Fall Foliage Motorcycle Rides
Yes — like it or not, summer is winding down and fall will soon bring some big changes in the weather. And that’s great news for riders.
Across the Upper Midwest and the northern tier of states, those weather changes trigger changes in the biology of plants and animals alike and one of the consequences of those changes is a breathtaking explosion of color in the trees and shrubs that cover the countryside.
The cool, dry air of early autumn can make for some very comfortable riding conditions and the fall colors set the stage for some memorable touring.
Color changes occur at different times of the fall season, depending on elevation and how far north the area is. For example, the far northern parts of the northernmost states begin to have fall colors show in early to mid-August and reach their peak of color in a couple of weeks.
Farther south, color changes start in mid-to-late August and peak by mid-September. Still further south, colors may begin to show in early to mid-September and peak by early October.
Early cold weather may make some foliage begin to change earlier, but in nearly all areas the show is over by mid to late October or early November; usually signaled by the first very cold, windy wet weather or even first snow.
Sometimes the weather for fall foliage touring can be quite cool, particularly in the early part of the morning, but that can also be when the scenery is most spectacular and the lighting can make for some amazing color photos.
So, remember your camera, warm glove, jacket and pants — preferably layered to allow you to adjust your gear as the day warms up. When frost is on the ground, it may also be on shaded parts of the road, so be on the alert — it can be as slippery as ice.
Fall color rides are organized by a number of organizations and if you live in the fall color states, there may be dealer-sponsored color rides, fund raiser fall color rides, commercially organized tours and other options.
Here are some official websites for states around the Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi with information on fall foliage tours and other attractions to think about for planning your fall color ride: