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Michigan dnr > wildlife viewing guide > upper peninsula > keweenaw

13 Keweenaw PeninsulaUpper Peninsula

Brockway Mountain Drive,
Fort Wilkins State Park and
Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary 

wildlife viewing  |  directions and facility information

Brockway Mountain  view of road  penninsula  view of the water
Photo: © Dave Case

  

Keweenaw Coast
Photo: MI DNR

The Keweenaw Peninsula is the northernmost portion of the Michigan mainland and reaches almost halfway across Lake Superior toward the Canadian border. There are myriad opportunities for wildlife watchers in the small area between Eagle Harbor and Copper Harbor; three of the best are Brockway Mountain Drive, Fort Wilkins State Park, and Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary. Brockway Mountain Drive is the highest American road between the Alleghenies and the Black Hills of South Dakota. It has numerous pullouts and vistas from which you can look out upon Lake Superior and the surrounding "copper country." Fort Wilkins State Park is a long, narrow spit of wooded land that lies between Lake Superiorís Copper Harbor and Lake Fanny Hooe, with additional state-owned land on the south side of Lake Fanny Hooe. The Lake Superior coastline here is one of the most beautiful stretches of shoreline in the state. Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary is one of the few remaining tracts of virgin white pine left in Michigan and is owned by the Michigan Nature Association. For additional information on these sites and other wildlife viewing attractions on the Keweenaw Peninsula, contact the Keweenaw Tourism Council at 1-800-338-7982. Another excellent source is the Keweenaw National Historic Park, National Park Service, (906) 337-3168, headquartered in Calumet. This historic park preserves and interprets the copper mining industry and communities that flourished in the 1800s and 1900s in whatís still called the Copper Country.

Wildlife Viewing

view of the water
Photo: © Dave Case

Wildlife Viewing along Brockway Mountain Drive: This scenic drive offers some of the best scenery in the state. Be sure you bring your camera, especially during fall color season. The biggest wildlife attraction here is the migration of birds-of-prey. From mid-April through mid-June, (mid-May is best), watch migrating hawks, eagles, falcons, and vultures ride the updrafts of air that come across Lake Superior and are forced up the mountainside. Crows, hawks, and ravens also nest on these cliffs. Visitors can look for wildlife and an assortment of forest and wetland types in the following 5 sanctuaries along or near Brockway Mountain Drive: Brockway Mountain and Lake Bailey wildlife sanctuaries, both owned by the Michigan Audubon Society; and Esrey Park, Upson Lake, and James Klipfel Memorial nature sanctuaries, all owned by the Michigan Nature Association . Various facilities are offered along the route and in Eagle Harbor and Copper Harbor.

Wildlife Viewing at Fort Wilkins State Park: This park is best known for its 1840s-era wooden fort, but the wildlife viewing opportunities available here are significant as well. Black bears are fairly common in the park and the local area. DO NOT FEED THE BEARS! Red foxes, coyotes, and snowshoe hares live here year-round and may be seen occasionally. Loons may be observed on both Lake Superior and Lake Fanny Hooe. Flying squirrels are common residents of the park. These small, shy squirrels are often seen at dusk in the large red pines located in the east campground. Although flying squirrels are fairly common throughout Michigan, there are not many locations where they can be easily seen because they are almost strictly nocturnal (active only at night). Watch for them here at dusk as they scamper up trees and launch themselves into gentle glides between trees.

Wildlife Viewing at Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary: A walk on the trails at this site is like a trip back in time. See a remnant of the 100-foot tall white pines that once covered much of Michigan. Large, colorful, pileated woodpeckers find homes in hollow cavities they create in the huge pines. The sanctuary also boasts 23 species of ferns and 13 species of wild orchids, so this site is a botanistís dream.


MapDirections

From Houghton, drive north on US-41 to M-26 at Phoenix. Turn left (northwest) and continue past Eagle Harbor. About 3 miles past Eagle Harbor, follow the signs to Brockway Mountain Drive. The Drive ends at Copper Harbor.
To Fort Wilkins State Park and Estivant Pines: Enter Copper Harbor on US-41/M-26 and follow the signs to Fort Wilkins State Park or Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary.

Ownership: Michigan Department of Natural Resources (906) 289-4215
Michigan Nature Association
326 E. Grand River Ave.
Williamston, MI 48895
Tel: (517) 655-5655
Email: michigannature@michigannature.org

Size: Brockway Mountain Drive: 9.5 linear miles
Fort Wilkins State Park: 203 acres
Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary: 377 acres

Closest Town: Copper Harbor

Weather and Driving Directions for Copper Harbor

Plan Your Trip with travel.michigan.org!

More information can be found by visiting the DNR's site (link leads to web app allowing users to search for campgrounds, harbors, trails and more), or by conducting a Google search:

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