Great Places to See Fall Colors in Oakland County

Fall is in full bloom in Oakland County, and you still have time to enjoy it! There are numerous city, county, and state parks for you to hike and bike with the whole family. Here are just a few select scenic areas both close to home and a short drive away to take in the last breaths of fall, from historic manors to century-old cider mills, all amidst forested areas ideal for a perfect fall afternoon out with the family.
 
Cranbrook House and Gardens
Bloomfield Hills
Tour the grounds of metro Detroit's oldest historic manor, Cranbrook House. With rolling hills, ponds, and impeccably manicured gardens, the 174-acre Cranbrook property is also the home of the Cranbrook Academy of Art, the Cranbrook Institute of Science, and famed schools. You could spend several days exploring everything there is to see at Cranbrook, but if all you have is one afternoon then don't miss the reflecting pool and Japanese garden.
 
West Bloomfield Woods Nature Preserve
West Bloomfield
Tucked away just off of Pontiac Trail in West Bloomfield Township, the West Bloomfield Woods Nature Preserve is a 162-acre nature preserve with trails that meander through woodlands full of oak and hickory trees and down into wetlands that include an overlook of a blue heron rookery with 100 blue heron nests. The preserve is also home to over 100 different bird species including large game birds, white-tail deer, red fox, coyote, and weasels. This is the western trailhead for the 4.25-mile West Bloomfield Trail Network, a paved rails-to-trails project.
 
Paint Creek Trail
Northeast Oakland County
The Paint Creek Trail is a 8.9-mile "linear park," the first Rail-to-Trail project in the state of Michigan, cutting through Rochester, Rochester Hills, Oakland Township, Orion Township, and Lake Orion. The trail also runs past the Paint Creek Cider Mill, so you can stop by for some hot spiced apple cider and cider mill doughnuts for the full-on Michigan fall experience.
 
Yates Cider Mill
Rochester Hills
With its proximity to many densely populated suburban areas, Yates Cider Mill is a favorite fall destination for many families as they enjoy cider, doughnuts, and fudge in a scenic setting that includes a petting zoo and a half-mile-long boardwalk that runs along the Clinton River. Yates has been pressing their cider with water power from the Clinton River since 1876, making it a beloved family tradition for nearly 140 years. You can also launch kayaks and canoes from Yates, but be prepared – this section of the Clinton River runs a lot faster than you might expect.  
 
Mill Race Village
Northville
Once the site of a grist mill, the 12.5-acre Mill Race Historical Village is a replica of architectural styles common to the area prior to 1900, with an inn, blacksmith shop, school, church, gazebo, general store, and several homes done in the historic style of a long-gone era. Naturally it makes for some great Instagram shots, and the grounds are a charming place for a quiet afternoon stroll. The Yerkes Mill Pond is a particular attraction, with a rustic wooden bridge running over it.   
 
Raintree Park
Troy
Raintree Park is the name of subdivision in Troy but is also the name of the 41-acre park at the edge of the subdivision, located off of John R between Big Beaver and Wattles. The park is half open and half wooded, with an 18-hole disc golf course, ball diamond, sand volleyball court, play structures, a picnic shelter, and a paved path through the woods. Whether on foot or on a bike, the path through the woods instantly transports you somewhere that feels far removed from any city, with a dense tree canopy that conceals the residential homes just a few hundred yards away and a full fall color display to enjoy just minutes from I-75.  
 
Haven Hill
Highland
The historical site, state-protected nature preserve, and national landmark Haven Hill was once the Edsel and Eleanor Ford family's estate. Located in the Highland State Recreation area, the historic log cabin structures sit amidst 721 acres of forested area thick with tamarack and cedar swamps, beech-maple forest, oak-hickory forest, and mixed hardwood forest largely untouched for the last 90 years. Spring brings songbirds and wildflowers, but fall brings full Technicolor foliage. There are outdoor activities to enjoy each season: visitors can go mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing, swimming, and cross-country skiing.
 
Red Oaks County Park
Madison Heights
Many people already know the Red Oaks Water Park as a favored summertime family destination, but did you know it is also a sizable county park with its own nature center and paved walking trail through the woods? The George W. Suarez Friendship Woods offers a 1.3-mile paved trail in a 38-acre Michigan Natural Features Inventory Priority Three Conservation Area, and all of two miles from Oakland Mall.