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Keweenaw Bike Adventures Await!

By Jay Haven, Keweenaw Trailblazer

As the last traces of snow melt away, revealing the rugged terrain beneath, excitement permeates the air in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Mountain bikers, eager to trade their skis and snowboards for wheels, can soon emerge from their hibernation. Put that restless energy to use and set your sights on the untamed beauty of biking world class trails in Michigan’s northernmost destination: the Keweenaw Peninsula. If you’re riding this far north, you’re on a real quest for adventure. This playground is where nature reigns supreme. Hear the hum of tires on singletrack, and find serenity while biking through the great outdoors. From canalside adventures, to cliffs and underground routes – you’ll want to bike the Keweenaw this summer.

You’ll need a mountain bike or fat tire bike to ride most trails in the Keweenaw. Though, any type of bike is a great way to view the Hancock and Houghton trails on the Portage Canal. If you’re looking for a long ride, the waterfront trail from Houghton to Chassell, Michigan is approximately 9 miles each way! These waterside trails are both walker and dog friendly too. Portage Paddle Sports rents bikes to folks looking to cycle around Houghton and Hancock.

Looking for a sneaky amount of elevation to ride in Hancock close to the Portage Canal? Look no further than the Hancock Trails. The Maasto Hiihto and Churning Rapids systems take you on a hidden journey into Hancock’s backwoods. Maasto Hiihto means cross country ski in Finnish, but it’s a biking and hiking paradise in summer. These trails have access points via the Houghton County Fairgrounds by the dog park and by the Hancock Public Works.

Keweenaw,Brockway Mountain,Portage Canal

Find beautiful boardwalks, bridges and updated trails in this gorge carved by Swedetown Creek in Hancock. The trails seem hidden from town, and that’s because they have some great elevation changes for riders to enjoy back in the gorge. Hancock Trails Club Board Member Nathan Laakonen says it’s a great place to advance your skills.

“At Churning Rapids, we have a trail Pow Pow, which links into Finney Creek,” said Laakonen. “It’s about a mile and a half, mostly flowing downhill. It has a couple bridges and some good elevation and flow to it.”

Laakonen says there is another fun favorite to share.

“We have a trail called ‘And Flow’ which is as it sounds,” explained Laakonen. “It was built as a dirt jump trail probably 10 years ago. It’s about a quarter-mile-long jump line. So you can get air or if you’re not a jumper, everything is rollable. You can just go fast and smooth and go right through everything.”

Keweenaw,Brockway Mountain,Portage Canal

Go out to the Michigan Tech Trails in Houghton for another two-wheeled adventure close to the canal. The beauty of riding the Keweenaw trails is you could ride here for weeks. With so many different trail systems to explore it’s impossible to get bored.

If a disconnect from the bustling city is what you’re truly looking for, try heading north. Take US-41 from Houghton/Hancock to Calumet to check out the Swedetown Trails, or further to Copper Harbor for some of the most scenic views and trails in the whole Keweenaw. If you stop in Calumet, go to Cross Country Sports to get your bike tuned up or buy some new gear. You can also get rentals here and great advice on where to ride!

A few spots to see near the harbor on your bike: Hunter’s Point Park and Brockway Mountain. Hunter’s Point Park is a literal hidden gem along M-26 just outside Copper Harbor. It boasts a beautiful rocky beach known for Yooperlites and Agates. The turn to the park off the road can catch you quick if you’re not looking out for it. Here, you can park to get on the Hunter’s Point Bike Path. Pass by beautiful forest and wildlife as you make your way toward the Trail’s End Campground. The campground hosts the publicly accessible Orchard Trail, opened in late 2023. This beginner friendly park and ride trail system is a great place for families to ride. Downhill trails The Flow and Overflow both connect down to Hunter Point Bike Path from Brockway Mountain Drive. You can ride from Hunter’s Point Park to Fort Wilkins State Park for a historical bike tour in Copper Harbor.

Keweenaw,Brockway Mountain,Portage Canal

Brockway Mountain boasts a thrilling trail selection. From Flying Squirrel, to On the Edge you’ll have no trouble riding your bike of choice on Brockway Mountain. Enjoy 360-degree views of Copper Harbor and Lake Superior as you push your way up and enjoy the ride down. The breeze feels great. A popular place to park and ride in Copper Harbor is the Welcome Center on the corner of US-41 and 2nd Street. Across the street from the Welcome Center is Keweenaw Adventure Company which runs shuttle services for mountain bikers and rentals. If you want to get your land legs acclimated to Lake Superior – the guide service does paddles in the harbor and around Porter’s Island.

Need another reason to pack your favorite bike, a friend, and get to the Keweenaw this summer? How about a bike ride through one of Michigan’s Copper Mines? Every year, Ride the Keweenaw kicks off with an underground ride through Greenland’s Adventure Mine. Bike like a miner with a helmet and flashlight on this one-of-a-kind course. Ride the Keweenaw is held on Memorial Day Weekend, May 24-26 this year and registration is open. It takes riders from Greenland, Michigan all the way to Copper Harbor on different rides.

Keweenaw,Brockway Mountain,Portage Canal

If one underground ride isn’t enough, come back for Miner’s Revenge July 12-14 in Greenland for a range of rides. There’s an XC race, kids rides and a downhill enduro. The weather in the area will also be a lot warmer by July.

As the greenery erupts from our beautiful forests and trails firm up from spring, the Keweenaw stands ready to welcome cyclists from near and far. This northern paradise promises an unforgettable summer of two-wheeled adventures. Pack your bike, your friends and family, and set your heart’s compass on the Keweenaw.

As you explore, remember the region is not only a playground for outdoor enthusiasts but a living testament to the resilient communities that call it home. From its past rooted in copper mining to it’s present-day recreation culture, the Keweenaw embodies the spirit of exploration and discovery. So, whether you’re tackling challenging singletracks, cruising along the picturesque Portage Canal, or delving into the depths of a historical mine, take a moment to ride your bike in the Keweenaw this summer. For more information on what to do in the area or where to stay go to www.visitkeweenaw.com. Keep an eye on Copper Harbor Trails status at copperharbortrails.org/trail-status.

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