Copper Harbor Trails In Michigan

Here is everything you need to know about the Copper Harbor Trails:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Michigan
  • Length: 40 miles.
  • Type: Biking.
  • Surface: dirt
  • Managed By: Copper Harbor Trails Club
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website:

The Copper Harbor Trails, located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, have a rich history that dates back centuries. The area was originally inhabited by the Ojibwa people, who utilized the land for hunting, fishing, and gathering resources. They recognized the abundance of copper in the region and used it for various purposes, including making tools and ornaments.

In the mid-19th century, the discovery of copper in the Keweenaw Peninsula sparked a mining boom. The Copper Harbor area became a hub of mining activity, attracting thousands of prospectors and settlers. The demand for copper was high, and numerous mines were established in the region. The mining operations brought significant economic growth to Copper Harbor, leading to the development of infrastructure and the establishment of a thriving community.

As the mining industry flourished, a network of trails was created to transport copper and other resources. These trails, known as the Copper Harbor Trails, were initially used by miners and loggers to access the mines and forests. The trails were primarily used by horses and mules, which carried heavy loads of copper and timber.

Over time, the mining industry declined, and the Copper Harbor Trails fell into disuse. However, in recent decades, the area has experienced a resurgence as a recreational destination. The trails have been revitalized and transformed into a world-class mountain biking destination, attracting outdoor enthusiasts from around the country. Today, the Copper Harbor Trails offer a diverse range of trails, catering to riders of all skill levels, and have become a significant economic driver for the region, contributing to the growth of tourism and outdoor recreation industry in Copper Harbor.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Trailhead at the Copper Harbor Welcome Center: This is the main access point for the Copper Harbor Trails. It provides parking, restrooms, and trail maps.

2. Trailhead at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge: Located near the lodge, this trailhead offers parking and access to various trails in the area.

3. Trailhead at the Brockway Mountain Drive: This access point is located at the top of Brockway Mountain Drive and provides parking and access to several trails, including the popular Flow Trail.

4. Trailhead at the Copper Harbor Marina: Situated near the marina, this trailhead offers parking and access to trails that run along the shoreline.

5. Trailhead at the Copper Harbor School: This access point is located near the school and provides parking and access to trails that are suitable for all skill levels.

6. Trailhead at the Copper Harbor Campground: Situated near the campground, this trailhead offers parking and access to trails that wind through the forested areas.

7. Trailhead at the Copper Harbor Community Center: Located near the community center, this access point provides parking and access to trails that connect to the main trail network.

8. Trailhead at the Copper Harbor Mountain Bike Trails: This access point is specifically for mountain bikers and provides parking and access to a variety of challenging trails.

9. Trailhead at the Copper Harbor Overlook: Situated near the overlook, this access point offers parking and access to trails that provide scenic views of Lake Superior.

10. Trailhead at the Copper Harbor Trailhead Park: Located at the Trailhead Park, this access point provides parking and access to trails that are suitable for hiking, biking, and running.

Transportation Available

1. Copper Harbor Shuttle – Shuttle service providing transportation to and from Copper Harbor Trails.
2. Keweenaw Adventure Company – Outdoor adventure company offering bike rentals and shuttle services for Copper Harbor Trails.
3. Keweenaw Adventure Shuttle – Shuttle service specializing in transportation for outdoor activities, including Copper Harbor Trails.
4. Copper Harbor Bike Shop – Bike shop offering rentals and shuttle services for Copper Harbor Trails.
5. Keweenaw Mountain Lodge Shuttle – Shuttle service providing transportation to Copper Harbor Trails from Keweenaw Mountain Lodge.


The amenities available at the Copper Harbor Trails include:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available at various locations throughout the trail system, including at the trailhead and other designated areas.

2. Parking: There is ample parking available at the trailhead and nearby areas for visitors to park their vehicles while accessing the trails.

3. Camping Sites: Copper Harbor offers several camping options for visitors, including the Lake Fanny Hooe Resort and Campground, which is located near the trailhead. Additionally, there are other campgrounds and RV parks in the area for those looking to stay overnight.

