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Historic Calumet: The Heart of the Keweenaw

With easy access to sledding trails and loads of history, this town is perfect for your Keweenaw snowmobile adventure.

Nestled in the center of Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, Calumet may be best known for its historic role in the Copper Country’s mineral boom in the 19th Century. But today, it serves as a hub for outdoor recreation enthusiasts seeking access to the Keweenaw’s rugged wilderness. 

Like its history, Calumet’s powder runs deep.  Each winter, it receives about 210 inches of snow drawing snowmobilers from across the Midwest.  The sledding season typically begins in earnest by mid-December but can run well into late March or even early April thanks to the region’s notorious spring snowstorms churned out by Lake Superior.


The Trails

Calumet lies north of Houghton, about ten miles from the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, and forty miles south of Copper Harbor. This puts riders in the middle of the Keweenaw’s 200+ miles of groomed trails allowing for easy day trips in either direction.

Riders traveling north along Trail #3 are greeted by one of the Keweenaw’s most iconic views: the impressive emergence of the Cliff Range. Also referred to as the Keweenaw Spine, these exposed bedrock cliffs jut skyward forced up by the Keweenaw Fault. The Cliff was home to the Keweenaw’s first profitable copper mine and is credited with kicking off the region’s mineral rush. Continue toward Copper Harbor to access rider favorites like Brockway Mountain and even the remote High Rock Bay at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula.

Travel south along the Stevens Trail (#17) toward Hancock and Houghton to experience riding across the frozen Keweenaw Waterway using the Portage Lake Lift Bridge.  Travel across the bridge to access the Bill Nicholls Trail, a former rail corridor which passes through a mix of pine and hardwood forests.

The Keweenaw snowmobile trail network is groomed by the Keweenaw Snowmobile Club. Trails are groomed daily, often up to three times a day, to keep those sledding trips smooth. Consider becoming a club member to help keep these trails in pristine condition!


Explore History

Once known as Red Jacket, Calumet is often rumored to have almost been designated as the capitol of Michigan thanks to the vast wealth generated from the mines. Take a walk down its historic downtown and admire the ornate 19th century architecture, and you’ll almost believe it to be true.

In its heyday, Calumet’s population reached more than 30,000 residents. Today, that’s down to around 2,000. But visitors will still find a lot of evidence of Calumet’s rich past with the Keweenaw National Historical Park’s headquarters located downtown. Riders can even tour the historic Quincy Mine located about 10 mines south of Calumet.

Hockey enthusiasts can visit what is widely considered North America’s oldest continually operated ice rink: The Calumet Colosseum.  The Colosseum was built in 1913 and won the distinction of “Hockeyville USA” in 2019 by the National Hockey League (NHL). 

Visitors can also give the sport of curling a try by visiting the Copper Country Curling Club located in a historic mining drill shop. Groups can rent the space (which includes instruction time) by visiting the club’s website or calling 906.281.3456.

Quincey Mine Tours

Eating, Drinking and Shopping

Downtown Calumet hosts several locally owned places to eat, drink and shop in between sledding adventures. 

The Michigan House Restaurant serves great burgers and sandwiches and is home to the Red Jacket Brewery. The brewery is known for their dark Oatmeal Espress Stout. The building, originally built in 1905, is steeped in history with the walls lined with mementos from the early mining days. Other great options include The Hut, which serves the rarely conquered, five-pound Lucchesi burger, and Carmelita’s Southwestern Grille. 

A short walk away, visitors can check out what many consider is Michigan’s oldest bar: Shute’s Saloon.  Located next to the historic Calumet Theatre and originally opened in 1890, it was an Italian saloon. Shute’s (pronounced SHOOT-eez) has magnificent original back bar, booths and all the trappings of boom-town saloons.

Michigan House & Red Jacket Brewery

Riders heading north will want to stop by the Cliff View Bar in Mohawk. Aptly named thanks to their view of the Cliff Range, the owners cater to snowmobilers offering hot meals and cool drinks with easy access to the trails.

Souvenir hunters will also want to visit Calumet Mercantile in downtown Calumet. The gift shop offers a collection of keepsakes including locally inspired shirts, toys, books, and decorations.  Its also a destination for sledders with a sweet tooth because Calumet Mercantile makes decision fudge and carries a wide selection of tasty treats.

Snowmobile Rentals

If you’re looking to rent a sled, look no further than Copper Country Rentals at the Trailside Lodge just north of Calumet.  They offer fleet of 30 machines to rent in addition to helpful information about the local trails. 

Further south, M&M Powersports and Dan’s Recreation in Hancock also have sleds to rent.  Be sure to call ahead as inventory can move fast!


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