While Copper Harbor is perhaps best known and recognized for its superb mountain bike and hiking trails, the non-snow covered months represent only about 7 months of the year. The Copper Harbor Trails Club is committed to providing opportunities for year round recreation and has had a big hand in helping to develop and maintain some outstanding resources for the winter months. These include a ski and snowboard terrain park, two separate Nordic ski trail systems that total 22 km of groomed, classic cross country ski trails and opportunities to snowshoe on our 25 mile marked and mapped summer trail system.
Copper Harbor XC Ski Trails
This primarily easy rated trail system is composed of several main loops which are just over 9 km in total distance. The terrain is relatively flat and offers a variety of landscapes including wooded sections, open meadows, scenic views along the shore of Lake Fanny Hooe and several glimpses of Lake Superior enroute through the historic Fort Wilkins State Park.
The Trailhead is centrally located within the village behind the Copper Harbor Welcome Center with ample parking, heated restrooms and easy access to nearby restaurants, shops and motels. All trails are two way trails, which allow for some variations. Several laminated maps as points of reference are posted along the trail and personal copies may be purchased at the Gaslite General Store. These trails are maintained and groomed on a regular basis by volunteers from the Copper Harbor Trails Club. These trails are free to use, however, donations are appreciated to help support the grooming operations. Dogs are allowed.
From the trailhead, skiers may head counter-clockwise (westerly) for a 2km tour along Clyde’s Loop (especially nice on fair weather days), or a more direct route heading east to the point at where the loop merges with each other. From this point the trail crosses Second Street (aka Lake Manganese Road) behind the Fire Hall and resumes again next to Our Lady of the Pines Chapel. The initial section from here is a mandatory two-way trail for about .5km. From there skiers may choose to continue on a scenic stretch along Lake Fanny Hooe and through the West Campground at Fort Wilkins State Park or ski the trail that runs parallel to US Hwy 41, aka “West Campground Loop”. Skiers have the option to cross the (groomed) pedestrian bridge and continue on a trip through the past within the historic section of old Fort Wilkins, before linking to a lolly-pop loop through the East Campground. In total, the entire Fort Wilkins Loops are just over 7km.
Using the mountain bike and hiking trails, over 25 miles of marked and mapped trails exist, with the core located between the village of Copper Harbor and the Mountain Lodge. There are many other opportunities to blaze your own trail through the Keweenaw’s backcountry. Snowshoeing is a great way to explore the winter wonderland of the Keweenaw…if you can walk, you can snowshoe! Snowshoe rentals are available at the Keweenaw Adventure Company: www.keweenawadventure.com