Great Lakes Direct

Copper Harbor, Michigan

Copper Harbor is a small, picturesque town located at the northern tip of Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula, known for its stunning natural beauty and rich mining history.

Aerial view of Copper Harbor
Aerial view of Copper Harbor

It is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts nowadays, offering world-class mountain biking trails, hiking, and scenic drives along the Brockway Mountain Drive.

The town also features the Fort Wilkins Historic State Park, which preserves a restored 1844 frontier military outpost and offers insights into the area's history.

Copper Harbor is also one of the ferry ports which access the Isle Royale National Park, a group of islands further to the north in Lake Superior.

Where is Copper Harbor?

Copper Harbor is located in Keweenaw County, the northernmost county in Michigan.

It is an unincorporated community located at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula on the southern shore of Lake Superior. It is the northernmost settlement in Michigan and has a permanent population of less than 150 residents, although the number of inhabitants does increase during the summer season.

How to get to Copper Harbor

Nearest airport to Copper Harbor

The closest airport to Copper Harbor is Houghton County Memorial Airport, which is located near the town of Hancock around 40 miles southwest of Copper Harbor. This small airport offers daily flights to and from Chicago O'Hare International Airport.

Marquette Sawyer Regional Airport is around 150 miles southeast of Copper Harbor and offers daily connections to Chicago and Detroit.

Driving to Copper Harbor

Copper Harbor marks the northern terminus of the US-41 highway, which runs more than 2000 miles south to Miami.

The M-26 state highway runs from the US-41 junction in Copper Harbor along the norther shore of the peninsula towards Eagle Harbor and Eagle River before rejoining the US-41 at Phoenix.

Drivers should note that cell-phone service can be non-existent north of Houghton.

Where to stay in Copper Harbor

If you know when you are planning to go but haven't decided on accommodation, then use the map below to get an idea of which properties are available and to compare prices during the period you wish to travel.

Enter your proposed dates and use the '+' to zoom in on a location and reveal more properties. Click on the price above a property to see more information.

(Please note that this selection will also include some vacation rentals for those who are interested in that form of accommodation!)

Check accommodation availability in Copper Harbor

Alternatively, if you are looking for a list of properties available in Copper Harbor you can check the accommodation listings on reservation platform

History of Copper Harbor

Copper Harbor's history is closely tied to the copper mining industry that once thrived on Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula.

The area's rich copper deposits were first used by Native Americans, who fashioned the metal into tools and weapons. European explorers and missionaries noticed these copper artifacts in the 17th century, leading to increased interest in the region.

The first large-scale copper mining operations began near Copper Harbor in the 1840s. The town quickly grew as a shipping point for the mined copper, with the construction of docks and a lighthouse to guide ships through the treacherous waters of Lake Superior.

The U.S. government also recognized the strategic importance of Copper Harbor during this time. Fort Wilkins was established in 1844 to maintain order in the region and protect the rapidly growing mining industry.

The town's population peaked in the late 19th century with several thousand residents. But as the copper mines began to decline in the early 20th century, so did Copper Harbor's population. Many miners and their families left the area in search of work elsewhere.

Miners Castle rock formation
The old Delaware copper mine

Today, Fort Wilkins has been restored as a historic state park, offering visitors a glimpse into the daily life of soldiers and their families in the mid-19th century. The Copper Harbor Lighthouse, built-in 1866, still stands as a testament to the town's maritime heritage.

While copper mining no longer drives the economy, Copper Harbor has found new life as a popular tourist destination, valued for its natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities.

Things to see and do in Copper Harbor

Copper Harbor Welcome Center is located in same building as the township hall and local post office. Brochures are available in the lobby when the offices are closed.

The Keweenaw Visitor Center is located in Calumet, about 30 miles back down the peninsula, at 56638 Calumet Avenue and is open on weekdays.

Fort Wilkins State Park

Fort Wilkins Historic State Park is a popular attraction located just outside Copper Harbor, Michigan. The park covers 700 acres and features a restored 1844 frontier military outpost, offering visitors a unique glimpse into the area's history.

