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The Beautiful Western Upper Peninsula

 

 

Water clearly defines the scenic beauty of Michigan's Western Upper Peninsula and nearby Wisconsin. The Midwest's most scenic terrain produces over 50 waterfalls in this region. Hundreds of inland lakes are scattered throughout the area including Lake Gogebic, The Cisco Chain, and miles and miles of majestic shoreline along the greatest lake of them all, Superior. Some rivers are set apart as "Wild & Scenic" for your enjoyment - with one (The Black) being given distinct recognition as a National Scenic Byway.

With the nearly one million acre Ottawa National Forest, Sylvania Recreation & Wilderness Areas, over 60,000 acre Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, and thousands of acres of County Forests you can find every form of outdoor recreation possible. Well developed trail systems allow access throughout the forests for hiking, backpacking, camping, river & lake canoeing, fishing, swimming, all-terrain vehicles, and much, much more. A new well marked intricate Mountain Bike Trail System that gives the biking enthusiast every level of challenge has recently been completed.

The area's rich Heritage of Iron Mining and Logging can be relived in Museums as well as some actual on-sight locations. County Fairs, Boat Races, Fishing Tournaments, Fourth of July Celebrations, Ethnic Festivals, Log Jamborees, Marathons, and even a Pumpkin Fest are activities every family member will enjoy. A well developed hospitality industry offers the vacationer every type of accommodation possible. Area restaurants offer a wide variety of local ethnic dishes as well as the expected American fare.

 


 

Big Snow Country

Lake Superior's massive open water expanse not only moderates our winter temperatures - it makes the midwest's best snow-making machine. As cool air masses move across Lake Superior, moisture is drawn up from its warmer open water and forced upward and moves inland to the BIG SNOW COUNTRY region. This is the famed "lake effect" that helps deliver an average of 200 inches of fresh powder per season. This natural phenomenon coupled with state-of-the-art snowmaking systems and powertilling equipment has made BIG SNOW COUNTY the premier destination in the Midwest.

Alpine Skiing

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BIG SNOW COUNTRY offers you five of the Midwest's Finest Ski Resorts:

all close enough to each other that you can easily ski a different one each day of the week. With vertical drops exceeding 600 feet, over sixty miles of slopes, and an uphill lift capacity exceeding 40,000 skiers per hour - BIG SNOW COUNTRY'S 5 Premier Ski Resorts keep you on the slopes.

Nordic Skiing

Explore Nordic Pathways through the sparkling white forest of BIG SNOW COUNTRY:

Whether it's the experience of a brilliant dawn in the Sylvania Wilderness, a silent trek through virgin Hemlock of the Porcupine Mountains, or the sheer excitement of international racers as they surge toward the finish line, you will find it all on the 350 kilometers of groomed trails throughout Big Snow Country.

Explore the majestic Lake Superior Shoreline, frozen waterfalls, pristine inland lakes, along trails ranging from beginner to expert

Snowmobiling

"Big Snow Country: Paradise made to order"

Big Snow Country is blessed with natural scenic beauty throughout the area and an abundance of snow to enhance the look! With access through Big Snow Country to over 2,000 miles of trails you'll find more quality riding time than you can handle in a winter. Climb along rugged escarpments that provide scenic overlooks, glide past breathtaking Lake Superior Ice Caverns, witness the progressive transformation of waterfalls becoming solid ice, and ride abandoned railroad beds that lead you over majestically high trestle bridges.

Meticulous grooming on a continuous basis and well marked trails will keep you riding throughout the day and night. The intricate trail system is so complete that area attractions, lodging, dining, and Big Snow Country's famous nightlife are all available by sled. From the Penokee Mountain Range to Lake Gogebic, from the Porcupine Mountains to the Cisco Chain of Lakes - Big Snow Country Snowmobiling offers you the best winter of riding you can imagine!

 


 

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Ironwood is the Western Gateway to Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the major city in the area with a population of over 6000 - the shopping, cultural and recreational center serving 50,000 people within a fifty mile radius.

Ironwood is a major four season recreation area. In summer, the area offers camping, hunting and fishing, boating, hiking, mountain biking and sightseeing. In winter, "Big Snow Country" offers miles of snowmobile trails and cross country ski trails, four major ski areas within a 15 minute drive of Ironwood and world class flying competition. The region is blessed with plenty of snow for excellent and consistant winter recreation fun.

