A Fall Color Tour in the Keweenaw Peninsula

When fall in Michigan arrives, there’s no better place to be to see the dynamic colors of a trillion trees!

Today Jesse Land, founder of Things to do in the U.P., a website dedicated to helping people discover the best of the Upper Peninsula, fills us in on his recommendations for taking a fall color tour around one of the U.P.’s most cherished areas – the Keweenaw Peninsula.

Stay tuned for additional fall color tour ideas from Jesse throughout the season!

When I recently polled my Things to in the U.P. Facebook fans about their favorite place for an Upper Peninsula fall color tour, most of them referenced someplace in the Keweenaw Peninsula. I have to agree with them.

There’s just something magical about the Keweenaw and the crisp air and colorful leaves of autumn seem to kick the magic up a notch.

What follows is my personal recommendation for an awesome Keweenaw fall color tour day trip. I’ll actually be doing this exact trip myself in a few weeks!

I recommend starting your day in the town of Houghton where you can catch a glimpse into the rich history of the Keweenaw’s mining culture via a tour of the Quincy Mine.

From there, head north on U.S. 41 to Calumet and try to avoid having lunch at the Michigan House Café, not because it isn’t awesome (it is) but because today I’m sending you to my “secret” beachfront dining spot right smack on the shore of Lake Superior.

Take in the historic downtown buildings of Calumet like the Calumet Theater. If you’re into art, stop into one of Calumet’s many art galleries, and be sure to crab a coffee or ice cream at the very cool converted train depot 5th & Elm before continuing north on U.S. 41.

About thirteen miles north of Calumet, follow M-26 into Eagle River. Visit Eagle River Falls as you come into town and then make your way to your beachfront lunch spot. I’m sending you to Fitzgerald’s, easily one of the best restaurants in the Upper Peninsula, and very likely all of Michigan.

The food and service at Fitzgerald’s are consistently excellent, and the views of Lake Superior from every table are awesome.

After lunch, stretch your legs with a walk on the sandy beach right in front of Fitzgerald’s, then hop in your car and head north again on M-26. You’re only going to go a few miles, though, because no trip to the Keweenaw is complete without a stop at The Jampot! And since it’s only a few feet away, stop at Jacob’s Falls for a photo opp.

Okay, here’s where we kick the “color tour” into overdrive. The stretch of M-26 north of The Jampot is curvy and wooded, thick with vibrant colors to the east and views of Lake Superior to the west.

And though M-26 continues on all the way to Copper Harbor, be sure not to miss the turn to Brockway Mountain drive. This little road winds up 720 feet to the top of Brockway Mountain, where on a clear day you can see for miles! The view from the top of “Brockway” is one of the best in the U.P.

Now, with Brockway Mountain under your belt, continue down Brockway Mountain drive into the quaint but oh so cool village of Copper Harbor to peruse the shops and see the sights. If you’re a history buff, check out Fort Wilkins Historic State Park while you’re there. I’d also recommend popping into the Keweenaw Adventure Company. You may not have time for an adventurous excursion on this day trip, but make a note of it for next time because you can’t beat this place for a guided kayaking or mountain biking trip!

From Copper Harbor, follow a freshly paved and fun to drive section of U.S. 41 south through the “tunnel of trees” back down to the Mt. Bohemia ski area, where for $8/person you’ll be able to ride the ski lift up the hill and take in yet another spectacular view of the surrounding area.

Congratulations! You’ve now seen enough of the Keweenaw to know you need to plan another trip! Stop at the Keweenaw Convention Center and Visitor’s Bureau in Calumet as you head south to pick up some maps and brochures for next time!

Jesse Land is the founder of Things to do in the U.P., a website dedicated to helping people discover the best of the Upper Peninsula. For regular Upper Peninsula travel tips, follow Things to do in the U.P. on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/thingstodointheup.

U.P. Road Trip in the Fall

Special thanks to Michael Trudeau for taking us along for a road trip through the U.P. The fall is a great time to get out and enjoy the sights our state has to offer. Read more with Pure Michigan Connect!

With the Mackinac Bridge shrinking in my rear view mirror, I headed west on route 2 full of excitement and wonder for what I would encounter in the next four days. I was really astonished with the Keweenaw Peninsula for it seemed to come to life for me during my visit. Houghton and Hancock were bustling with vitality and they appeared to exist within their own little world without a care of what was happening elsewhere. Calumet welcomed me as if to say, “We were waiting for you.” The people of Calumet knew they lived in a very special place and took great pleasure in sharing their own unique perspective of what Calumet is to them.

Continue reading