Ironwood - Silver City - Wakefield
1. Ottawa National Forest
Ironwood, MI 49938
The almost one million acres of the Ottawa National Forest are located in the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It extends from the south shore of Lake Superior down to Wisconsin and the Nicolet National Forest. The area is rich in wildlife viewing opportunities; topography in the northern portion is the most dramatic with breathtaking views of rolling hills dotted with lakes, rivers and spectacular waterfalls.
2. Copper Peak Ski Flying
N13870 Copper Peak Road
PO Box 159
Ironwood, MI 49938
International ski flying hill and recreation complex... located near the major ski areas of western Upper Michigan, within the Ottawa National Forest and along the North Country National Scenic Trail. The only ski-flying hill in the Northern Hemisphere, it is located on Black River Road. Chairlift and elevator rides are available on weekends through the fall color season. We have a gift shop and museum on site, hiking and mountain biking trails. Open on Memorial Day 2008.
3. Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park (Porkies)
33303 Headquarters Road
Ontonagon, MI 49953
Three miles west of Silver City on M-107. Towering virgin timber, secluded lakes and miles of wild rivers and streams in 60,000 acres. Modern and rustic camping, rustic cabins, yurts and Kaug Wudjoo Lodge. Camp on the shore of Lake Superior and enjoy sunsets from your site. 90 miles of foot trails. The Park is the home of the Porcupine Mountains Ski Area with a 640' vertical drop, long tree-lined runs and great views. Alpine ski area, 42km of power tilled, double track set cross-country ski trails, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. The North Country Trail includes 23 miles within the state park and also mountain biking trails. Visitor Center. Chalet offers ski and snowboard rentals, pro shop and cafeteria. Canoe, kayak rentals. Enjoy scenic vistas, waterfalls, old growth forest. The entire park is open to hunting during established seasons with a few exceptions. It is designated as an official Michigan Wildlife Viewing Area.
4. Gogebic Ridge Hiking Trail
Forest Road 250
Bergland, MI 49910
Phone: (906) 884-2411
This 8-mile linear hiking trail is a great reason to leave the sidewalks and pavement behind. The trail begins along Weary Lake, then pauses at a rock ledge overlooking Lake Gogebic. It bends and winds through rolling hills of mixed hardwood and conifer trees before intersecting the North Country National Scenic Trail. Excellent probability of seeing many kinds of songbirds, including, vireos, thrushes, winter wrens, and ovenbirds. Portions of this area are open to public hunting. Contact the Michigan Dept of Natural Resources for affected seasons and locations.
5. Lake Gogebic State Park
N9995 State Hwy M-64
Mareniseo, MI 49947
Lake Gogebic State Park is a wooded park set on the shore of lake Gogebic. The campground has 127 sites of which 1/4 are on the shore line. There are 2 toilet/shower buildings. There are also 3 pull through sites. A gift shop, ice, wood, and public phone are available at the campground office. The day use area has a boat launch, picnic shelter, bathrooms, playground equipment and a swimming beach. There is also a campground host at the park as well as helpful staff. The park is centrally located to many local attractions and only 30 minutes from the Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park.
This Western Upper Peninsula fall driving tour includes breathtaking vistas, country roads, waterfalls and a chance to walk on the Lake Superior shore. With ninety percent of the area forest covered, you are sure to be engulfed by a sea of reds, oranges, golds, and greens that tint the countryside from mid-September to early October. The colors outlined by the mountains, bluffs, and lakes form woodland rainbows around every bend.
Best Enjoyed: Mid-September to Early October
Approximate Length: 100 miles
To start your tour, head east out of Ironwood on U.S. 2 towards the Ottawa National Forest. For a beautiful side trip, take 513 north out of Bessemer to the Black River Parkway, an 11.5-mile paved route that winds through hardwood forests and past numerous waterfalls to a historic harbor on Lake Superior. Be sure to stop at Copper Peak, a ski flying hill. From the observation deck, nearly 1882 feet above sea level and 1180 feet above Lake Superior, the view is breathtaking.
After returning from the Black River Parkway, continue east on U.S. 2 to Wakefield. At Wakefield take County Road 519, to the beautiful Porcupine Mountains on Lake Superior. Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park's 60,000 acres are one of the few remaining large wilderness areas in the Midwest. Towering virgin timber, secluded lakes, and miles of wild rivers and streams make a visit to the "Porkies" a trip to remember. High summits and rocky outcrops treat visitors to panoramic views of crystal blue lakes, forested river valleys and distant mountain peaks.
Continue east to Silver City and then south on M-64 to Bergland. Bergland sits on the northern tip of the Upper Peninsula's largest lake, Lake Gogebic, which runs 18 miles long and 3 miles wide. Want to stretch your legs? Explore Gogebic Ridge Hiking Trail, an 8-mile linear hiking trail that bends and winds through rolling hills of mixed hardwood and conifer trees.
Follow M-64 south as it runs along the western shore of Lake Gogebic. Stop at Lake Gogebic State Park which covers 360 acres and nearly a mile of lake frontage on the west shore of the lake. Recreational opportunities include fishing, boating, picnicking and hiking.
Complete your tour by continuing south on M-64 to U.S. 2 and then back west to Ironwood.