March 1, 2011
road | touring
As mentioned elsewhere on this site, this isn't the definitive Keweenaw travel/recrecation site. We're hoping to provide a solid resource for anyone interested in cycling the Keweenaw – on road or off. Nevertheless, there are features worth checking out that a person traveling through the countryside might easily enough miss. Or, if aware of it, that a person might consider choosing as a destination for a particular ride.
Scattered about the Keweenaw are a dozen or so impressive waterfalls (most are visible from the road, but some require a bit of a trek). Favorites include Jacob's Falls on M-26 between Eagle River and Eagle Harbor and Haven Falls in Lac la Belle. Hungarian Falls in Tamarack City are worth the effort, but require some foot travel and are not visible from the road. Scout around online for some great resources with detailed directions on how to reach these and other falls.
As one might expect, there are plenty of beaches both along the periphery of the Keweenaw as well as along the shores of some of the dozens of inland lakes in the area.
Anyone who has stepped foot in Lake Superior, regardless of season, is likely to describe the experience with one word: cold, possibly with one or more adjectives that describe just how cold. During a hot summer and given favorable winds and a shallow beach, the big lake can, however, warm to surprisingly comfortable temperatures. The sandy public beaches at the mouth of the Misery River or Agate Beach are always good bets. Though fairly close to one another, the Misery River beach is generally the quieter of the two. The sugar-sand beach in Bete Gris (just past Lac la Belle on the Keweenaw's southern shore is as fine a place as any to spend a sunny afternoon, especially if the wind is from the north.
To avoid the dreaded bonk while pedaling through the Keweenaw, it's a good idea to head out prepared. While most towns have at least a gas station and/or convenience store, you can easily pedal 40 miles before coming across one (e.g., between Lake Linden and Lac La Belle, provided the shop in Lac La Belle is open). Water can likewise be hard to come by. Water that you would want to drink, that is.
There are a handful of shops in the area, four of which we'd recommend: The Bike Shop and Downwind Sports in Houghton, Cross Country Sports in Calumet, and Keweenaw Adventure Company in Copper Harbor. The first three are open all year round, the Adventure Company, while seasonal, can be a lifesaver if you encounter mechanical problems out on the road.
Hardly a roadside attraction, the Keweenaw's lone airport (CMX), located midway between Hancock and Calumet, is serviced by two flights daily to and from Chicago O'Hare by United. If you're looking to travel to the Keweenaw via air, other options include Marquette, MI; Rhinelander, WI; and Minneapolis and Duluth, MN.