Written by drundel on 24 Apr, 2001
There are at least three ways to get to Copper Harbor, Michigan, by land. M26 is a state road that skirts Lake Superior and comes into the town from the northwest. US41 starts in Miami, Florida, and ends north of Copper Harbor after going through…Read More
There are at least three ways to get to Copper Harbor, Michigan, by land. M26 is a state road that skirts Lake Superior and comes into the town from the northwest. US41 starts in Miami, Florida, and ends north of Copper Harbor after going through the middle of the Keweenaw peninsula. Brockway Mountain Scenic Drive, as the name would suggest, is a scenic road that splits the two highways mentioned above. One end of the Drive is just outside Copper Harbor; the other end is east of Eagle Harbor on M26. We took the drive on a brisk, breezy day in August of 2000, thinking the scenery would blow us away. Mother Nature almost blew us away instead.
The start of the scenic drive by Copper Harbor is narrow and hilly. Within 3 miles there is a scenic turnout, where we took some pictures. At Fort Wilkins State Park, just north of Copper Harbor, one of the presenters during a show mentioned that most of the lakes on the peninsula had been named for wives or sweethearts of fort personnel, in the mid-1800's. All the lakes have reverted back to more natural, native names, except Lake Fannie Hooe. That must have been one special Fannie!
Continuing south and west on the drive, you come to another scenic spot. This one is larger, with restrooms and a gift shop. From here you can see Lake Superior west of the Keweenaw peninsula and Keweenaw Bay east of the peninsula.
While we were there, we decided to check out the gift shop. It is in a small (14'x60') trailer, right on top of the mountain. We were inside when a brief storm came up, bringing rain and more wind. The trailer was being shaken by the wind, and the rain was pelting the building quite noisily. We shopped until the rain quit, then got back in our van to continue on. I proved my mettle, however, when I insisted we return to the gift shop. The wind hadn't let up enough to have me feel comfortable driving around a mountain I didn't know, and possibly being blown off a cliff somewhere. We left after another 15 minutes or so, returning to Copper Harbor and the safety of our campground. At least there we only had bears to worry about.
The nicest part of this little trip is the expense. It is a public road, and the only cost to us was for gifts in the gift shop. If I remember correctly, there are picnic sites along the way, and lunch could be picnic style, and cheap, as well.
There are a lot of other things to do in the Keweenaw Peninsula. We took a tour of the Delaware Mine, an abandoned copper mine opened only for tours. It was interesting and pleasant. It was less than $10 per person for a tour of the grounds and mine, lasting about 90 minutes. There are lots of museums in Calumet, Houghton, and Hancock to see, as well as other mines to tour and visit. The Keweenaw Peninsula has been named a National Historic Park, with various businesses contributing to the historical tours and sites. If you want to go there just for the nature, it is a beautiful place. If you want to see historical sites, it has its share. It truly is a special part of Michigan.