Isle Royal National Park is a U.S. Biosphere Reserve, as well as the largest island in Lake Superior. The main island is about 45 miles long and 8 and a half miles across at it widest point, and is 99% wilderness. The thick, varied growth of vegetation, dense growths of spruce and balsam fir, and a rugged, craggy coastline creates the park's beauty. Beavers, loons, wolves, moose, red foxes, and snowshoe hares are some of the creatures that live on this island. There are over 160 miles of trails for hiking or backpacking. Canoeing/kayaking is another popular way to explore this island, with various opportunities to camp along the lake shore. If you own your own canoe/kayak, you may bring it across Lake Superior on the Ranger or you may rent a boat in Rock Harbor. This wilderness experience is open for exploration on foot or by boat from Mid-May through September. If you are planning a trip you should write for information, as this park can be crowded, and has designated wilderness camping areas. The only lodging is the Rock Harbor Lodge and you need to make reservations ahead of time. This lodge is located along the shore of Lake Superior, and offers rooms with private baths and housekeeping cottages. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, you will need to make advance reservations for transportation to the island. Boat service to the island is available at Copper Harbor aboard the "Isle Royal Queen" (see photo 3) for a 4 1/2 hour crossing, or from Houghton aboard the park-owned boat , "Ranger III", a 5 hour crossing. For more information on the Ranger, visit www.nps.gov/isro/ranger-iii.htm
Floatplane service is also available from Houghton. Schedules can be obtained from the Park Service Headquarters in Houghton. For inquires about Isle Royal, contact park headquarters at Isle Royal National Park, 800 E. Lakeshore Dr., Houghton, MI 49931.
So you would like to visit Isle Royal National Park and need more information. I was hoping to build pages on this, however, although this is a U.S. National Park, it is not available on the Virtual Tourist Map. To help you out I have built two travelogues on my Copper Harbor pages to give you information that may be of value to you. Here you will find out information such as traveling to the park, hiking, where to stay, where to eat, as well as other helpful tips. See my travelogues Visiting Isle Royal National Park I and II.
Drive 17 and a half miles along highway 26 to the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse museum. Eagle Harbor Lighthouse was built in1871, and as well as a museum, it is also one of the most photographed spots in the Keweenaw. This historic museum complex is the maritime history museum for the entire Keweenaw area. 21 light keepers maintained and operated this light station until 1980 when it was automated. In 1999 the United States Congress transferred ownership of the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse to the Keeweenaw County Historical Society. The museums that you will find at this light station include period furnishings, the history of Eagle Harbor, the old fog signal building and watch building, a Keweenaw mining museum, and a Keweenaw commercial fishing museum. The Coast Guard, however, continues to operate the light at the top of the tower. The museum is open from mid-June to early October.
This is one of the last remaining old growth White Pine areas in the Country. There are three groves of ancient pines here. Includes trees with 4+ foot (1.2 m) diameter and 100+ feet (30.5 m) tall. The trails are moderate to difficult. A total of 2.4 miles (3.9 km) to see the big trees.
In Copper Harbor, take 2nd St (Maganese Rd, south 1.2 miles (1.9 km), turn left on Clark Mine Rd,. Follow for 1.2 miles, (1.9 km) then turn right on Burma Rd. Follow for 0.65 miles, (0.9 km) trailhead on left.
The Michigan Nature Association sanctuaries are available for public use because of donations from people who use the sites. Help keep these sanctuaries avialable to the public for education, habitat protection and nature appreacition.
(Note this entry is also on my Houghton Page) Visit the Delaware Copper Mine located 12 miles south of Copper Harbor, and 38 miles north of Houghton on U.S. 41. This is an authentic copper mine dating back to 1847-1887. Eight million pounds of copper were removed from its five shafts that reached a depth of 1400 feet. This is a self-guided tour that will take you down into the first level of shaft number 1 which is at a depth of 110 feet. Due to a temperature of 45 degrees in the mine, jackets and good walking shoes are recommended. Allow 1 hour minimum time when visiting this mine which is open daily mid-May to mid-October.
While driving around the area, you come across a lot of little cemetaries. They are usually pretty old and not very well kept up, but they are interesting to visit. Some of the headstones are written in finnish or German, and some of the headstones explain how the person died. Many of the deaths are related to working in the mines that used to be prosperous.
One activity the locals find relaxing is to walk along the shores of Lake Superior and look for beach glass. Beach glass is bits of broken glass that gets weathered and becomes smooth from the icy waters of the lake. The glass pieces you usually find are either clear, green or brown. These usually come from pop or beer bottles. sometimes you can find some unusual pieces, and its fun to speculate what they might have come from. One of the best places I know of to find beach glass is a little park called Tobacco Creek.
Visit the Houghton and Calumet areas. (see my Houghton and Calumet pages) In both of these communities you will have the opportunity to explore the history of the "Copper Country".
Hiking and cross-country ski trails can be found at Ft. Wilkins State Park, McLain State Park, and Porcupine Mountains. Cross-country ski trails are also available at Swedetown Ski Trails near Calumet. There are also hundreds of miles of groomed snowmobile trails running through the Keweenaw. In the summer a number of these trails and rural roads provide an opportunity for biking. Boating of all types is popular on the lakes and waterway of the U.P.
All that remain is a chimney and a rubble pile. The copper veins this far up the peninsula where thin and quickly worked out. Further south, the veins were deeper and bigger.