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.

Snag a Slice of Heaven at The Jampot

Photo Credit - Jesse Land

Wooden sign directing visitors to the store

Thank you to Jesse Land for sharing his story of a trip to Keweenaw’s Jampot! We know this destination will make it to many people’s must-visit lists!

My wife and I had each heard raves about the Jampot prior to our trip to the Keweenaw, but no one we spoke to could remember exactly where it was or what it was called. And we’d heard that monks ran the place. Monks! That right there made us want to check it out, because monks are inherently cool.

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An Ultimate Silent Sports Weekend

 

The bar area of the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge in Copper Harbor Michigan in winter.

Keweenaw Mountain Lodge

Aaron Peterson, a Michigan Travel Ideas contributing photographer, revels in the snow by enjoying a day of cross country skiing in Michigan along with other fun winter activities at Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, open for its winter season the second time in more than 75 years.

The Keweenaw Peninsula has always had a magnetic pull on me. Even though I’ve lived in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for 10 years, whenever a long weekend rolls around my thoughts swing north like a compass needle to that 50-mile spine of land slicing into Lake Superior. Once north of Houghton, it seems as if every mile up the Keweenaw takes you further back in time to a lost vacation kingdom. The faded former mining towns get smaller. The tree-lined roads get narrower. The snow gets deeper.

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