‘Gateway to the Keweenaw’

HOUGHTON/HANCOCK — A peninsula within a peninsula, Copper Country offers travelers unique and exciting experiences year-round.

With countless opportunities for outdoor recreation, breathtaking views of Lake Superior and many chances to experience the rich culture and history of the region, it’s truly unparalleled, said Tara Arens, support specialist at the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce.

“What I believe sets the Copper Country apart from the rest of the U.P. is the endless things to do,” Arens said. “We have four seasons and with every season there is always something to look forward to, including annual seasonal events, and of course, all of the outdoor activities Mother Nature has to offer.”

One of the many stops on the way to the tip of the Keweenaw is Houghton, home to Michigan Technological University.

With a bustling arts and cultural scene, plenty of seasonal events for all ages and access to the great outdoors, Houghton — the “Gateway to the Keweenaw” — is as much as a destination as it is a thoroughfare.

In the summer months, tourists and locals alike enjoy all the area has to offer. From charter fishing trips to paddling adventures to a simple day at the beach, plenty of time is spent on or near water.

Brian Donnelly, president of the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors, said one of the things he loves most about the Keweenaw Peninsula is the diversity of water bodies, as well as the ease of access to them.

“Like the rest of the U.P., we have miles of Great Lakes shoreline, and scores of inland lakes and rivers,” said Donnelly. “But we also have the Portage Canal, which is warmer and calmer than the big lake, but large enough for people to engage in every water sport under the sun without ever feeling crowded.”

For those looking to take their water adventures even further, a ferry carries visitors from Houghton to Isle Royal National Park, where they can boat, canoe, kayak, scuba dive, fish, hike and backpack.

The island offers 165 miles of trails, 36 campgrounds, 51 miles of canoe routes, 10 major shipwrecks and more than 336 miles of scenic Lake Superior shoreline.

Restaurants, bars, shops and pieces of the area’s history can be found overlooking the iconic blue Portage Lake Lift Bridge, which connects Houghton to its sister-city to the north, Hancock.

In Hancock, travelers are able to dig into the area’s rich copper mining history with a visit to the Quincy Mine, which was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989.

The Quincy Mine Underground Mine Tours, Museum, Tram Ride, Gift Shop tells some of the history of the area. In 1843, six years before the California Gold Rush, prospectors came to the Keweenaw not for gold, but for copper. In 1848, the Quincy Mining Company was established and became the second largest mine in the Lake Superior region by the late 1880s.

Modern visitors can explore a 2,400-foot section of the Quincy Mine at the seventh level to see what life was like for mine workers, and tour the 1918 Hoist house, which contains the World’s Largest Steam hoist.

For more information, visit www.keweenaw,org.