10/12/2012 05:24 pm ET

Michigan Fall Colors Peak In October With Gorgeous Autumn Foliage (PHOTOS)

If there's one season when the Mitten State really shows off, it's autumn. This year's Michigan fall colors certainly don't disappoint.

A silver lining to the early March warmth and drought that devastated this year's crops is the brilliant effect it wrought on fall foliage. According to MLive, the hot, dry summer is part of the reason trees are turning colors sooner. Unfortunately, cold weather is better for leaves, which tend to drop sooner in warmer weather and high stress conditions.

But at least it will be a little warmer for when you go traipsing off into the woods for a hike or a scenic drive with the windows down. Pure Michigan has done all the work of mapping out routes with the best sights, including a drive that takes leaf peepers from Detroit to Port Huron and circling through the central part of the state.

A little further north, you can take a trip from Alpena to Au Gres on US-23, which took the Weather Channel honor for this year's favorite fall drive in the Midwest.

The metro Detroit area is still a week or two from the brightest colors, but much of the Lower Peninsula is in its top form for foliage, and only pockets of the state are just past their peak.

Below, see photos of the spectacular Mitten autumns of years past, and don't forget to add your own!

Fall Colors And Autumn Scenes In Michigan