The Keweenaw Peninsula is nationally known for its mountain bike trails, and some of the best are located in Keweenaw County in the Copper Harbor area. Snowmobile and ORV trails are an important driver for tourism, the county’s main industry. The county is also home to numerous short hiking trails in nature preserves of the Michigan Nature Association and other organizations. These provide for easy, quiet hikes through ecologically rich areas. Since most trails are arranged in a narrow corridor along Lake Superior and inland in the northern part of the county, trails are listed below in alphabetical order rather than by jurisdiction. In order to the trails listed below, certain historic sites have walking components – particularly the community of Eagle River which has a historic walking tour route.
Trails in Keweenaw County are listed and described below. This brief overview should be supplemented by additional information from the linked websites. Keweenaw County is characterized by short, shallow streams that are in a hurry to get to Lake Superior, so there are no notable inland water trails in the county.
- Black Creek Nature Sanctuary is a 4.5-mile round-trip with access to the Lake Superior shoreline and a variety of wildlife habitat. The sanctuary sits on 242 acres with 1500 feet of lake superior shoreline and contains multiple different landscapes including beaver dams and dunes.
- Brockway Mountain Audubon Sanctuary is located along the southern part of Brockway Mountain Drive and can be accessed by the somewhat difficult 0.5-mile Oren Krumm Trail.
- Central Mine and Village is a historic site of the Keweenaw County Historic Society with 0.25- and 0.5-mile forested hiking trails. The site is occupied by permanent residents to whom courtesy should be extended.
- Copper Harbor Trail System caters to all skill levels from novice to expert. Included in the network are 25 miles of designated singletrack mountain bike trails intertwined with trails and roadways accommodating other types of recreation. The scenic and highly technical mountain bike trails have the special designation of “Epic Ride” by the International Mountain Biking Association.
- Eagle Harbor Environs are composed of three sanctuaries accessed from the same 9-mile bush trail leading off Highway M-26 about a mile west of Eagle Harbor. The sanctuaries are Cy Clark Memorial, Dean Webster Memorial, and Eagle Harbor Red Pine Dunes.
- Eagle Harbor Recreation Area is composed of 900 acres of land adjacent to Eagle Harbor Environs in southwest Eagle Harbor Township. The tract includes an 10-mile system of marked non-motorized loop trails groomed for cross-country skiing. Two named lakes, some smaller water bodies, and creeks are included. The site is also accessible by snowmobile trail. The trailhead is located at the southwest corner of the community. A map is available here.
- Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary encompasses the last stand of old-growth pine trees in Michigan; the pines generally tower over 100 feet high. The sanctuary is located outside of Copper Harbor at the end of a dirt road that departs Highway U.S. 41/M-26 on the way to Fort Wilkins Historic State Park. Two hiking and cross-country ski loop trails in the sanctuary are 1.4 and 2.1 miles long.
- Fort Wilkins Historic State Park has a 4-mile trail for hiking and mountain biking; the trail is also groomed for cross-country skiing. The park contains campgrounds and rent-able overnight cabins. Another trail leads out of the park to the town of Copper Harbor.
- Gratiot Lake Nature Sanctuary has a moderately difficult 1.5-mile loop trail leading up to an overlook of the lake, along a ridge, and back again. The trail gradually increases in elevation by 400 feet to the overlook. Short spur trails lead to the lake gorge and Eister Falls. The main loop is a moderately difficult two-hour hike.
- Grinnell Memorial Nature Sanctuary north of Bete Gris is accessible by the Bare Bluff Trail, which passes along and provides great views of Lake Superior. The two-part trail includes a 3-mile loop, some of which is at high gradients. Bare bluff, the top of which is possible but difficult to access, rises nearly 600 feet above Lake Superior and is said to be the most prominent landmark on the southern shores of the Keweenaw. For detailed directions to the trail, click here.