4. Picnic Areas: There are designated picnic areas along the trails where visitors can stop and enjoy a meal or snack amidst the beautiful surroundings. These areas often have picnic tables and benches for convenience.

5. Bike Rentals: For those who do not have their own bikes, there are bike rental services available in Copper Harbor. These rentals allow visitors to explore the trails without needing to bring their own equipment.

6. Bike Repair: In case of any bike-related issues or repairs, there are bike repair services available in Copper Harbor. These services can help with minor repairs or provide assistance in case of any mechanical problems.

7. Trail Maps: Copper Harbor Trails provide detailed trail maps that can be obtained at the trailhead or visitor center. These maps help visitors navigate the trail system and choose the best routes based on their preferences and skill levels.

8. Visitor Center: There is a visitor center located at the trailhead, where visitors can gather information about the trails, get recommendations, and learn more about the area’s natural and cultural history.

9. Food and Beverage: Copper Harbor has a few restaurants and cafes where visitors can grab a meal or refreshments after a day of exploring the trails. These establishments offer a variety of dining options to cater to different tastes.

10. Guided Tours: For those who prefer guided experiences, there are guided tours available at Copper Harbor Trails. These tours provide insights into the area’s natural features, history, and offer a more structured exploration of the trails.

Please note that amenities may vary, and it is always recommended to check with the official Copper Harbor Trails website or visitor center for the most up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. Bella Vista Motel – Cozy lodging with scenic views of Lake Superior.
2. Mariner North – Rustic lodge offering comfortable rooms and a restaurant serving American cuisine.
3. Keweenaw Mountain Lodge – Historic lodge with golf course, cabins, and a restaurant.
4. Harbor Haus – Waterfront restaurant specializing in German and American dishes.
5. Zik’s Bar – Local bar serving pub food and drinks.
6. The Pines Resort – Lakeside cabins and motel rooms with access to a private beach.
7. The Tamarack Inn – Quaint inn offering comfortable rooms and a restaurant serving homestyle meals.
8. Copper Harbor General Store – Convenience store with groceries, snacks, and basic supplies.
9. Copper Harbor Fire Department – Emergency services for fire-related incidents.
10. Keweenaw Memorial Medical Center – Local hospital providing emergency medical care.

Copper Harbor Trails Difficulty Notes

The Copper Harbor Trails, located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, are renowned for their challenging difficulty level. With over 35 miles of singletrack trails, riders of all skill levels can find a route that suits their abilities. However, it is important to note that the majority of the trails in Copper Harbor are considered advanced or expert level, featuring steep climbs, technical descents, and rocky terrain. The combination of tight switchbacks, exposed roots, and narrow trails requires riders to possess a high level of skill, balance, and endurance. While the difficulty level may be intimidating for beginners, intermediate riders can still enjoy the trails by opting for less technical sections or taking on shorter loops. Overall, the Copper Harbor Trails offer a thrilling and challenging experience for mountain bikers seeking an adrenaline-fueled adventure.

Features And Attractions

1. Brockway Mountain Drive: This scenic drive offers breathtaking views of Lake Superior, the surrounding forests, and the Keweenaw Peninsula. It is especially stunning during the fall when the foliage turns vibrant colors.

2. Copper Harbor Lighthouse: Located at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula, the Copper Harbor Lighthouse is a historic site that offers panoramic views of Lake Superior. Visitors can explore the lighthouse and learn about its role in maritime history.

3. Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary: This natural landmark is home to one of the last remaining stands of old-growth white pine forests in Michigan. The towering trees and peaceful trails make it a perfect spot for hiking and birdwatching.

4. Fort Wilkins Historic State Park: This well-preserved military outpost from the mid-1800s provides a glimpse into the past. Visitors can explore the fort’s buildings, learn about its history, and enjoy the scenic views of Lake Fanny Hooe.

5. Hunter’s Point Park: This park offers stunning views of Lake Superior and the rugged shoreline. It is a popular spot for picnicking, hiking, and watching the sunset.

6. High Rock Bay: Located along the Copper Harbor Trails, High Rock Bay offers a secluded and picturesque beach. Visitors can relax, swim, or enjoy a picnic while taking in the beautiful surroundings.

