Top Experiences in the Copper Country

The Copper Country of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula offers numerous wilderness experiences to meet every dream. But are you looking for a new adventure that will challenge all your backpacking skills or your kayaking dreams? Then the world-renown national park, located in the middle of Lake Superior and belonging to Keweenaw County, will meet all the requirements you may have considered.

The Copper Country’s four counties all border Lake Superior. In addition, two national parks and two of Michigan’s largest state parks exist in the Copper Country.  Michigan’s largest undeveloped state park, Craig Lake State Park, lies in eastern Baraga County.  While at the western end of Ontonagon County, you can visit, camp, hike, fish at the Porcupine Mountain State Park.

Are you looking for vistas that challenge your ability to comprehend vast spaces of wilderness? Then travel to the top of Brockway Mountain Drive. There you will see most of Keweenaw County and far off into Lake Superior. You may catch a great lakes freighter traveling to or from Duluth. Or climb to the top of Bear Bluff in Keweenaw County. From there, you can view the Huron Mountains in Baraga County or far out into eastern Lake Superior.  Should you climb the steep stairway up Silver Mountain, expansive views of Baraga County’s vast wilderness will lie at your feet. Finally, climb Lookout Peak in the Porcupine Mountain. You can see Lake Superior or view the Apostle Islands in Northern Wisconsin on a clear day from the platform.

The Ottawa National Forest in Baraga, southern Houghton, and Ontonagon counties offer many nationally known trails, rustic campgrounds, and wild gorges like the Middle Branch of the Ontonagon River or the Sturgeon River Gorge in Baraga County. In addition, the Copper Country State Forest extends throughout western Houghton County and into Ontonagon County. These forests refresh the soul of every person, bringing back the wilderness into the soul.

Besides the wilderness experiences awaiting every visitor, the Copper Country invites people to an adventure where you may play to your heart’s content. Golf courses are in every county and offer various experiences, from the beauty of the Keweenaw Golf Course at Copper Harbor with views of Brockway Mountain or the Portage Lake Golf Course in Houghton with beautiful views of Portage Lake.

Like fishing, swimming, or boating? Lake Superior is second to none with its fishing possibilities. Numerous lakes are in each county, from Portage Lake in Houghton County to Lake Gogebic in Ontonagon County or the lonelier lakes of Keweenaw and Baraga counties.

Swimmers can enjoy the sandy beaches of Lake Superior at such places as Great Sand Bay or Bête Grise in Keweenaw County or the bathing beaches of Houghton and Hancock on the Portage Canal. Keweenaw Bay offers several beautiful beaches in Baraga County. The sandy shoreline just outside of Ontonagon is an excellent secret that visitors seldom hear exists. Miles of sandy beach stretches from the mouth of the Ontonagon River for miles, all the way to the mouth of the Firesteel River.

The Copper Country also invites everyone to discover their history by being the home of the Keweenaw National Park, whose sole mission is to help people explore the early history of the Copper Country. The earliest explorers to America quickly learned that native people mined copper in various spots of the Copper Country. Likewise, early geologists quickly learned that copper could be found in three of the four counties. As soon as Michigan became a state and the U.S. Government could make treaties with the local Native American peoples, miners began to arrive. By the early 1840s, the miners were pulling copper out of the ground. The great wilderness presented untold difficulties for these early miners. But their ingenuity and the significant financial investments from easterners overcame many of the problems.

The Keweenaw National Park has partnered with numerous heritage sites throughout the Copper Country that visitors are encouraged to visit. Just visiting the various heritage sites can fill up entire weeks. For example, the Seaman Rock Museum at Michigan Technological University is internationally known for its rock exhibits.