Upper Peninsula Stories and Tips

Outdoors with Nature

Sailing Lake Superior Photo, Marquette, Michigan

While admittedly I didn't get to experience everything that Michigan's Upper Peninsula (aka "the U P") has to offer, I did get to sample quite a bit. In one case, a bit more than I bargained for!

On my second day, I wanted to make my way from Grand Marais to the Crisp Point Lighthouse. The photos I've seen of it are beautiful, as it sits right on a sandy beach overlooking Lake Superior. I had Mapquested that part of my trip before leaving home, so I knew it would be a bit of a long slog . . . around 50 miles and two hours. What I didn't count on, was that my Garmin would have me taking an even more direct route on what I later learned were mostly off road vehicle trails, not intended for passenger cars (or vans).

At first I sorta enjoyed my backwoods adventure, communing deep with nature. My enjoyment soon turned to concern and later outright fear, as the "road" became increasingly worse. Pitted asphalt became gravel with a single turn; gravel became dirt and with the rains of the prior night dirt in some areas was slick mud or huge puddles.

I ultimately survived the trip (12 miles in 90 minutes!) as I decided I didn't have the time to continue for what was expected to be another 28 miles. I think I got my reality check when I passed by a broken down ATV. Not very reassuring at all. I must admit, had I seen bears in this thick forest, it would have all been worth it, but alas . . . no bears!

There are a lot of wonderful activities for those who enjoy time outdoors with nature. With the hundreds of miles of shoreline, it is possible to find a pretty cove or bay to go kayaking, canoeing or sailing. Community beaches right on Lake Superior or Lake Michigan can be found throughout. Fishing from shore or by boat is possible on a number of small inland lakes or on the Great Lakes by charter boat.

In several communities, and Marquette in particular, there were a lot of people out riding bicycles. The lakefront of Marquette is beautiful, with several miles of paths that hug the coastline away from cars and trucks that seemed to wiz by.

For those who want a little more excitement or adventure, I would suggest one of those off road vehicles, or ORVs as they are referred to on the trail signs. I did see a number of ATVs (aka "quads" as they call them in California) as well as dirt bikes throughout my time in the area.

Pack backing and hiking are also popular activities. For those who have good outdoor skills, Michigan's Upper Peninsula is a great place to go primitive camping utilizing the vast network of state and national parks and forests. If you do plan such an adventure, be sure to be "bear aware" and carry the appropriate gear to be safe as there are more than 30,000 black bears in the U P.

There is a ton of information available on the internet so do a search to obtain information about equipment rental, hiking or bike trails and camping facilities before you go. Also, there are a number of US Park Service and Nat'l Forest visitor centers and ranger stations if you're in the area and require additional information or assistance.

As a PS, this area is rich in winter activities as well. The ORV trails are used in the winter for snowmobiling. There are also a number of areas marked for cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing. I would imagine the ponds make nice ice skating rinks too, although I saw no signage to indicate or encourage it. I also believe ice fishing is a big deal in the U P, as I know it is down in Wisconsin.

Been to this destination?

Share Your Story or Tip