Houghton - Eagle River - Copper Harbor

Share This

Michigan's fall colors come first to the trees of the Keweenaw Peninsula, the state's northernmost point. The crooked finger of land that juts into Lake Superior puts on its annual show from about mid-September to early October in a stunning display of reds, oranges and golds that blankets the hills and ridges and forms colorful tunnels on winding two-lane roads.

Best Enjoyed: Mid-September to Early October
Approximate Length: 100 miles

Begin your tour in Houghton and Hancock, the hometowns of Michigan Tech and Finlandia Universities. For a spectacular view of the two cities and surrounding, color-splashed countryside, take the Cog Rail Tram down the steep hill at the Quincy Mine in Hancock. The mine is open for tours and offers a glimpse of the mining history that gives the area its "Copper Country" moniker.

Head north on US-41, a state Historic Scenic Route where the curving roadway competes for a driver's full attention with the tree tunnels' canopy of color. The highway, which stretches from Florida to Michigan's Copper Harbor, winds through small mining communities and past the giant snow gauge, a thermometer that measures snowfall by the foot--a sign of the season to come. At the old mining town of Phoenix, the 1858 Church of the Assumption is open to visitors. This is where you'll turn west on M-26 to Eagle River, a picturesque village that was a booming port during copper's heyday. Just before you reach the town you can stop and take a short walk to see Eagle River Falls. The 1855 Eagle River Lighthouse is now a private residence, but just west of town the Sand Hills Lighthouse Inn welcomes overnight (adult) guests.

Continue on M-26 along the rocky Lake Superior shore; you'll find roadside picnic spots and scenic turnouts to absorb the beauty. The eight-mile stretch between Eagle River and Eagle Harbor, high along a sandy bluff, is known as the Sand Dune Drive. Just about three miles out of Eagle River watch for Jacob's Falls, visible from the road, and The Jampot, a bakery operated by monks, Brothers of the St. John Monastery.

In Eagle Harbor the brick lighthouse, which dates to 1871, is part of the Light Station Museum Complex and open to visitors.  Follow M-26 from Eagle Harbor to Copper Harbor for some of the most dramatic scenery in the state. The section known as Brockway Mountain Drive, the highest above sea-level drive between the Rockies and the Alleghenies, was a WPA project.  The 9.5 mile route is a designated Michigan Wildlife Viewing Area, and offers spectacular sunsets.

Copper Harbor, the state's most northern community, is the year 'round home to just a handful of hardy souls. But from May through fall color season you can find plenty of company, comfortable lodging, delicious meals, local art, warm hospitality and the scenic beauty of this remote and rugged spot.

Be sure to allow time for the narrated boat cruise to the 1866 Copper Harbor Lighthouse and Maritime Museum and 1848 lightkeeper's house.  Also memorable: a quiet walk through the virgin White Pines preserved at The Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary and a visit to Fort Wilkins State Park.

Catch US-41 out of Copper Harbor en route back to Houghton/Hancock. The Michigan Scenic Heritage Route, also called the Copper Country Trail, was recently designated a National Scenic Byway. The road will take you to the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge & Golf Course, another WPA project that dates to the Depression era when unemployment in the region was 85 percent.  The rustic lodge features a nine-hole course, fine dining, and sleeping in log structures with stone fireplaces.

Continuing south of Copper Harbor is the authentic Delaware Mine, which yielded eight million pounds of the metal between 1847-1887. The scenic route continues through wonderful forests and through the city of Calumet, which was the cultural and commercial center of the Keweenaw Copper Range. Take time to visit the restored Calumet Theater and the red sandstone buildings of the downtown business district.  This is the heart of the Keweenaw National Historic Park, which recognizes the importance of the mining history of this rugged and scenic region.

