Autumn has arrived and the ritual of enjoying the blaze of colors across the Michigan landscape will soon begin. Nothing beats that country cruise when you take family and friends on some of your favorite drives along the backroads of Michigan. 

Besides the normal drives through the countryside, the State of Michigan offers three unique opportunities to take in the beauty of our state parks. A couple of the ways are for the somewhat more adventurous.

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Two Adventurous Color Experiences 

If a casual drive or a leisurely walk through Michigan’s autumn glory doesn’t fulfill your sensual journey, perhaps an aerial view can step up the action. There are two Michigan state parks that offer two options that may appeal to those who are not faint at heart. 

The Porcupine Mountain Chairlift Ride 

Okay, I know. A chairlift ride is theoretically a relaxing ride, as you slowly glide above the ground, enjoying the scenic view. But for some of us, who have acquired a slight paranoia of height, the idea of being suspended in the air, on a “slippery” seat with only some kind of rail placed in front of you for safety, produces a queasy feel in the pits of our stomachs. 

If this isn’t an issue in your life, chairlift rides are available at the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Ontonagon County, located in the Upper Peninsula. The chairs are able to carry three people, but the size of the average Walmart shopper may limit the ride to two. 

The triple chairlift takes you to the top of the Porkies Winter Sports Complex's ski hill Saturdays and Sundays through October 14th, from noon to 6 PM. A Recreation Passport will get you into the park, the lift ticket is $10 per person, children under 10 ride free, but must be accompanied by an adult. 

A Chairlift Gives You A Great View Of The Porcupine Mountains

A chairlift gives you a great view of the Porcupine Mountains in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Kaleb Nimz via Unsplash

You Can Zipline Through Muskegon State Park 

The next step up, in aerial adventure, is the zipline at the Michigan Luge Adventure Park in Muskegon State Park. It’s a ¼ mile ride that begins on a sand dune and passes above the white pine and oak forest canopy at speeds up to 25 mph. 

It’s a dual line, so you can enjoy the ride with a friend who will be traveling just a few feet away. The basic ride starts at $45, and you must sign a waiver. If you are under 18, the waiver must be signed by a legal guardian, and you need to be accompanied by an adult. There are size requirements: Minimum height is 48”, Minimum weight is 65 lbs., and the maximum weight is 250 lbs., which once again, may hamper the average Walmart shopper from participating. The zipline operates Saturdays and Sundays 10 AM to 5 PM through October 22nd. 

Zoom Above The Michigan Forest Canopy

Zoom above the forest canopy at Muskegon State Park
Polly Thomas/Getty Images

Are You Colorblind? No Problem. They Got’cha Covered 

One of the most difficult times, for people with color blindness, must be going through autumn, not witnessing the eye-popping colors that Michigan offers. This third unique autumn experience may change that lost opportunity and is offered at three Michigan state parks. 

Specially adapted viewers with EnChroma lenses will open the world of color to a person who has been missing the beautiful Michigan autumn display. The viewers look like large binoculars. There are three viewing locations in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park and single viewing locations at Ludington State Park in Mason County and William G. Milliken State Park in Wayne County. Mike Knack, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park manager, says, 

The goal of EnChroma viewers is simple: to expand access to the outdoors. With the help of these special lenses, we hope people with red-green colorblindness can enjoy the beauty of nature's color palette more distinctly. 

EnChroma Viewers Bring Color To The Colorblind

EnChroma viewers bring color to the colorblind.
Slim Emcee via Unsplash

You may want to hasten if you plan on traveling to the Upper Peninsula, as the color peaks during the first two weeks of October. The “Trolls” are just beginning to see some color, under the bridge.  

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