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Northern Michigan sees increase of tourists for annual color tours during pandemic

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Fall colors are in full bloom in northern Michigan causing more tourists to come up and experience the beauty. (Taylor Nimmo/UpNorthLive News)

OTSEGO COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) -- Northern Michigan is known for its natural beauty.

And each year, it's the incredible scenic views that draw in visitors from across the country.

It's fall and that can mean apple cider, pumpkins, gourds and that also means fall colors, especially in northern Michigan.

While summer in northern Michigan is pure bliss, the landscape transforms into a mosaic of vibrant reds, yellows and oranges. It makes the transition to fall pretty easy.

When it comes to fall colors, Gaylord is known for some of the best.

"We're expecting peak in about a week to 10 days. Gaylord is the highest elevation in the lower peninsula of Michigan," said Gaylord Tourism Bureau Executive Director Paul Beachnau. "The viewscapes around us are absolutely spectacular."

It's a view worth traveling for.

"We've seen a lot of reds and oranges and yellows," said Craig Veach. "It's really pretty! It's one of the reasons we're up here."

And COVID-19 hasn't slowed the traveler. In fact, it's done the opposite.

"We've seen really nice increases in travel because people are looking for drive vacations- they're looking for outdoor activities so they can naturally socially distance," said Beachnau.

It's actually been a positive as far as tourism.

"It was a very unexpected surprise. There's a wide range of what we're seeing but overall we're pleasantly surprised with the increases."

And some of the best spots.

"Two really great locations are the Otsego Resort and treetops resort sits atop the pigeon river valley. A really cool activity is to take a fall color drive look for the elk herd."

Take a stop at Aspen Park where there is almost 100% chance you'll see elk.

As far as the colors, this year is looking pretty good.

"We've had a lovely summer, a lot of not too hot days, we've had some moisture at the appropriate times. I think we're in for a fantastic fall season

If you would like to sign for a tour, you can do so on Gaylord's Tourism website.

Beachnau said they're hoping to keep moisture in the trees for the next couple of weeks in order to extend the peak of the colors.