The area boasts the Black River National Forest Scenic Byway; including numerous waterfalls and the Copper Peak Ski Flying Complex. In the summer and fall, Copper Peak offers Chairlift and elevator rides to the top of the world's largest Ski Jump.

The 954,000 acre Ottawa National Forest offers 27 campgrounds, access to 35 scenic waterfalls and miles of hiking trails in the North Country National Scenic Recreation Trail.

Other area attractions include Porcupine Mountain State Park, Black River Harbor, Little Girl's Point, Sylvania Wilderness Area and Lake Gogebic, the U.P.'s largest lake.

Attractions in the city of Ironwood include Hiawatha, the world's tallest Indian, the Depot Museum, the Historic Ironwood Theatre, Theatre North, and the Memorial Municipal Building.

Downtown Ironwood boasts a growing retail/cultural center, with furniture stores, gift shops, restaurants, lodging and more. The new Ironwood Commons and the US 2 corridor offer additional shopping, lodging and dining opportunities.

Summer events in the area include Festival Ironwood in July, the Gogebic County Fair and Paavo Nurmi Marathon in August, and 4th of July celebrations in Bessemer, Ramsay and Wakefield. In the winter, Bessemer hosts the Snowmobile Olympus first week in December and starting in 1995, the area will host the first annual Big SnowFest in January, offering numerous winter events and activities.

 


 

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Truly a vacationer's paradise, offers a great variety of year-round entertainment.

Summer visitors can enjoy great deep sea fishing aboard one of the many charter fishing boats operating our of nearby Saxon Harbor on Lake Superior, or fish a smaller "pond", the popular Gile Flowage, famous for great walleye fishing. Great hiking trails lead to more than a dozen spectacular waterfalls throughout Iron County, and ATV and mountain bike enthusiasts can enjoy over 100 miles of wilderness trails. The golfer can enjoy 18 holes of championship golf on the panoramic Eagle Bluff Gulf Course.

In the winter, the snowmobiler can enjoy 450 miles of beautifully-groomed, scenic snowmobile trails. Hurley was designated one of the "Top 25 snowmobiling vacation areas in North America", and is a three-time winner of Snowgoer Magazine's #1 Nightlife" award. Top all of this with a fifteen minute drive to any one of four major ski hills, or mile of groomed cross-country ski trails, and the vistor can have the ultimate winter sport experience.

 


 

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Throughout the year the hills and valleys of Bessemer provide you with beautiful vistas, cascading rivers and endless recreational opportunities. From skiing and snowmobiling to Mountain Biking, hiking, and fishing, your day can be as full as you want. If festivals are what you seek: Pumpkinfest, Snowmobile Olympus and the Best Fourth of July around awaits you in Bessemer.

With three major ski resorts just minutes from town, Bessemer is the center of winter recreation. Lodging ranges from trailside chalets to comfortable motels. Many of our motels have access to hundreds of scenic Snowmobile trails.

In Summer warm days and cool nights awaits you. A perfect place to escape the heat of the city. Spend a week, month or whole summer, you'll find something to do each and every day. Black River Harbor with charter fishing, waterfalls and National Forest campgrounds. The Pines & Mines Mountain Bike trail system has hundreds of miles of trails for all skill level of riders.

Our Fourth of July Celebration can't be beat. Each year our festival gets better. There is something for everyone, young and old. We have good old fashion parades, bands, picnics and of course fireworks. A week of activity that will keep you coming back.

"Come on over to our patch" as fall brings us the annual Pumpkinfest. Take in the crisp, clean air of a fall day as Main street is filled with vendor booths and contests like best carved pumpkin, seed spitting.

 


 

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The hub of activity is the Western U.P. located at the junctions of US 2, M28 and Cty Rd 519 on the south shore of beautiful Sunday Lake.

Winter turns us into Big Snow Country - 'Ski the Best' at Indianhead Mountain Resort, only 1 mile from downtown. Nordic skiing abounds with trails for all levels. Wakefield is located on the main snowmobile trails and offers gas, food and lodging. Many other winter activities are available closeby.

 


 

Lake Gogebic

Lake Gogebic is the largest lake in Upper Michigan and is often referred to as "an angler's paradise in one of the last frontier areas in the United States". Highlights of Lake Gogebic's fishing include Walleye, Jumbo Perch, Northern Pike, Small Mouth Bass and Whitefish. Based in a recent Michigan Department of Natural Resources records. Lake Gogebic hosts more state angler awards than any other lake in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The lake encompasses 13,800 acrea with 34.35 miles of beautiful shoreline, and is surrounded by almost one million acres of Ottawa National Forest. The depth of Lake Gogebic is about 30-35 feet. The lake has a high elevation caused by glaciers centuries ago. In other words, Lake Gogebic is 1290.81 feet above sea level, when the water reaches Lake Superior sea level is only 602 feet.