The fort was originally established to maintain order in the region during the copper mining boom of the 1840s. It was named after U.S. Secretary of War William Wilkins and housed soldiers until 1870.

Fort Wilkins
Fort Wilkins

Today, visitors can explore the restored fort buildings, including the barracks, guardhouse, powder magazine, and officer's quarters.

Costumed interpreters provide daily guided tours and demonstrations during the summer months, showcasing various aspects of military life in the 19th century.

The park also features a lighthouse, constructed in 1866, which has been restored to its original appearance. Visitors can take a tour of Copper Harbor Lighthouse and learn about its importance in guiding ships through the treacherous waters of Lake Superior.

Brockway Mountain Drive

The drive from Copper Harbor to the top of Brockway Mountain includes many scenic outlooks along the ten mile journey.

View from Brockway Mountain
View from Brockway Mountain

The road was built in the 1930s and is credited with helping to boost the tourism in the area as the copper mining declined.

Getting to the top enables a fabulous panoramic view of Lake Superior, other inland lakes and the surrounding forests.

Mountain biking

Copper Harbor offers 50 miles of mountain bike trails suitable for all levels, which are accessible from the Community Building or from Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, an outdoor activities center and resort just outside Copper Harbor which offers family bike rentals and free group rides during the week.

The trail network around Copper Harbor has been designed as a Silver Level Ride Center by the International Mountain Bicycling Association.

Winter sports

Many of the mountain bike trails are given over to those on nordic skis or snowshoes during the winter months, although some trails closer to the community are left for fat tire bikers.

Mount Bohemia is a hidden gem of a ski resort in the Upper Peninsula with an average of 270 inches of snow and a 900-foot vertical. It is only 14 miles from Copper Harbor.

Ferry to Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale is the second-largest island in the Great Lakes after Manitoulin Island near Mackinaw City.

One of only three ferry services to the island operates from Copper Harbor. (The other two are from Houghton and from Grand Portage in Minnesota.)

The journey time for the transit across Lake Superior is three and a half hours, which allows time for a stop of just over two hours on a normal return day trip.

Isle Royale is designated a wilderness park and 99% of the island is preserved as wilderness. Most of the one per cent which is developed is at Rock Harbor, where the Copper Harbor ferry docks.

Those who are on a day trip may like to do one of the hikes in the vicinity of Rock Harbor, have lunch at Rock Harbor Lodge or listen to a Ranger talk before checking in for the return trip.

Other Lake Superior Towns

Marquette, MI


Marquette is the largest city in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and is known for its stunning natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities. The city is home to Northern Michigan University and boasts a lively downtown area. Marquette's Presque Isle Park offers breathtaking views of Lake Superior and features hiking trails, beaches, and a historic lighthouse.

Munising, MI


Munising is a small city located on the southern shore of Lake Superior, known as the gateway to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. This unique geological formation features colorful cliffs, waterfalls, and pristine beaches that attract visitors from around the world. Munising is also close to Grand Island, a historic island offering hiking trails, beaches, and remnants of an old fishing village.

Bayfield, WI


Bayfield is a small city on the Wisconsin shore known as the "Gateway to the Apostle Islands", a group of 22 islands featuring pristine beaches, lighthouses, and sea caves. Bayfield is also famous for its annual Apple Festival, which features live music, arts and crafts as well as apple-themed treats.

Two Harbor, MN

Two Harbors

Two Harbors is a port town located on Minnesota's North Shore of Lake Superior. The town is not far from the historic Split Rock Lighthouse, built in 1910 and offering stunning views of the lake. The Two Harbors area is also known for its unique geologic features, including the Gooseberry Falls State Park and the ancient lava flows at Palisade Head.

Copper Harbor Links

Copper Harbor Improvement Association :
Visit Keewenaw :
National Park Service - Isle Royale :
Copper Harbor Trails Club :