FAQ

General:

What timezone is Copper Harbor in?

Copper Harbor is on EASTERN STANDARD TIME.

What are your shop hours?

Summer (Memorial Day weekend-Aug.28th): 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. (Mon. – Sat.) & 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. (Sun.)

Late Summer (Aug. 29th- Sept. 5th): 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Mon. – Thurs.) & 9 a.m – 7 p.m. (Fri./Sat./Sun.)

LABOR DAY/TRAILS FEST WEEKEND: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. (Fri./Sat.), 9 a.m. – noon (Sun.) & 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. (Mon.)

Fall (Sept. 8th – Oct. 16th/LAST DAY): 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Mon.- Fri.) & 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Sat. – Sun.)

NOTE: We will be CLOSED from Sept. 13th-15th.

*Hours are subject-to-change slightly depending on what the weather dictates… please call ahead of

time if you are reliant upon us being open.*

Do I need reservations for a tour or rental?

All tours and rentals require a reservation at least 24 hours in advance to guarantee availability, with full payment required to confirm. NOTE: We will try to accommodate reservations made less than 24 hours in advance, depending on availability of equipment and guides, if applicable.

Can I cancel or reschedule my tour or lesson?

Payments are refundable, less a 15% cancellation fee any time prior to 24 hours of the scheduled tour or lesson. No refunds for cancellations made less than 24 hours of the scheduled tour or lesson. All sea kayak tours are subject to rescheduling, alternate destinations or cancellations due to wind, wave or other unfavorable weather conditions. While we will try to reschedule, full payments will be refunded in the event of tour cancellations due to unfavorable paddling conditions. NOTE: Rain, fog or cool weather does not necessarily cancel a kayak trip. Customers often find paddling in the rain more enjoyable then they thought, since they are well protected from the elements by the kayak, spray skirt, wetsuit, lifejacket, rain jacket and hat and generate body heat as they paddle. We will not venture out in a heavy down pour or if thunderstorms are present. 

Can I cancel or reschedule my rental?

Bike, Canoes, SUPs and Sit-on-Top Kayak Rentals: Payments are refundable, less a 15% cancellation fee any time prior to 24 hours of the scheduled tour. No refunds for cancellations made less than 24 hours of the scheduled tour. Sea Kayak Rentals: Payments are refundable, less a 15% cancellation fee any time prior to 72 hours of the scheduled rental. A 50% cancellation fee applies if made less than 72 hours of the scheduled rental.

What if the weather is bad?

SEA KAYAKING: All sea kayak tours are subject to rescheduling, alternate destinations or cancellations due to wind, wave or other unfavorable weather conditions.

While we will try to reschedule, full payments will be refunded in the event of tour cancellations due to unfavorable paddling conditions. NOTE: Rain, fog or cool weather does not necessarily cancel a kayak trip. Customers often find paddling in the rain more enjoyable then they thought, since they are well protected from the elements by the kayak, spray skirt, wetsuit, lifejacket, rain jacket and hat and generate body heat as they paddle. We will not venture out in a heavy down pour or if thunderstorms are present.

BIKING: While we will try to reschedule, full payments will be refunded in the event of rental cancellations due to unsafe riding conditions, such as thunder/lightening/downpour. NOTE: Rain, fog or cool weather does not necessarily cancel a rental. The trails can be riden in the rain, with excellent drainage and erosion control. 

When is “black-fly season?”

Mid-to-late June and early July the bugs are not the best… That being said, when paddling out on the water or riding through the woods, the bugs have a hard time keeping up with you when you’re moving about!

What type of training/certifications does your staff have?

All of our Sea Kayak guides have taken the Instructional Development Workshop through the American Canoe Association for coastal sea kayaking.

Our senior kayak guides and overnight trip leaders have completed the Instructional Certification Exam for coastal sea kayaking.

All of our guides (kayak and mountain bike) either possess a valid Wilderness First Aid (WFA) certification or a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification.

Several of our staff have degrees in Outdoor Recreation and Management.

At the beginning of each season employees undergo company staff training, 1-3 days in duration depending on their position, to prepare for the season.

Sea Kayaking:

Is there an age or weight limit for sea kayaking?

Age:

  • For our 2 hour, Porter’s Island/Sunset Paddle, there is no age limit, but participants must meet minimum weight limit of 80lbs and a maximum of 280lbs.
  • For our Half-Day Tours, Full-Day Tours and Overnight Trips youth must be a minimum of 12 years old.
  • Additionally, youth 15 years and younger are required to paddle in a tandem kayak for all our tours. NOTE: Youth rates are priced to reflect this requirement.

Weight:

  • There is a minimum of 80lbs and a maximum of 280lbs.
What do I bring sea kayaking?

To ensure your sea kayak adventure is a good experience, we suggest that you bring the items listed below with you. NOTE: Wetsuits will be provided, and use is mandatory because of Lake Superior’s cold water and we provide them for all of our clients.

  • A synthetic top such as polyester, polypropylene or capaline. Fleece is great for cooler days or evenings. These materials are highly recommended to wear underneath your wetsuit as they dry quickly and have an insulating value even if they get wet. Cotton should be avoided.
  • Shorts or a swimsuit that a wetsuit can be slipped over.
  • Water-shoes or sandals. Participants can go barefoot if they do not have the appropriate footwear. Shoes with laces are not allowed!
  • Hat – for shade when it’s sunny. Cap – for warmth if it’s cool, especially in the Spring & Fall.
  • Sunglasses and Sunscreen
  • Drinking Water – at least 1 quart or more on ½ day & full day trips per person. A pint is sufficient for most people on the Porter’s Island Paddle.
  • Camera – take advantage of the many photo opportunities while on ‘da Big Lake! We do have drybags available for your use, however participants assume their own risk for damaged or lost cameras.
Do you rent kayaks?

