Marquette is the largest city in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and the seat of Marquette County. Located on the shores of Lake Superior, Marquette is a major port, known primarily for shipping iron ore from the Marquette Iron Range. It's known for its natural surroundings—from waterfalls and rock formations to scenic vistas and dense hardwoods. During the fall, an explosion of color, crisp air and autumnal splendor beckons you outdoors. After a day immersed in nature, Marquette’s charming and historic downtown, filled with local breweries, restaurants and shops, is the perfect spot to unwind and trade stories of adventure.
The original lighthouse was built in Marquette in 1853 and replaced by the current lighthouse in 1866. The lighthouse is the oldest significant structure in the city. More importantly, it is one of the most historic navigation beacons on Lake Superior and critical to the development of the Great Lakes iron ore trade. The lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2002, the Marquette Maritime Museum signed an agreement with the U.S. Coast Guard for the lease of the lighthouse. The museum offers escorted interpretive tours through the lighthouse and grounds.
The trailhead to one of the best views in the Upper Peninsula is about six miles north of downtown Marquette on CR 550. It takes about 15-20 minutes to hike to the peak on a “difficult” route. An “easy” route with a tamer grade takes a little longer, but both paths cut through a forest canopy up the mountain. Near the top, the dirt trail switches to wooden stairs that lead to three viewing platforms that look out at Lake Superior, Marquette, Presque Isle Park and Little Presque Isle.
Marquette's recreational crown jewel and most beloved attraction, this 323-acre forested peninsula juts out into Lake Superior in the northern tip of the city. Early residents of Marquette traveled there by boat because there was no bridge over the Dead River. This stretch along the Superior shoreline offers year-round outdoor recreation, serene settings for nature observation and education, and cultural experiences. It’s particularly gorgeous for viewing vibrant fall hues. Walk, ride a bike or drive Peter White Drive, a two-mile one-way loop that winds through a forest and a lookout. There are times when the road is closed to car traffic, so check out Presque Isle Park information for more information about the rules.
Considered one of the best waterfall adventures in the Upper Peninsula, the falls, just outside Marquette, are made up of a series of sudden plunges in a rocky gorge that drop more than 90 feet in about a half mile. The lower drops are all small cascades surrounded by dramatic rock cuts and outcroppings. Be careful in navigating this steep trail, because some portions have high rocky walls or go along sandy banks. Leashed dogs are allowed.
The sculpture park was founded in 2003, when artist Tom Lakenen moved his collection of scrap iron sculptures from his yard to a plot of land near the Lake Superior coast. Lakenenland contains more than 80 sculptures in the creator's "junkyard art" style. It is 15 miles east of Marquette on M-28, across from Shot Point Road. Stroll or drive through the free display, open around the clock every day of the year.
There’s lots to see and do in Marquette in the fall. Check out the highlights in this video.