Visit Gorgeous Copper Harbor, Michigan
Published: Friday, June 8, 2018
Where The Road Ends & Adventure Begins!
Nestled on the northernmost tip of the western upper peninsula of Michigan, in the Keweenaw Peninsula, sits a beautiful little town called Copper Harbor. Originally settled in 1843 because of what was thought to be a rich vein of copper, here, in the Keweenaw, we are quite proud of our hidden gem.
Copper Harbor is a small town off the beaten path, at the northern end of U.S. Highway 41. Whether you like mountain biking, kayaking, fishing, rock hounding, sailing, or simply watching the beautiful sunsets, Copper Harbor has something for everyone. With camping available as well as motels and cabins, souvenir shops, and a museum, whether you are here on a day trip or for an extended stay, Copper Harbor is a great place to visit for a day or a week or even longer!
Copper Harbor State Marina — located 47° 28' 42" N, 87° 51' 50" W — offers transient dockage and has a harbor master on duty. You can dock your boat and walk into town and enjoy many little shops and eateries. The marina is equipped with many amenities including fuel, phone, dump station, and a public phone, just to name a few, and can accommodate boats of various sizes.
There is a lot of history in the Harbor. You can see mine ruins as well as the Historic Fort Wilkins, which was originally used to guard the Harbor from enemies. You can tour the Fort at your own pace; there is no entry fee. You will only need a state park pass to get a vehicle in the Fort and it is open each year from Mid-May through Mid-October. From June through August, there is a Living History Program where costumed interpreters act as members of the military garrison.
If the glory of Mother Nature is of more interest to you, there is plenty to find here. There are many nature trails throughout Copper Harbor that are quite easily traversed or, if you like a challenge, then you can find more difficult ones, too. There are also many mountain bike trails and a few ATV trails, plus hidden sanctuaries. Don’t have a kayak or a mountain bike? Have no fear, Copper Harbor has it all — you can rent one when you get there.
Take a ride up to the top of Brockway Mountain and you can watch ships as they pass through the shipping channel on their way to their destination. While you are on top of the mountain, you can stick around and watch a beautiful sunset followed by dark night skies that are some of the best for viewing northern lights or constellations without any light pollution.
Copper Harbor is also bursting with wildlife. Local to the area are black bears, coyotes, grey wolves, otters, skunks, beaver, migratory birds, and cougars, just to name a few. Remember to bring your camera or your binoculars so you can witness these examples of nature’s true beauty.
Wild berries are quite abundant, as well. The Thimbleberry, which is native to the Great Lakes region, can be found on the sides of many roads and throughout the beautiful forests of the Keweenaw Peninsula. The local forests have many offerings such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and apple trees.
Rugged, yet beautiful, coastlines surround the Peninsula in which Copper Harbor is located. These areas are full of beautiful rocks, Agates, Thomsonite, and many other varieties for the rock hound, as well as many trails for the nature lover and bird watcher.
You can take a boat trip out to Isle Royale National Park or go on a sunset or lighthouse cruise, even a chartered fishing trip. The harbor is also home to an underwater reserve with shipwrecks for the adventurer who likes to scuba dive.
If you follow Highway 41 to where the pavement ends and continue driving further north, you will find many more adventures. Horseshoe Harbor, High Rock Harbor and Keystone are just a few of the places you can adventure to. Copper Harbor is also home to beautiful Lake Fanny Hooe. This gorgeous inland lake has a boat launch and a fishing dock as well as a few BBQ grills so you can have a picnic while fishing for the day.
Take a ride up to Lake Manganese and enjoy a quiet, peaceful day on a nice beach. You can see the waterfalls on the way or you can drive out to the old Clark Mine where there are some ruins left from the mining days.
Another hidden gem is the Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary, which is comprised of more than 500 acres dedicated to saving these awe-inspiring pine trees. It is home to some of the largest and oldest Great White Pine trees, some as tall as 125 feet and up to 500 years old. 85 different breeds of birds also call this forest home. Did you bring those binoculars we talked about?
If you are looking for fun and adventure, or just to relax with an amazing view, then Copper Harbor is your place to visit. Whether you get here by boat, car, or bike, there is always something fun to do in the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula.
Heikinpaiva Mid-Winter Festival
Michigan Tech University Winter Carnival
Antique Snowmobile Run-for-Fun
Great Bear Chase
Mount Bohemia’s Mardi Gras Madness
Clean Snowmobile Challenge
Keweenaw International Migratory Bird Festival
Ride The Keweenaw
Pine Mountain Music Festival
Yooper Sprint Triathlon
4th of July Celebrations
(We do it pretty big up here!)
International Guts Frisbee Tournament
Run the Keweenaw
End of the Road Keweenaw Tour Classic Car Show
Michigan Tech MTB Rendezvous
Copper Harbor Ladies Weekend
Battery D 1st Michigan Light Artillery Civil War Encampment
Annual Central Mine Reunion
Farm Block Fest
Keweenaw Mineral Days
Eagle Harbor Art Fair
Great Deer Chase
Art in the Park
Houghton County Fair
Bell’s Beer Copper Harbor Trails Festival
Mount Bohemia’s Trail Running Festival
Keweenaw Cup Cyclocross Races
Lake Superior Performance Rally
This article first appeared in the Launch Issue (May/Jun) 2018 of Great Lakes Scuttlebutt magazine.