Do you prefer good ol’ fashioned “paddle power” as your main mode of transportation for exploring new water? The Keweenaw Peninsula has all of the bases covered, whether you desire calm water, big open water or whitewater paddling. There are truly too many options to list, but here are a few that will get you started.
Keweenaw Water Trail
The truly adventurous paddler can circumnavigate the entire peninsula, camping along the rugged shoreline or stopping in one of the several picturesque small towns along the way. This trail gets rave reviews for its access and rest points and has few rivals for true, natural beauty. Northwinds Adventures can be your base to explore sections of the trail and can arrange drop-off and pick-up after a rewarding day trip.
Bete Grise Preserve
Bete Grise Preserve is a 1500+ acre tract of land on the Keweenaw Peninsula’s east coast. When the winds are from the west, this area provides a wonderful protected paddling opportunity on Lake Superior. With over a mile of beaches, the preserve is perfect for that shore picnic and provides many trails as well as a diverse marshland for you to explore!
Gratiot River is a good option for whitewater paddling. The river provides stretches of class II and III whitewater and enough distance to make this a good day trip option. The Gratiot River County Park, located on Lake Superior, offers over 200 acres and 8,000+ feet of Lake Superior Shoreline. This park provides a terrific destination for beach walks, picnics and beachcombing.
These websites highlight many outdoor activities and destinations and are an excellent resource for trip planning in the Keweenaw:
Enjoy the solace of nature while you fish? There are beautiful and serene areas where the fish are plenty. Check out some options below.
The Keweenaw Peninsula is intersected by the Portage Canal. This waterway is used by commercial and pleasure boaters to get from one side of the Keweenaw Peninsula to the other on largely protected and calm water. This eliminates many miles of open water travel around the peninsula in the sometimes unforgiving Lake Superior. Between Houghton and Chassell, the canal opens up to the 12,000 acres of water known as Portage and Torch Lakes. Year-round fishing opportunities abound for everything from panfish, walleyes, and northern to salmon and trout—the lake truly provides a variety of opportunities. Choose to explore this water on your own or hire a local charter guide to put you on the fish.
Known for its large northerns and walleyes, Gratiot Lake may be the ticket for that big one for the wall! Open water and ice fishing both offer opportunities to land a trophy. A decent smallmouth bass fishery and perch also provide action for anglers exploring the lake’s 1400+ acres.
Lac La Belle
With over 1,100 acres and connected to Lake Superior via the east side of the Keweenaw Peninsula, Lac La Belle is one of the most beautiful lakes in the Keweenaw. Walleyes, northerns and smallmouths are plentiful. With its connection to Lake Superior via a ship canal, Lac La Belle offers trout, salmon and many other potential surprises!
Copper Harbor Splake
Copper Harbor resides at the end of Highway 41, at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula. This is some of the most spectacularly beautiful country you will ever find, and the harbor itself is breathtaking. The crystal clear waters of the harbor are home to great numbers of Lake Superior Splake. This is a hybrid of a Brook Trout and a Lake Trout, and although they do not naturally reproduce, the DNR continues a stocking program to keep them plentiful. Don’t let that deter you, though! They regularly grow beyond 20″, are a blast on light tackle and taste wonderful! When they are in full “spawning color” (they don’t actually spawn), their beauty is matched locally only by natural Brook Trout.
Whether it is the steelhead run, chasing brook trout or browns or even fishing for various warm-water species, there are lots of opportunities to explore the local rivers and streams in and around the Keweenaw Peninsula. Pick an access point and explore!
From ATVs to snowmobiles, there are trails all around Northwinds Adventures, perfect motorsports enthusiasts!
Bill Nichols Trail
The Bill Nichols Trail is 40+ miles and stretches from Houghton to Mass City. The Northwinds Adventures property lies about 2.3 miles from one of the many trailheads, and it is legal to use the roads with your ATV or snowmobile to get from Northwinds to the trail. Consult the Michigan ORV regs for registration requirements and trail rules. This trail has a number of unique features, including scenic overlooks of the Houghton Canal, ruins of old copper mines and some breathtaking views from bridge crossings over the Firesteel River.
Other ATV & Snowmobile Trails & Unmarked Logging Roads
There is plenty of wild land to discover and explore in the Keweenaw Peninsula via snowmobile, ATV or 4×4. Countless backroads and logging roads crisscross the landscape both north of Houghton towards Copper Harbor and west of Houghton towards Ontonagan and the Porcupine Mountains. Pack a cooler, some recovery gear and a basic emergency kit, and set off in any direction to explore the wilds of the Keweenaw!
Hiking opportunities are numerous in the Copper Country, and there are options that truly suit people of all skill levels; from easy, wheel-chair accessible paths to strenuous paths bordering on actual rock climbing.
Hiking opportunities are numerous in the Copper Country, and there are options that truly suit people of all skill levels; from easy, wheel-chair accessible paths to strenuous paths bordering on actual rock climbing. With little more than comfy shoes, a couple of bottles of water and a local map, you can explore some of the area’s short, easy hikes. Looking for something a little more challenging? You’ll need sturdy boots, extra water and snacks as well as a compass, map, first aid kit and sense of adventure! No matter where you are exploring, it is always a good idea to let someone know where you will be going and when you plan to be back.
Easy Keweenaw Hikes: Close to parking, possibly paved, not much incline, usually short
- Agate Falls
- Bond Falls
- Houghton Waterfront Trail
- Nara Nature Trail
- Bear Lake Trail in McLain State Park
Moderate to Difficult Keweenaw Hikes: Possibly long, rugged terrain, steeper inclines, more difficult access
- Alligator Eye
- Cathedral and Memorial Loop Trails
- Greenstone Ridge and Rock Harbor
- Lake Bailey Wildlife Sanctuary