“Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula harbors sea stacks, empty singletrack, a total absence of chic and Zik’s Bar. Oh, and you might scare up a mountain lion too.” -National Geographic Adventure Magazine [Read more Testimonials]
This headline sums up the Keweenaw today in a nutshell, but only scratches the surface of this historically significant region. Michigan’s state motto reads: “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.” According to many folks, the Keweenaw is in fact the crown jewel of all of the peninsulas in the Great Lake’s State. Its remoteness and small population has allowed this 60-mile finger of land to remain relatively unchanged for many years, since the great copper boom of the 1800’s. In fact, it’s sort of a warp taking visitors back to an earlier time in history. This “warp” is apparent as soon as visitors cross the “gateway” bridge in Houghton into Hancock, connecting the mainland with the “Copper Island”. It becomes even more evident the further north one travels until ultimately reaching Copper Harbor at Land’s End…[the Keweenaw is] sort of a warp taking visitors back to an earlier time in history. This “warp” is apparent as soon as visitors cross the “gateway” bridge in Houghton into Hancock, connecting the mainland with the “Copper Island”….
Keweenaw is actually the Objibwa word for “to portage”…
Although it is called a peninsula, the Keweenaw is technically an island. The Portage Canal divides the peninsula and may only be crossed by vehicles across one bridge that connects the sister cities of Houghton & Hancock, about 50-miles south of Copper Harbor. Keweenaw is actually the Objibwa word for “to portage”, and the area is named for the short-cut the natives used in the early days when paddling birch bark canoes. Today, this very canal is part of the Keweenaw Water Trail that ultimately allows paddlers to circumnavigate the “Copper Island” on a hundred-mile plus journey.
The Keweenaw is composed of some of the oldest exposed rock in the world, dating back some 1.1 billion years, and it is mineral rich.The first great mining boom in the United States began in 1843 with the discovery, first in Copper Harbor, of the red metal – copper. The late 1800’s brought wealth, prosperity and immigrants to the “new world” looking for work and opportunity. The area’s mining past is evident throughout the entire peninsula and has been historically preserved by the Keweenaw National Historic Park. The Park is one of two National Historic Parks in the country and is a unique cooperative effort between historic locations, buildings, mines, ghost towns, lighthouses and maritime locations that span the entire Keweenaw and help to tell its story.
The Keweenaw is composed of some of the oldest exposed rock in the world, dating back some 1.1 billion years, and it is mineral rich.
Today the Keweenaw is a unique blend of the old and the new. While its history is an undeniable presence throughout the region, entrepreneurs have managed to find their niche and have established themselves and their businesses, which brings new ideas and a fresh twist on some regards. There are a number of cool shops and restaurants, an active artisan community and galleries and sound local music community.
While there is no cell phone service in Copper Harbor (many people think that’s one of its greatest assets!), Wi-Fi connections are available at most locations around town to keep connected with the outside world – and a cell signal may be reached 4 miles from town on the top of Brockway Mountain for those who really need it.
Getting to the Keweenaw Peninsula
A trip to the Keweenaw is closer than you might think! United Airlines offers daily service with 3 flights from/to Chicago O’Hare & the Houghton County Airport (CMX) during the summer months. This one hour flight makes the Keweenaw easily accessible to the entire country and beyond with a one-stop connection. Our airport shuttle can be chartered to bring you up to Copper Harbor on the scenic, 40 mile drive from there and back upon your return.