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  1. #1

    Default Roadtripping to UP Michigan

    Mu hubby and I are taking a much needed road trip/vaca from the Chicago area to the UP Michigan. We love nature, hiking, taking pics, quaint little towns, art and people and basically taking it all in... We'd especially like to see the northern lights. Would love some help planning, we have 1 week starting next Tuesday the 19th (that's in 1 week!) I know, I know, a little late to be starting to plan but the trip is kind of spontaneous. Any advise or insight would be great! Thanks!!!

  2. #2

    Default Got to love the Yoo P!

    In another life, over 32 years ago, I spent the summers of 1981 and 1982 in the town of Crystal Falls, MI. I supervised a large crew of geologists and technicians working essentially the entire UP west of about Munising and including most of the Wisconsin border counties. With that, we traveled much of the UP on work duties and much on our days off.

    I think any UP traveler interested in history and quaint towns must visit L'Anse, Houghton-Hancock, and the entire Keweenaw Peninsula, making sure to get all the way out to Copper Harbor. The terrain is hilly to low mountains along the spine of the peninsula, and that provides for some great views of Lake Superior at many points along and off of US 41. The Yoopers treasure their brief summers (and actually your trip would not be considered a summer visit--where the official seasons on the UP are Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter, and Construction), and most of the few warm season weekends see a festival of some sort in some small towns. The Copper Country area is known for its native copper art work produced by craftsmen(women) of the region. Copper Country is also Finnish country, and some of the best pasties I've had the pleasure of devouring were made right on US 41 in Hancock, about a mile up the mountain from downtown headed north. There is a lengthy underground tour of a deep native copper mine just north of Hancock, too.

    A very nice and off-the-beaten track sight to see is Point Abbaye. Look at the map of the UP and you'll see a slender "finger" of land looking like a miniature Keweenaw Peninsula. That's Point Abbaye. A series of county roads, the last several miles of them gravel, lead to a small parking area a few hundred yards from the point. Those with 4WD or high-clearance vehicles can drive to within 25 yards. At the point, Lake Superior surf crashes on interesting outcrops of the Jacobsville Sandstone, a pink to brown sandstone/conglomerate with large pebbles scattered throughout. On one side is the Keweenaw Peninsula spine of low mountains, directly offshore are the Huron Islands, and to the south-southeast are the Huron Mountains. A long series of good to rough gravel roads skirts the southern edge of the Huron Mountains from about Skanee to Champion, where the route emerges back at US 41 west of Marquette.

    Back in the day we spent a few nights in Ontonagon, where the oddities of geography and the time of year (midsummer providing LONG days at that high latitude and the UP counties other than those bordering Wisconsin keeping on Eastern time as does the Lower Peninsula and eastern UP) gave us sunsets well past 9pm (I seem to recall some post 10pm sunsets, actually) and where we enjoyed some stellar Northern Lights shows lying on blankets on the Lake Superior beach. The Porcupine Mountains State Park is just outside of Ontonagon.

    The drive more or less along the lakeshore from Marquette to Munising is nice, with the reward at Munising being Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. There are some Lake Superior views attainable by gravel and sand roads and paved highways between Pictured Rocks and Whitefish Point, too, including a dramatic high sand bluff plunging some 200' to the narrow beach near Grand Marais.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Hopefully for me in July

    I am hoping to see some of the UP in July -- so this is great!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    The UP is one of my favorite places to go for a quick getaway, and Foy has already provided some fantastic suggestions.

    If you are heading up to the Keweenaw Peninsula, then I would second his suggestion of touring the Quincy Mine. It really is a great tour. While there, also check out the nearby town of Calumet - most of which is actually a part of the Keweenaw National Historic Park, with numerous great sites to check out. If you're looking for a unique and very affordable place to stay, we really enjoyed Vics Cabins - a vintage cabin court style motel, complete with kitchens on our last trip up there.

    Foy touched on it at the end of his post, but the more eastern sections of the Lake Superior Shore in the UP are also very enjoyable. Pictured Rocks is a great area to spend some time, and I found the little town of Paradise a very nice little place that makes a good jumping off point for Tahquamenon Falls, The Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point, as well as the scenic drive along the shore heading towards Sault Ste. Marie.

    And as Foy also mentioned, it certainly is not yet summer in the UP - there is snow in the forecast tomorrow! Although the rest of this week looks like it will mostly be in the 50s and 60s.

  5. #5

    Default Clarification

    For any interested in visiting Point Abbaye, the beginning point is L'Anse. When I was up there in October 2013 for the first and only time since 1982, there were some signs, but it'd be a good idea to ask for directions to confirm.

    The road(s) from Skanee to Champion have not been traversed by yours truly since 1982. If anything, I'd imagine they're better, but things don't happen on the UP at the same pace expected elsewhere, so there again, I'd do some homework before cutting through there.



  6. #6


    Thanks so much Foy!!! Lots of great info, will be super helpful!!!

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