One Tank Trip - Western Upper Peninsula
The largest city in the U.P. is Marquette, home to Northern Michigan University. A variety of museums celebrate the area’s maritime and Native American legacies including Marquette Maritime Museum and Lighthouse and Marquette Regional History Center. Marquette’s iron ore history is told by Iron Ore Heritage Trail and its iconic iron ore docks. Outdoor adventures include hiking, biking, kayaking, hunting, fishing, camping and surfing. The downtown district, with its distinct red sandstone architecture, mixes historic with urban chic with its shopping, dining and breweries.
Escanaba offers so much more than moonlight. Travel through the northern hardwoods and conifers of Hiawatha National Forest. Cast your rod in hopes of catching some of the country's best walleye, bass and salmon. Walk the shorelines of Bays de Noc's three peninsulas which boast more freshwater coastline than any other county in the country. Relive the area's iron smelting past at Fayette Historical Townsite. Stroll the midway at Upper Peninsula State Fair. Shop along the two-mile long historic downtown area. Sample a Yooper Bar at the Upper Peninsula's largest confectionary. Dine at unique family-owned restaurants serving the best in locally-sourced dishes.
Ironwood is the center of the “Wilds of Michigan.” As part of the Gogebic Iron Range, it offers thousands of acres of public forest land, miles and miles of trails and hundreds of inland lakes, numerous rivers and streams. The Ottawa National Forest is “Waterfall Country;” follow the map to dozens of majestic falls. But there’s more than just natural beauty. Be fitted for a legendary wool Stormy Kromer cap and tour their factory. Take a photo next to the Hiawatha Statue, the “Tallest Indian in the World.” See what’s playing at the former vaudeville and silent movie palace Ironwood Theater. Ride an 18-story elevator and, if you’re fearless, walk an additional eight stories to imagine the adrenalin rush of ski flyers barreling down Copper Peak, the only ski flying hill in the Western Hemisphere.
Houghton is the gateway to the Keweenaw Peninsula and the rugged beauty of Copper Country. Michigan Technological University houses A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum, those collection includes a Guinness World Record copper specimen. Neighboring Hancock is home to Finlandia University, the only university in North America founded by Finnish immigrants. Tour Quincy Mine and walk down one of its underground shafts.
Did you know Keweenaw Peninsula was home to one of our nation's first mineral rushes? Prospectors seeking copper traveled to Calumet, now headquarters to Keweenaw National Historical Park which shares their stories. Stop and tour Calumet Theater, a National Historic Landmark, which brought American theater to the region in 1900.
Travel north on the Copper Country Trail toward Copper Harbor. A must-stop is Eagle Harbor’s The Jampot, featuring signature thimbleberry jam, jellies, fruitcake and baked goods home-made by Catholic monks. Watch the spectacular panoramic sunset from Brockway Mountain Drive. Cruise Lake Superior on a Copper Harbor Lighthouse Boat Tour. Isle Royale National Park is a unique biosphere. The country’s only island national park, its protected plants, moose, wolves, loons, eagles and other wildlife flourish among stunning scenic beauty. For a satisfying backcountry experience on the mainland head to Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, a 65,000-acre escape to a world of old growth forest with 90 miles of hiking trails, waterfalls and rapids to challenge paddlers.