground.
“Any place you can get to that’s high, and you’ll have a great view of color,” suggests Tom Ulrich, deputy superintendent at the Lakeshore. “Some of the best views are accessed from Pierce Stocking drive.”
Ulrich recalled that shortly after the National Park Service purchased the drive and land around it, engineers were sent to determine the best loca- tion for a road that would give visitors top-of-the-world views of the Manitou islands, Glen Lake and Sleeping Bear Dunes.
The road never moved. It was deemed perfect.
Perhaps too perfect. Ulrich relates that overlooks 9 and 10 are the most popular because they provide perches for taking in Lake Michigan and an overview of the Glen Lake area. Many visitors after returning to their cars  gure that their pleasure was done.
They almost seem to be asking, “How could you top that?”
In the fall, though, Ulrich recom-
mends that visitors take in the next stop, too — Overlook No. 11.
“A lot of people don’t stop because it’s the one after the Lake Michigan overlook. They get back into their car and move on, but there’s another one that’s 100 yards down the road. Don’t drive by that,” Ulrich said.
Overlook No. 11 seems made for autumn because of its expansive views of Alligator Hill, which is in the process of reinventing itself after a wind shear storm in 2015 knocked over hundreds of mature hardwood trees. Their replacements have done remarkably well, and should provide a colorful show this fall.
While you won’t have all 71,000 acres of the Lakeshore to yourself, you’ll have more room to roam than in summer. In 2017, some 185,716 park visitors were counted in September and another 100,287 in October.
Combined, that’s about half the record monthly attendance for the park — 561,784 in July 2016.
“We have gotten busier in the fall, and busier overall. While our October numbers of late have been much high- er than when I got here, there’s no comparison to summer,” Ulrich said.
Try stopping at overlooks along Pierce Stocking Drive that you may have ... overlooked.
leelanau color tour 2018
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