Text: Greg Johnson
Crystal Mountain, a family-owned, four-season resort in Thompsonville, Michigan is less than 20 minutes Michigan Route 22 in the northwest corner of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. It is a region voted Best Scenic Autumn Drive by USA Today, and for golfers, it means award-winning color for fall golf.
“Honestly the fall is one of the best times to play golf in northern Michigan,” said Brian Lawson, director of public relations at Crystal Mountain.
“The later it gets in the fall season, the more picturesque the courses get. It’s also a more laid-back time of year after the busy tourism season is over—and there are great fall deals, rates and packages. All three of those things make it great,” Lawson added.
Crystal Mountain has two golf courses, the Betsie Valley and the Mountain Ridge, which follow their names wrapping and rolling around the mountain and through the Betsie River valley in dramatic ways.
“People stop behind [number] 16 and 17 tee on Mountain Ridge and just take in the scene in the Betsie Valley,” Lawson said. “It’s incredible. We have the advantage of being a ski resort and the higher elevation points on the golf course are accessible.”
Lawson also said Crystal Mountain isn’t just a great place to view fall colors in Michigan, but one of the best places to be during the season in the country.
“There’s this great mix of hardwoods and pines, and you get the great colors and the different shades of green all mixed together,” Lawson said. “It’s stunning.”
The resort has several packages, such as Bed & Breakfast, Simply Spa and Unlimited Golf lodging packages, and special rates are available on select days through October. Special events tied to Halloween and the Spa are also part of the mix.
The fall fun doesn’t end with golf. Crystal has the Crystal Coaster, Michigan’s only alpine slide that provides a view of the autumn colors as rider and coaster go down the mountain. The slower-paced Scenic Chairlift Ridges are especially good for viewing the colors, but the more action-minded may want to opt for a kayak or tube down the river, perhaps ride a mountain bike, or simply hike the miles of trails. Crystal Mountain also features the Legacy Art Park in which artwork can be found surrounded by nature’s bounty of trees.