Keweenaw National Historical Park: Step into history

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Photo courtesy of Keweenaw NHP

The Keweenaw National Historical Park tells the story of the men and women who, from 7,000 years ago until the 1900s, mined copper in this northern-most peninsula in Michigan. Though the mines have since closed, they and the people that worked in them are an integral part of the culture of this region.

Visiting this park is different than seeing other national park sites. It’s a collaborative effort between the National Park Service and private and public entities throughout the peninsula. In this park you can explore 21 Keweenaw Heritage Sites between Ontonagon and Copper Harbor. Choices include historic mine tours, museums and breathtaking mountain and lakeshore vistas. For your planning purposes, most of the sites close in late October and reopen in late May.

Choosing your path. A good place to start your tour is the Visitor Center in downtown Calumet. Hours vary by season, so click here, or call 906-483-3176 for current open times. There is no entrance fee to this national historical park, however, many of the individual sites charge an activity or entrance fee and others welcome donations.

Planning where to go and what to do is easy with these itineraries. Children will enjoy earning a Junior Ranger badge by completing the activities in the park’s free booklet or doing the scavenger hunt. You also can take park ranger guided tours. Are you intrigued by ghost towns? Keweenaw boasts 18 sites to see while you’re here.

Special events and activities. The Keweenaw Peninsula is a fascinating place to visit all year round. Check our events calendar or the Keweenaw Peninsula Convention & Visitors Bureau website for listings of events and activities at each of the different sites. One place you’ll definitely want to include on your summer itinerary is Fort Wilkins Historic Park. It has one of the most active summer programs that will give you a deeper understanding of what life was once like in Copper Country. And be sure to try a pasty, the meat pie that sustained many a copper miner, while you’re here, too.