- Holy Transfiguration Monastic Park is a peaceful natural area located off Eagle Harbor Road. The park can be accessed from a trailhead (marked with a cross) on the west side of the road 300 yards north of Jacob’s Creek. Three interconnected hiking trails total 2.5 miles in length. The trails access the creek and old mining buildings.
- Hunter’s Point Park has a lakefront trail around its perimeter. The two trailheads are located at Copper Harbor Marina and off North Coast Drive slightly to the west. Another 1.6-mile hiking trail accesses the Hunter’s Point trailheads from the Copper Harbor Visitor Center in town. The trails on hunter point weave through thick trees and bushes, and go in and out from the center of the peninsula to the shoreline. At some points, the north and the south shoreline are visible at the same time.
- Isle Royale National Park has 160 miles of hiking trails throughout the island. Though not shown on the map below, Isle Royale is a part of Keweenaw County that is located northwest of the mainland. A map of the island and its trail network is available in The Greenstone 2013 park guide.
- James Dorian Rooks Memorial Nature Sanctuary is accessed from a trailhead on the north side of Highway U.S. 41 0.5 miles south of Copper Harbor. The sanctuary’s trail is 2 miles roundtrip on a rolling landscape. If traveled at the right time of the year, the sanctuary is a great site to view many different species of wildflowers.
- James H. Klipfel Memorial Nature Sanctuary is at the top of Brockway Mountain and has an easy 1-mile loop trail beginning at the parking lot. The trail offers an outstanding view overlooking lake superior to the north.
- Keweenaw Shores Nature Sanctuary is a preserve along Lake Superior which can be accessed from a 0.75-mile trail beginning across from Esrey Park on Highway M-26 about 6 miles north of Eagle Harbor. The trail ends at Brockway Mountain Drive, but further hiking leads into the Upson Lake Nature Sanctuary. This trail is popular among photographers because it offers an unobstructed view of both the sunrise and sunset while also containing an array of multiple colored lichens covering the rocks on the shore.
- Lake Bailey Audubon Sanctuary is located off Highway M-26 just west of the west end of Brockway Mountain Drive. A somewhat difficult two-mile loop trail is located there. The trail rises about 200 feet and gives an overlook view of the Silver River drainage to the southeast. The sanctuary is a great place to view wildflowers blooming in the spring along with 4 endangered species.
- Mary Macdonald Preserve at Horseshoe Harbor is 1,433 acres in area and may be experienced from a hiking trail beginning at a dirt road leading off the end of Highway U.S. 41 outside of Copper Harbor. The trailhead is marked. The trail is 1.6 miles roundtrip and allows you to appreciate one of the few rare ecosystems that the U.P. contains. This ecosystem holds 3 endangered species and 11 rare and threatened species of plants in Michigan.
- Nicole Bloom Memorial Trail at the Helmut and Candis Stern Preserve at Mt. Baldy provides access to the 730-foot-tall hill via a steep and strenuous 3-mile trail. The trail is accessed by another 1.6-mile trail from a parking lot on Eagle Harbor Cutoff Road.
- Redwyn Dunes Nature Sanctuary is located across Highway M-26 from Great Sand Bay about midway between Eagle River and Eagle Harbor. The sanctuary can be experienced from an easy 1.3-mile loop trail which shows off the varied terrains along with 2 inland dune ponds.
- Upson Lake Nature Sanctuary is located adjacent to Keweenaw Shores sanctuary and is traversed by a two-mile loop hiking trail. Its also a great place for canoeing, kayaking, and bird watching.
A variety of other trail resources, including maps, trail conditions, and an event listing, are available at the Keweenaw Trails website. Another source for some of the detailed descriptions is “Walking Paths & Protected Areas of the Keweenaw” by the Michigan Nature Association.
Click here or on the map below for a printable PDF map and land-based trail information table.
Due to the small scale and level of detail in the map, we recommend using Adobe Reader version X (10) or higher to print in tile format or to print a selected area of the map.