7. Gratiot River Park: This park features a picturesque waterfall and a historic bridge. It is a great spot for hiking, fishing, and enjoying the natural beauty of the area.

8. Copper Falls: Located within the Copper Falls State Park, these waterfalls cascade over ancient lava flows, creating a stunning natural spectacle. Visitors can hike along the trails and enjoy the views of the falls.

9. Lake Manganese: This scenic lake is surrounded by lush forests and offers a peaceful setting for fishing, kayaking, or simply enjoying the tranquility of nature.

10. Bare Bluff: This prominent rock formation offers panoramic views of Lake Superior and the surrounding landscape. Hiking to the top of Bare Bluff rewards visitors with breathtaking vistas.

These are just a few of the many scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks that can be found along the Copper Harbor Trails. Exploring the area will provide visitors with a rich and diverse experience.

Usage Guidelines

1. All pets must be kept on a leash at all times while on the Copper Harbor Trails.
2. Please clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.
3. Bicycles are only allowed on designated trails and are not permitted on hiking trails.
4. Motorized vehicles, including ATVs and motorcycles, are not allowed on the trails.
5. Hunting or trapping is strictly prohibited on the Copper Harbor Trails.
6. Camping or overnight stays are not permitted on the trails.
7. Fires are only allowed in designated fire pits or grills.
8. Respect seasonal restrictions, such as trail closures during winter months or during specific maintenance periods.
9. Stay on designated trails and do not create new trails or shortcuts.
10. Leave no trace – pack out all trash and respect the natural environment.
11. Be aware of and yield to other trail users, including hikers, runners, and equestrians.
12. Observe and follow any additional rules or guidelines posted at trailheads or along the trails.

Seasonal Information

Copper Harbor, located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, particularly mountain bikers. The Copper Harbor Trails offer over 35 miles of world-class mountain biking trails, making it a must-visit for riders of all skill levels. The best times of the year to visit Copper Harbor for mountain biking are during the spring, summer, and fall seasons.

Spring, from April to June, is an excellent time to visit Copper Harbor for mountain biking. The trails are usually less crowded during this time, allowing riders to fully enjoy the serene beauty of the area. The weather is mild, with temperatures ranging from the 50s to 70s Fahrenheit, making it ideal for outdoor activities. Spring also brings vibrant wildflowers and lush greenery, enhancing the overall experience of riding through the trails.

Summer, from July to August, is the peak season for mountain biking in Copper Harbor. The trails are in their best condition, and the weather is warm and sunny, with temperatures ranging from the 70s to 80s Fahrenheit. The longer daylight hours allow for extended riding sessions, and the town comes alive with various events and festivals. However, it’s important to note that summer can be busier, so it’s advisable to plan your visit in advance and make any necessary reservations.

Fall, from September to October, is another fantastic time to visit Copper Harbor for mountain biking. The trails are surrounded by breathtaking fall foliage, with vibrant hues of red, orange, and yellow. The weather is cooler, ranging from the 50s to 60s Fahrenheit, creating a pleasant atmosphere for riding. Fall also offers a quieter and more peaceful experience, as the crowds tend to thin out after the summer season.

It’s worth mentioning that Copper Harbor Trails have seasonal closures during the winter months. Due to heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures, the trails are not accessible for mountain biking. However, winter enthusiasts can enjoy other activities such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and fat biking on designated winter trails.