There are various fishing contests held on the lake. Among the popular contests are the monthly Rod and Reel Contest, the Lake Gogebic Bass Tournament, A Walleye Tournament, a Tagged Fish Contest (which lasts throughout the season) and several ice fishing contests. Prize money totalling thousands of dollars is awarded during these tournaments.

This region is also a prime hunting hot spot for whitetail deer, black bear, duck and goose, as well as partridge and other type of small game.

Lake Gogebic is often refered to as the "Gateway to the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park". The "Porkies", consist of 58,000 acres and is one of the Midwest's few remaining large wilderness areas. The park's 85 miles of marked hiking trails provide enchanting views of towering virgin timber, secluded lakes, sparkling waterfalls and miles of wild rivers and streams.

Families especially will enjoy Lake Gogebic water sports, sight-seeing, and hiking in the surrounding timberlands. Every season offers something different and beautiful.

 


 

Nearby Attractions

Cisco Chain of Lakes

The Famous Cisco Chain of Lakes is made up of fifteen lakes with over 271 miles of scenic shoreline. Boat trips of fifty miles or more, the many islands, and excellent fishing for walleyes, northerns, muskies, bass, and panfish lure visitors back year after year. The current state record musky was caught here on Thousand Island Lake in 1980. Resort facilities range from modest to deluxe housekeeping cottages.

Sylvania Recreation area

Lying along the northerly edge of Sylvania is a recreation area designed to welcome and accommodate those who enjoy an outdoor experience with a variety of services. Included is a 48 unit drive-in campground, beach, picnic area, information/registration station, showers, and boat landings on Clark, Crooked and Long Lakes.

Sylvania Wilderness

For the more adventurous, the 19,000 acre Sylvania Wilderness lies waiting to be "discovered". It is nationally known for its unique fishing, sparkling clear waters, majestic scenery, and back country camping. Transportation throughout the Wilderness is by foot or canoe, with motorized boats allowed only on Crooked Lake. Special fishing and camping rules apply in Sylvania and can be obtained, along with more information about the Ottawa, by contacting the District Ranger, Watersmeet, Michigan 49969, phone (906) 358-4551.

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Porcupine Mountain State Park is Michigan's premiere wilderness. The "Porkies" are ninety-two square miles of splendid scenery and gorgeous waterfalls; much of it pristine old-growth forest. Highlights of the Porcupine Mountains are many. Don't miss Lake of The Clouds, arguably the most scenic place in Michigan; Summit Peak Observation Tower, an expansive view of the virgin forest and Lake Superior, Presque Isle Falls, with numerous cascades over intricate shale formations; Union Bay, miles of sandy beach for swimming and finding pretty beach stones; and the Union Mine Scenic Trail, a self guiding historic tour. The Porkies have 87 miles of hiking/backpacking trails, rustic and modern camping, and trailside cabins. Call (906) 885-5275 for details.

Winter enthusiasts can downhill and crosscountry ski at the Porcupine Mountains. Snowmobilers can rev 'er up over 130 miles of groomed trails throughout Ontonagon County.

 


 

Travel Information

Bessemer Chamber of Commerce
Bessemer, Michigan 49911
(906) 663-4542

Hurley Chamber of Commerce
110 Iron Street
Hurley, Wisconsin 54534
(715) 561-4334

Ironwood Chamber of Commerce
100 East Aurora Street
Ironwood, Michigan 49938
(906) 932-1122

Lake Gogebic Chamber of Commerce
Bergland, Michigan 49910
(906) 575-3265

Porcupine Mountain Promotional Chamber
210 Lincoln
Silver City, Michigan 49953
(906) 885-5885

Porcupine Mountain State Park
599 M-107
Ontonagon, Michigan 49953
(906) 885-5275

Wakefield Chamber of Commerce
311 Sunday Lake Street
Wakefield, Michigan 49968
(906) 224-2222
(800) 522-5657

Western Upper Peninsula Convention & Visitor Bureau
137 East Cloverland Drive
Ironwood, Michigan 49938
(906) 932-4850
Recreation Report
(800) 272-7000
Lodging Referrals: (906) 932-4850

 

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