Pack up your bikes and running shoes and head to the heart of "Copper Country" to explore the natural beauty and rich history of the Keweenaw Peninsula. The historic cities of Houghton, Hancock and Calumet offer the perfect place to stage your biking adventure with plenty of good lodging and dining options, parks and local attractions.
Houghton Waterfront Trail and Houghton-Chassell Trail
The Houghton Waterfront Trail and Houghton-Chassell Trail form one continuous 10.25-mile non-motorized multi-use trail on the former Houghton, Chassell and Southwestern Railway.
The Houghton Waterfront Trail begins at Houghton Waterfront Park where you will find parking, bathrooms, a picnic area, waterpark and RV camping. The 4.5-mile trail is paved with asphalt and well maintained. It follows along the water's edge through downtown Houghton (past the historic railroad depot), the campus of Michigan Tech, and a series of waterfront parks. When you reach a bridge over the Pilgrim River, you have arrived at Nara Nature Park. Here you can hike several boardwalks out into the Pilgrim River delta or explore several miles of nature trails.
South of the Pilgrim River Bridge the trail changes its name to the HoughtonChassell Trail as it transitions from asphalt to a fine limestone aggregate surface. The 5.75-mile pathway weaves through the front and backyards of a long series of summer cottages nestled between M-41 and the Portage Lake shoreline. Chassell Centennial Park marks your arrival in Chassell where you will find restrooms, water, picnicking, convenience stores and an ice cream shop. In its heyday, Chassell was a major lumbering town. A historical marker at the park provides a brief history of the community.
The 13.5-mile Hancock-Calumet Trail was built on the bed of the original Copper Range Railroad, the first railway constructed on the Keweenaw Peninsula (in 1889) to haul raw copper from the mines in Calumet to processing facilities in the port city of Hancock. This is a "motorized" multi-use trail, but suitable for runners or cyclists with mountain or fat tire bikes.
The trail begins near the base of the Houghton Hancock Bridge at Porvoo Park. The first two miles of trail are paved with asphalt as it climbs a steady incline. Just north of Ingot Street, the grade begins to level off and the trail surface transitions to crushed stone aggregate. As you travel through the scenic wooded terrain, the trail passes by Boston Lake, several wetlands and the remnants of abandoned mining operations.
The trail officially ends at the abandoned Copper Range Railroad Depot. Head east of the depot to explore historic downtown Calumet where you will find several restaurants, stores, historic sites and the Coppertown USA Mining Museum.