In conclusion, the best times of the year to visit Copper Harbor Trails for mountain biking are during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. Each season offers a unique experience, from the blooming wildflowers in spring to the vibrant fall foliage. It’s important to plan your visit accordingly, considering factors such as weather, trail conditions, and crowd levels. And while the trails may be closed during winter, Copper Harbor still offers plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy during the snowy months.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Trail: A designated trail that is specifically designed to be accessible for individuals using wheelchairs, with smooth surfaces and gentle slopes.
2. Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces close to the trailhead, providing easy access for individuals with disabilities.
3. Accessible Restrooms: Restroom facilities equipped with features such as grab bars, wider doorways, and accessible sinks for individuals with disabilities.
4. Trailhead Accessibility: Accessible ramps or pathways leading to the trailhead, ensuring individuals with disabilities can easily access the trails.
5. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas equipped with accessible tables, allowing individuals with disabilities to enjoy outdoor dining.
6. Braille Signage: Trail signs and information boards featuring Braille text, providing accessibility for individuals with visual impairments.
7. Accessible Information: Trail maps, brochures, and other informational materials available in alternative formats such as large print or electronic versions for individuals with visual impairments.
8. Accessible Water Stations: Water stations designed to be easily accessible for individuals with disabilities, featuring lower height fountains or spouts.
9. Accessible Viewing Areas: Designated areas along the trails that provide accessible viewpoints for individuals with disabilities to enjoy the surrounding scenery.
10. Assistance Animals: The trails welcome service animals that are trained to assist individuals with disabilities, ensuring equal access for all.

Safety Information

When visiting the Copper Harbor Trails, it is important to keep the following safety information in mind:

1. Trail Conditions: Before heading out, check the trail conditions and weather forecast. Be aware of any closures, maintenance work, or hazardous conditions that may affect your ride.

2. Trail Difficulty: The Copper Harbor Trails offer a variety of difficulty levels, from beginner to advanced. Choose trails that match your skill level and experience. Do not attempt trails beyond your capabilities.

3. Protective Gear: Always wear a properly fitted helmet to protect your head in case of a fall or collision. Additionally, consider wearing knee and elbow pads, gloves, and appropriate footwear for added protection.

4. Bike Maintenance: Ensure your bike is in good working condition before hitting the trails. Check the brakes, tires, gears, and suspension to avoid any mechanical issues during your ride.

5. Hydration and Nutrition: Carry enough water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized throughout your ride. It is essential to maintain your energy levels, especially during longer rides.

6. Trail Etiquette: Respect other trail users, including hikers and runners. Yield to uphill riders and slower trail users. Use appropriate hand signals and communicate with others to avoid accidents or conflicts.

7. Wildlife Awareness: Copper Harbor is home to various wildlife species. Be aware of your surroundings and respect their habitat. Do not approach or feed any wild animals you may encounter.

8. Emergency Preparedness: Carry a first aid kit, a map of the trails, and a fully charged cell phone. Familiarize yourself with the location of emergency services and know how to contact them if needed.

9. Weather Conditions: Be prepared for changing weather conditions. Dress in layers and bring rain gear if necessary. Avoid riding during severe weather, such as thunderstorms or high winds.

10. Trail Respect: Help preserve the trails by staying on designated paths and not creating new ones. Do not litter and pack out any trash you may have. Respect any trail closures or restrictions for conservation purposes.

Remember, safety should always be a priority when enjoying outdoor activities. By following these guidelines, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience while visiting the Copper Harbor Trails.

Conservation Notes

The Copper Harbor Trails, located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, are known for their exceptional natural beauty and diverse ecosystems. These trails are managed by the Copper Harbor Trails Club, a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and preservation of the area. As of the latest assessment, the conservation status of the Copper Harbor Trails is considered to be in good condition.

Efforts have been made to protect and maintain the trails, ensuring minimal impact on the surrounding environment. The club has implemented sustainable trail building practices, such as using natural materials and avoiding sensitive areas. Regular maintenance activities, including trail repairs and erosion control, are carried out to prevent degradation and preserve the integrity of the trails.

The conservation status of the Copper Harbor Trails is also supported by the club’s commitment to educating trail users about responsible outdoor practices. Visitors are encouraged to stay on designated trails, respect wildlife and vegetation, and properly dispose of waste. By promoting environmental awareness and responsible recreation, the club aims to minimize the impact of human activities on the fragile ecosystems surrounding the trails.

Overall, the conservation status of the Copper Harbor Trails is considered to be well-managed and in good condition. The efforts of the Copper Harbor Trails Club, along with the support of local communities and trail users, have contributed to the preservation of this natural gem. Continued conservation efforts will be crucial in ensuring the long-term sustainability and enjoyment of the Copper Harbor Trails for future generations.

Leave a Comment