Boyne Highlands near Petoskey offers fall colors by zip-line, horseback and chairlift

Plenty of welcome sunshine and warm weather — what a concept! — are forecast over the next week or so throughout Michigan. And that means one thing: if ever there was a time to get out and see gorgeous fall colors, this is it.

Boyne Highlands near Petoskey makes it easy, offering several innovative and exciting ways, through late October, to get out and view nature’s paintbrush beyond the traditional fall color drive. Adventure-seekers may soar through a canopy of trees on Michigan’s longest zip-line, saddle up for a 90-minute horseback trail ride or simply hop aboard a chairlift for panoramic views that stretch on clear days all the way to the Mackinac Bridge.

Here’s the skinny:

Get a bird's-eye view of Michigan's fall colors while ziplining through the trees at Boyne Highlands Resort near Petoskey. (Boyne Highlands Resort)

Get a bird’s-eye view of Michigan’s fall colors while ziplining through the trees at Boyne Highlands Resort near Petoskey. (Boyne Highlands Resort)

For a real bird’s eye view, reserve a spot on a guided Zip-line Adventure Tour that soars for nearly three hours across a series of eight lines, starting at the top of Boyne Highlands’ Olympic Slope — an elevation of 3,250 feet — and descends the equivalent of 50 stories through trees and across ski slopes en route to the base area. Reaching speeds of 20-25 miles per hour on lines as high as 50 feet off the ground, participants feel what it’s like to fly through the air. The series includes one line that stretches 1,350 feet, the longest zip-line experience in Michigan. There’s also a new 100-foot rope bridge between lines 3 and 4.

Through Oct. 12, the Zip-line Adventure Tour, $64 per person, is offered at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and at the same times on Saturdays and Sundays from Oct. 18-25.

Those with less time may opt for Twin Zip Rides (45 minutes to an hour) that start midway up the slope and run more than 1,350 feet to the base area — the portion of the ride that ranks as Michigan’s longest zip-line experience. The cost is $20 for one ride or $25 for two rides and no reservations are necessary. Through Oct. 12, Twin Zip Rides are offered from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Oct. 18-25.

Reservations are recommended for  scenic fall color Horseback Trail Rides that climb to Boyne Highlands’ mountaintop where participants pause for cider and donuts while taking in autumn views of Pleasantview Valley and Little Traverse Bay in the distance. The 90-minute rides are offered at 1 p.m., Thursdays through Sundays.

Perhaps the quickest and easiest way to appreciate the region’s fall color show is to hop aboard the MacGully chairlift, proving that ski lifts aren’t just for skiers and snow season. The scenic rides are offered from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.on Saturdays and Sundays, Sept. 27-Oct. 26. It’s $5 per person or free for Boyne Highlands’ guests.

For details and reservations, call (231) 526-3835 or check

And there’s a bonus for anyone who ventures north to Boyne Highland this weekend: the Hops ‘n Highlands Microbrew Festival, Friday and Saturday, features 140 craft beers from more than three dozen Michigan breweries.  For lodging packages, check 





Susan R. Pollack
Globetrotting journalist and former Detroit News staff writer Susan R. Pollack has covered travel since 1985, visiting scores of countries on five continents, 49 states, six Canadian provinces and hundreds of cities, islands and outposts along the way. From Alaska, the Galapagos and New Zealand to South Africa, Thailand and Wales, she has suffered the occasional lost luggage, jetlag and Montezuma’s revenge but still delights in sharing travel adventures with readers. In addition to The Detroit News, her award-winning stories and photos have appeared in major newspapers including the Dallas News, Toronto Star, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Chicago Sun Times; and magazines including Delta Sky, Midwest Living, Long Weekends, Experience Michigan, Jetsetter, Home & Away, Lakeland Boating, Hour Detroit, Prevue Meetings and Group Tour. She has contributed to several books including "Rand McNally 2008 Ultimate NASCAR Road Trip Guide." She also writes for websites including, and