Quincy Mine Properties
49750 US Hwy 41
Hancock, MI 49930
Phone: (906) 482-3101
The Quincy Mine is located in the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Mining operations have been closed for many years, but the site is preserved as a cooperating site of the Keweenaw National Historical Park. We offer two options for touring the Quincy Mine Site. On both our Surface Tour and our Full Tour, you will tour the Museum(located in the 1894 No. 2 Hoist Building), the inside of the No. 2 Shaft House (which was built in 1908 to streamline processing of material brought up from the deep mine shaft), the Norderg Steam Hoist building (built in 1918, it houses the Nordberg Steam Hoist, the world's largest steam-powered hoist engine which made it possible to extend the No. 2 Mine Shaft 92 levels underground!), and you'll ride the Cog Rail Tram, which takes you down the steep hill that overlooks the Portage Lake Lift Bridge to the East Adit (mine entrance). On our full tour, you'll get off the tram car and ride by tractor-pulled wagon seven levels underground into the mine. You can wrap up your Quincy Mine Tour by stopping by our Gift Shop where you'll find items such as mining-related books, videos, copper gift items & jewelry, clothing, artwork by local artisans, plus many other mine-related souvenirs! We sometimes have limited hours in the winter holiday season, so call ahead for exact times.
The Phoenix Church and Museum
US 41
Phoenix, MI 49950
Phone: (906) 289-4990
Built in 1858 to serve the Catholic residents in the mining community of Cliff. The church was dismantled and reassembled in Phoenix in 1899. Masses were held until 1957. In 1985 the Keweenaw County Historical Society took over the property and began extensive repair and restoration work. The Church now appears much as it did when folks from another century knelt in prayer. Still used for weddings and memorial services. Open mid-May to early-October. There is no admission charge for this museum.
Eagle River Lighthouse
Eagle River, MI 49950
Phone: (906) 337-4579
Built in 1855 at the south end of the Eagle River. It is now a private residence.
Sand Hills Lighthouse Inn
Five Mile Point Road
Ahmeek, MI 49901
Phone: (906) 337-1744
Located on the Keweenaw Peninsula of the U.P. this romantic Victorian Inn has eight lovely rooms, all with private baths and is widely known for its warm gracious hospitality and gourmet breakfasts. The Inn is a totally smoke free, adult environment with no pets and has 3000 ft of private Lake Superior shoreline. We offer one daily lighthouse tour. Call for more information and time.
The Jampot
6559 State Hwy M26
Eagle Harbor, MI 49950
We are a Catholic Monastery of the Byzantine Rite located on the shores of Lake Superior and operate The Jampot as the principal work of our hands. The Jampot offers a wide selection of homemade jams, jellies and preserves and fresh bakery and fruitcakes. On line ordering is available. We are open from May to mid-October from 10 am to 5 pm Monday through Saturday.
Eagle Harbor Lighthouse and Museum
M 26 Lighthouse Drive
Eagle Harbor, MI 49950
Phone: (906) 337-1263
This light is located 32 miles northeast of Houghton and was built in 1851 as an octagonal brick tower with an attached dwelling. A fog signal building was added in 1895. It is still an active light and the keeper's dwelling is operated as a public museum. The Keweenaw County Historical Society operates a fascinating nautical and historical museum in the lighthouse and surrounding buildings. A Heritage Site of the Keweenaw National Historical Park.
Brockway Mountain Drive
Brockway Mountain
Copper Harbor, MI 49918
Toll Free: (800) 338-7982
Phone: (906) 337-4579
Located in Copper Harbor. Brockway offers you a 9 1/2 mile drive that is has breathtaking views of Lake Superior and thousands of acres of the Keweenaw. It is the highest above sea-level drive between the Rockies and the Alleghenies. It is designated as an official Michigan Wildlife Viewing Area. The biggest wildlife attraction here is the annual migration of birds-of-prey from mid-April to mid-June.
Copper Harbor Lighthouse and Tours
Fort Wilkins Historic State Park
Copper Harbor, MI 49921
Phone: (567) 344-2355
A narrated cruise through Copper Harbor's once bustling port takes you to one of Michigan's oldest lighthouses. Restored to its original 1866 beauty overlooking the majesty of Lake Superior, you are met by a staff member from the Michigan Dept. of History who will assist you through the interior complete with furnishings from the 1866 era. Please allow one and a half hours for the round-trip tour of the Lighthouse, new Maritime Museum, with easy walking paths leading to more historical artifacts and Michigan's first commercial copper mine site. Exhibits in the 1848 lightkeeper's dwelling show why the light tower was built, how the lights worked, who maintained the light and the overall context of the site. The 1866 lighthouse features exhibits that recreate the lives of keepers and their families during the early 20th century. Accessible only by ferry from the Copper Harbor Marina mid-May thru Mid October.
Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary
Manganese Road
Copper Harbor, MI 49918
Toll Free: (800) 338-7982
Phone: (906) 337-4579
The Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary is a 508 acre wilderness, hiking trails, you may see several of the 85 species of birds, 23 species of ferns, 13 types of native orchids, old mine workings, rock out-cropping along with virgin cedars. Cross country skiing and snowshoeing are available during winter months.
Fort Wilkins Historic State Park
15223 US-41 East
Copper Harbor, MI 49918
Reservations: (800) 447-2757
Phone: (906) 289-4215
Opened in 1844, Fort Wilkins was a U.S. Army post on the northern frontier on the Keweenaw Peninsula. Also located along the rugged Lake Superior shore is Copper Harbor Lighthouse, an 1866 lighthouse. A mini-cabin and two modern campgrounds located on Lake Fanny Hooe with 160 sites. A picnic shelter and playground are in the picnic area and there is a boat launch on Lake Fanny Hooe. Two miles of hiking/biking trails. One mile of groomed cross-country ski trail. Snowshoeing. A Heritage Site of the Keweenaw National Historical Park.
Keweenaw Mountain Lodge
14252 US 41
Copper Harbor, MI 49918
Phone: (906) 289-4403
Framed by mountain splendor in the Peninsula in Michigan's fabulous copper country. Main lodge has gracious dining room and cocktail lounge. Challenging 9-hole golf course. One bedroom duplex cabins, two and three bedroom individual cabins, all cabins have a fireplace and are located in a rustic setting. Our new Banquet/Conference Center is ideal for weddings, small conventions & business meetings. Surrounded by tens of thousands of acres of forest land.

