The Keweenaw Peninsula-Michigan’s Copper County
That’s as far North as you get in Michigan and nearly in the Midwest.
I was fortunate enough to have a bit of a tour from Corunna grad and current Michigan Tech Husky Kate Feldpausch (Insta @katelynfeldpausch) during my time in the area!
I will start with Michigan Tech and the trails near campus.
First off, damn Houghton as a city is hilly as balls!!!
Agate street was right next to where I stayed, and according to a Strava segment, is a 267 foot climb averaging 8.5% grade in near .5 miles.
Second, the trails in the area are extremely technical, challenging, up and down, but also beautiful. Containing shade, streams, grass, dirt, rock, and all different types of terrain.
Loaded with Strava segments and extremely close to the campus, these trails are awesome for recovery runs, but not great for your friend that rolls their ankle often.
They can be used for mountain biking, running, or hiking and will take you all but into Portage Lake (basically a connector across the peninsula of Lake Superior).
The trails also have entrances right near Houghton High School’s track (home of the Gremlins, awesome mascot, shout out to @james_gedris) and the track at Michigan Tech as well if you need to get some strides done during or after a run!
During my run with Kate we actually did some hill strides on what they call “Hairpin Hill” due to the turn around being tight, which is another great option for strength being both on grass and a hill.
In Houghton there is also a great bike path along the canal/lake/water!
This trail is mainly flat, contains some tree coverage, a few small parks along the trail, and is both paved as well as turning to a more crushed gravel farther East.
This trail would be great for a tempo, a really easy shakeout, some strides, a bike ride, and forming a loop (which I eventually did).
The final things that I explored while at Houghton were just past Portage Lake Golf Course or just South of the trails.
These were some nice paved back roads involving quite a bit of up and down (mostly up).
Denton road was a nice connector, both up and down, just a quality road.
From there I turned down Paradise road, which was anything but, this puppy was all uphill if you were running North.
From there I discovered what is labeled as “The Plunge” because it is about 1K long and 182 feet of climbing. I made sure to pretend to be tough on this hill and unknowingly missed the segment record by 7 seconds (I should have gone BTTW).
These roads make boys of men, and would be awesome for long runs, hill workouts, or just something to challenge yourself.
This is all of the running I checked out from Michigan Tech itself…
Now we get into the farthest North I went… Copper Harbor!!
I did not actually run up here, I did do a bike and check out some parks however.
Copper Harbor itself is an adorable small town, with some cool shops, state parks, and a court side seat to Lake Superior.
First off, Brockway Mountain drive. There are small trails around it that can be run, they wouldn’t be easy, but would likely be worth checking out.
I biked up Brockway mountain from nearby Hunter’s Point Park, which was about 4.5 miles to the top which then gave a great view. This is a manageable run or bike, but it wouldn’t be something I would do too often.
Other than that, I drove down part of High Rock Bay road to see Horseshoe Harbor.
This is a long dirt road that stretches to the tip of the peninsula right down to the water, that would be awesome to run down.
I am positive that I missed some awesome spots to run or ride in Keweenaw, but for now I will leave you with that.
Summer Training- 7.4
Winter Training- 3.3
This area is awesome for working on some strength during easy days and long runs especially. With many of the roads to be explored being very hilly, and the trails not being for hard running (at least I wouldn’t) you could gain a lot of strength from just banking some miles here.
I would imagine trying to tempo here wouldn’t be the most ideal, fartleks would be pretty fun but depending on how fast you are trying to run the reps, there aren’t a ton of options, and hill workouts would be easy to find!
The temperature is cooler, there are many places to jump in during or after runs, and you are a short travel from many cool areas and lots of snowmobile trails to explore as well!
I am not a huge winter guy, but I can’t imagine the trails being great at that time, and the copious amounts of snow must limit options.
I think that spending 2 weeks training during the summer in this area would be a jackpot! You could explore enough, grab some strength, and not get tired of the routes or how tough it may be on easy days.
Signing out about Houghton and the Keweenaw Peninsula