Yes, we rent both touring sea kayaks and recreational sit-on-top kayaks. However, for sea kayak self-guided rentals, participants need to meet one of the following requirements:

  1. Successfully complete our Fundamental Water Safety Course.
  2. Exhibit experience with a “Test Out”, which successfully demonstrates a Wet-Exit, T-Rescue and Paddle-Float re-entry ($10 fee per person).
  3. Provide a documentation, signed by an American Canoe Association (ACA) Certified Instructor, of having successfully completed a similar water safety course matching our course curriculum in the past 3 years.

The alternative to these requirements is to simply go on a guided tour where none of the aforementioned would apply. NOTE: Recreational sit-on-top kayak use is restricted to the area’s inland lakes with no pre-requisites needed prior.

Canoeing:

Do you rent canoes for Isle Royale?

Our canoes are recreational-type models and are rented for use on the inland lakes of the mainland and inside a restricted area within Copper Harbor. We do not rent canoes for use on Isle Royale, however, we do rent sea kayaks for adventurers seeking a coastal Island experience.

Mountain Biking:

Do you have Easy Trails?

The disclaimer for the Copper Harbor Trails system is that roughly 75% the is rated “Intermediate” and only 10% as “Easy” — the remaining percent being “Advanced” and “Expert” only.

That said, there are a plenty of two-track dirt roads, old logging roads and gravel pathways not part of the single-track trail system, which make for great novice level mountain biking. There are crushed gravel trails out to Hunter’s Point, Lake Fanny Hooe, and Fort Wilkins State Park, and short, easy single-track trails that connect to more advanced trails in the network.  Premier destinations in the area that are local favorites such as Horseshoe Harbor, Estivant Pines and Manganese Falls are all accessible by a series of paved and dirt roads.

Again, about 3/4 of our trails are intermediate level trails.  Considering the elevation gain of the area, about 700ft vertical, they are a little more advanced than flat land intermediate trail networks.

There are two high points in the trails network: Brockway Mountain Drive and Keweenaw Mountain Lodge.  Trails stemming from the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge are the original, hand-built trails that contain more bedrock and roots providing for a rugged riding experience.  Trails stemming from Brockway Mountain Drive are machine built trails that are smoother and have more flow than others.  If planning on riding to either summit, it is recommended to ride the two-way trails up to the top and NOT ride the roads.  Brockway Mountain Drive has a very steep grade and sharp hairpin turns and US 41 does not have a shoulder to provide much protection from traffic.

We would certainly be happy to look at a map with you upon arrival so as to guide you in the best direction for your level of riding!

Is there a charge to ride the trails?

There is no charge to ride the trails. If you ride the trails and enjoy your experience, donations to support their maintenance and development by the non-profit Copper Harbor Trails Club are appreciated! Maps of the trail system are also sold as a revenue source to support the trails.

How far is the trail head?

Directly across the street! Not too far at all…

Can you ride the trails when they’re wet?

The trails are sustainably built on rocky terrain and soils that drain well. There are numerous boardwalks, bridges and armored sections that address any areas of concern. The trails have seldom ever closed during wet conditions and are open most all of the time after the spring thaw and the trails are deemed as open for the season. Riders should exercise extreme caution on boardwalks and exposed bedrock, as they do become slippery when wet!

When it the best time of season to ride?

The “best time” to ride is relative to every rider who visits.  The fact that we are so far north, provides cool weather most of the summer with temperatures topping out at 80oF in July.  Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day are the most popular weekends in Copper Harbor and also on the trails.  The first week or two before Memorial day is quiet and cool; the weeks following Memorial Day are also quite quiet and a little warmer.  June usually proves to be mild in temperature.  July and August tend to be the most popular months in Copper Harbor because temperatures peak and Lake Superior is warm enough to swim in.  After Labor Day, the town becomes relatively quiet again with exception to weekends.  The climate often drops temperature and more rain storms come through.  The first half of October is when the Fall colors are in their prime.  Riding through Orange, Red and Yellow forest is a real treat!

Do I need to make a reservation for the Mountain Bike Shuttle?

Our Mountain Bike Shuttle has scheduled service times on Saturday and Sunday afternoons all season long and on Tuesday evenings from the 1st week of June until the last week of August.

Reservations are not required to ride the shuttle during these schedule times, however one can save time by avoiding the line and reserving online ahead of time.

Do you offer Mountain Bike Shuttles on the weekdays?

Our Mountain Bike Shuttle runs:

  • Every Saturday and Sunday from Noon-5:30pm (May 28th- October TBA, weather dependent!)
  • Tuesday evenings from 5:00-9:30pm (June – August)

During non-scheduled shuttle times, we offer a “Schedule Your Own Shuttle” option. Runs during non-scheduled times are most often available to walk-ins, though to guarantee availability it is suggested you schedule your run(s) by reservation either online, or simply by giving us a call,  906-289-4303.

The pricing structure for “Schedule Your Own” is as follows:

  • 1 person per run = $18
  • And each additional person is an additional $2 (e.g. 2 people per run = $20, 3 people per run = $22… and so on up until 14 people per run = $44)
Is there road biking?

Please see: www.bikethekeweenaw.com

FYI: May and early to mid-June has the least amount of road traffic.