Delaware Copper Mine
Copper Harbor, MI 49918
Phone: (906) 289-4688
Located 12 miles south of Copper Harbor, the Delaware Copper Mine dates from 1847-1887. Eight million pounds of copper were removed from the five shafts that reached a depth of 1,400 feet with ten levels. The tour takes you down shaft No. 1 to the first level. You'll see pure veins of copper exposed in the walls of the mine. Model train, rock & mineral and mining displays, antique engines, petting zoo and walking trails. Museum and gift shop at the mine site. Open daily June thru October. A Heritage Site of the Keweenaw National Historical Park.
Calumet Theatre
340 Sixth Street
Calumet, MI 49913
Phone: (906) 337-2610
We have been in continuous operation since 1900 and have hosted many artists including: Sarah Bernhardt, John Phillip Sousa, Maude Adams, Edwin Booth, Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Lillian Russell, among others. The theatre hosts 70 to 80 shows a year and is open to guided tours from June to October. Step backstage and see Sarah Bernhardt's dressing room. A Heritage Site of the Keweenaw National Historical Park. Guided tours available.
Keweenaw National Historical Park
98 Fifth Street
Calumet, MI 49913
Phone: (906) 483-3176
This park commemorates the heritage of Copper Mining on the Keweenaw Peninsula and it's mines, its machinery and its people, using 20 existing Heritage Sites located throughout the Keweenaw Peninsula. The Calumet Visitors Center in the historic Union Building is open to the public year round and has two floors of fully accessible interpretive exhibits.