I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! The weather here has been absolutely beautiful as it feels like summer has finally started. The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and a warm breeze sweeps by as it seems like residents have awoken from hibernation and are finally getting to spend time outside. With this gorgeous weather finally here, everyone in the community is out and about, whether they’re cycling, running, walking, rollerblading, hiking or swimming! There’s plenty to do in the Keweenaw during the summer months, and this will be the first of multiple installments describing some of the exciting activities in which students and community members alike can participate.
This week I’d like to talk about different areas to hike in the Keweenaw. Hiking is a big part of the culture here during the summer. There is so much nature, forests, and undeveloped land that it’s close to impossible not to find a gripping area to explore! Many tourists come from all over the country to visit the Keweenaw during the summer and explore the forests and natural wonders. Below, I’ve outlined a handful of some of trails to hike. A full list of trails can be found at the Keweenaw Convention and Visitors Bureau website.
Copper Country Trails
1.) Twin Lakes Nature Trail
The Twin Lakes Nature Trail is located in the Twin Lakes State Park in Twin Lakes. There are 1.25 miles of hiking trails that run through the original Military Road connecting Green Bay, to Fort Wilkins in Copper Harbor. The terrain is flat and easy to hike. A Michigan Recreation Passport is required for entrance into the park.
2.) Tech Trails
The Michigan Tech Trails are located across from the Student Development Complex and houses 35 km of trails and a variety of terrain for hikers of all levels. The trails range from easy to difficult, wind around the southern boundary of Houghton, and lead into the Houghton-Portage Township School Forest. These are great trails for your students to explore because they are free for students and really convenient to visit.
3.) Marsin Preserve
The Marsin Preserve is owned by the Keweenaw Land Trust and is located on the Houghton Canal. The sanctuary was designed to make natural land open to the public to explore and enjoy the outdoors. There is both a preserve and a 0.75 mile hiking trail that includes forested and shrubby areas, wet meadows, and a plethora of wildlife and waterfowl to observe.
4.) Black Creek Nature Sanctuary
The Black Creek Nature Sanctuary is a Michigan Nature Association Sanctuary that includes 241 acres of land and 1,500 feet of Lake Superior Shoreline. Located in Calumet, the terrain on the trail is moderately difficult, as it includes sloping geography. The views of Lake Superior, beaver ponds, and stark trees make this a beautiful trail to visit.
Keweenaw Peninsula Trails
1.) Gratiot Lake Overlook Sanctuary
The Gratiot Lake Overlook Sanctuary includes 100 acres of Michigan Nature Association Sanctuary and one mile of nature trails. The terrain is moderately strenuous and includes a gentle 400-foot climb. This beautiful trail includes a panoramic view of Gratiot Lake from a high bluff as well as gorgeous views of a waterfall on Eister Creek.
2.) Central Mine and Village
The Central Mine site houses two hiking trails (one is .25 miles long and the other is .5 miles long). Sponsored by the Keweenaw Historic Society, these trails explore the woods and the historic site of the Central Mine which operated from 1854 to 1898. The Central Mine and Village is especially unique because it explores wooded areas as well as a historic site within its trails.
3.) Redwyn Dunes Nature Sanctuary
The Redwyn Dunes Nature Sanctuary is a unique one-mile hiking trail that weaves around sand dunes, dune ponds, and wooded areas in Eagle River. A wide variety of waterfowl can be observed in the sanctuary. The terrain is gentle and is an enjoyable hike for all.
4.) Lake Bailey Audubon Sanctuary
The Lake Bailey Audubon Sanctuary near Eagle Harbor houses two miles of hiking trails that weave through thick, dense woods. It’s a beautiful hike for tree and plant enthusiasts, as many of the wildlife species here are rare or threatened.
5.) Keweenaw Shore/Upson Lake Nature Sanctuary
Starting at the Keweenaw Shore Nature Sanctuary, this beautiful two mile hike takes hikers across unique Keweenaw geology and a wide variety of wildlife habitats. It is the only hiking trail in the Keweenaw that is not a loop. It ends at the Upson Lake Nature Sanctuary in Eagle Harbor, which also gives rise to beautiful and bountiful wildlife.
6.) Estivant Pines
Estivant Pines Wilderness Nature Sanctuary in Copper Harbor is a beautiful woodland that houses more than 510 acres of hardwood and eastern white pine trees. This Nature Sanctuary offers three interspersed looped trails of one mile, 1.2 miles, and 2.5 miles of robust, rugged terrain. These lustrous trails are open year round to for hiking, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing.
7.) Grinnell Memorial Nature Sanctuary
This most beautiful and challenging hike to Bare Bluff in Bete Gris is one of the most phenomenal sites in the Keweenaw. This three mile hike is at a high difficulty level, and it’s advised to allow three hours for the trip. The top of Grinnell Memorial Nature Sanctuary overlooks the southeast view of the Keweenaw Peninsula in a stunning view of Lake Superior and the surrounding areas of the Keweenaw. This is truly one of the most beautiful popular spots in the area.
8.) James Dorian Rooks Nature Sanctuary
Formerly known as the Brockway Mountain Nature Sanctuary, the James Dorian Rooks Nature Sanctuary is a beautiful trail of ridges and crags that overlooks Lake Superior. Located near Copper Harbor, these trails give a breathtaking view of the Keweenaw.
For more information on hiking trails in the Keweenaw, please visit the Keweenaw Convention and Visitors Bureau website.
As you can see, there are many trails with a variety of difficulty levels to hike in the Keweenaw Peninsula. I highly encourage your students to visit some of these wonderful trails, if they haven’t already explored them! The unparalleled beauty of the nature in the UP isn’t something to pass up, and as you can see, there are plenty of opportunities to explore some of the wonderful nature reserves and wildlife in the area!
That’s all for this week. If you have any questions about the trails mentioned in this article, or would like to learn more about a specific topic, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the mean time, enjoy the beautiful weather outside, and I hope you get to explore some your own hiking trails in your hometown! Until next week!