Living in Full Color: Fall in the Keweenaw
Autumn in the Keweenaw is a special time of year. With the crisp, cool air comes colorful leaves which set the landscape ablaze with vibrant hues of gold, orange, and red. While every year is different, colors start to change toward the end of September and peak around the middle of October. “Leaf peeping” is a great reason to plan your visit, but there’s so much to do once you get up here! Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
- Paddle the Keweenaw’s waterways. The Keweenaw’s fall colors are beautiful from any vantage point, but there’s something special about the experience from the water. Grab a kayak or paddleboard from Portage Paddle Sports in Houghton/Hancock or Keweenaw Adventure Company in Copper Harbor and enjoy miles of calm waters, inland lakes and scenic landscapes.
- Taste our fall brews. Grab a craft beer or local hard cider at the Keweenaw Brewfest on September 7th at Chutes & Ladders Park in Houghton. Join craft brewing enthusiasts and try flavors from vendors from across the Upper Peninsula, Lower Michigan and Wisconsin. Can’t make the festival? Stop by the Keweenaw Brewing Company and try their November Gale Pale Ale for some local fall flavor.
- Get the view from Bohemia. Ride the ski lift at Mount Bohemia Resort to the top and view the Keweenaw colors for miles around. Weekend rides start the last weekend of September run through mid-October (weekends only).
- Visit Hungarian Falls. The Keweenaw has dozens of beautiful waterfalls, but Hungarian Falls‘ combination of verticle drops, scenic trails, and general accessibility, make it a great fall treat. Located just a few miles outside of the Hancock, the area includes three sets of a falls, and visitors are treated to an awesome spectacle year-round during their visit to this rugged gorge.
- Discover the Pilgrim Community Forest. Hiking enthusiasts can spend weeks traversing the region’s hiking trails, but there’s a set just south of Houghton that even some of the locals don’t know about! The Pilgrim Community Forest was established in 2014 by the Keweenaw Land Trust, and it contains several miles of rolling hiking and mountain biking paths suitable for a wide range of activity and skill levels. The forest offers a notable cold-water trout stream popular with local fishermen.
- Enjoy a live performance. The historic Calumet Theatre & Michigan Tech’s Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts offers visitors the opportunity to experience live performances by nationally and internationally acclaimed artists. Don’t miss the cast of The Red Jacket Jamboree and Bluesman John Latini perform at The Calumet Theatre on October 3rd as they bring you an evening of mystery and suspense during the recording of two spooktacular episodes that will have you on the edge of your seat!
- Take in a Superior Sunset. Grab your camp chairs and head to one of the Keweenaw’s amazing Lake Superior beaches. With the shorter days, you won’t need to stay up so late to catch the gorgeous sunset or see the Keweenaw’s dark night skies. Be sure to bring a blanket and plenty of firewood though. You’ll need to stay warm as the wind off Superior can be chilly this time of year. Keweenaw Pro-Tip: Grab a block of delicious fudge from Calumet Mercantile/Copper World. It’s going to take your s’more to the next level.
- Watch a Huskies hockey match. Up in the Copper Country, we’re pretty proud of our hockey heritage (Houghton’s the birthplace of professional hockey after all). And a visit to the Keweenaw can’t end without catching a hockey match in John MacInnes Student Ice Arena as the Huskies take on some out-of-town competition. You’ll leave a little hoarse after belting out various hockey chants led by the Michigan Tech pep band, but you won’t regret a fun-filled night that’ll surely end in a Husky victory! The season begins in October and runs through March. Check out the full schedule.
- Grab your flag. Join hundreds of students from across the world on September 21st during Michigan Tech’s Parade of Nations as the Keweenaw community celebrates worldwide culture and national awareness in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This year Parade of Nations will be celebrating “30 Years of Bridging Cultures”. The parade begins at 11 am, making its way through Hancock across the Portage Lake Lift Bridge to Houghton. The procession ends at the Houghton Dee Stadium in Houghton, a historic waterfront venue transformed into a global marketplace featuring dozens of food and craft booths and performers from around the world.
- Rent a side-by-side for a fall ride. Gas-up your side-by-side and join other ATV/UTV enthusiasts as they ride over 160 miles of maintained trails throughout the Keweenaw. Ride from Houghton to Copper Harbor with plenty of stops in-between. Need a ride? Stop by Copper Country Rentals in Calumet to rent your ATV or side-by-side.
- The ultimate Keweenaw selfie. View the vibrant fall colors from the top of Brockway Mountain. The breathtaking scenery of fall’s foliage, Lake Superior and Copper Harbor provides the best Michigan photo-op on Lake Superior according to readers of Lake Superior Magazine. Okay, we tied with a couple of others, but let’s not get bogged down in the details.
- Hit The Flow before the snow. No list of Keweenaw attractions is complete without a mention of Copper Harbor’s IMBA Silver Level trails. Nationally recognized as some of the best mountain bike trails in the midwest (the country really), your experience takes on a new perspective during the fall as the leaves change and the weather gets cooler. Can’t miss fall event: The 26th Annual Copper Harbor Trails Fest August 31st – September 1st.