Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is known for its scenic beauty. We all know this. What you may not know is where the best vantage points are to take in some of this beauty while you’re exploring our sixteen thousand square miles of rugged landscape. Let me help you find the best Upper Peninsula views!
View from Copper Peak
Way over on the western end of the Upper Peninsula stands the world’s largest artificial ski jump. Copper Peak even towers over the ski hills of “big snow country.”
It stands twenty-six stories above the ground and 1,180 feet above nearby Lake Superior. And on a clear day, from the top of this million-dollar iron tower, you can see three states and Canada.
Pro tip: The Copper Peak ski jump is built to sway up to 18 inches in strong winds. Remember that when you’re on top and the darn thing starts moving.
Pine Mountain Views
Another Upper Peninsula ski jump, not quite as tall but also with an awesome view, is Giant Pine Mountain.
Located on the outskirts of Iron Mountain, Pine Mountain is home to the annual Pine Mountain Continental Cup. On that weekend every winter, it’s a busy place. But the rest of the year this ski jump is yours to explore.
It’s a little more rustic than Copper Peak, though. At Copper Peak you pay an admission fee, then take a ski lift to the top of the hill where you’re then guided to the top of the ski jump via an elevator and a few stairs.
You’ll find no such assistance at Pine Mountain. Here, you hobble up the “steps” (ie. boards screwed to the ramp) completely unassisted and at your own risk.
It’s free, though. So that’s a plus.
View from Sugarloaf Mountain
Ah, Sugarloaf. With its multiple viewing platforms and sweeping views of Lake Superior. Just a few miles north of Marquette, Sugarloaf Mountain is definitely one of the most popular scenic vistas in the U.P., but it still never gets too crowded. And it never gets old.
An awesome little hike up to the top is the icing on the cake. This is definitely one of my favorite views in the U.P. It’s also a must-stop on any Upper Peninsula fall color tour.
Bare Bluff Views
Much, much further off the beaten path lies one of the best views in the Keweenaw.
Bare Bluff is located in the Michigan Nature Association’s prime chunk of land on the eastern shore of the Keweenaw Peninsula.
To get there, you must navigate a mostly unmarked (and rocky) road and then hike a few miles, but man is it worth it. And of course, getting off the beaten path is also sort of the point, right?
Views at Whitefish Point
From the top of the lighthouse at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum on Whitefish Point, you’ll see the beach and buildings below as far out into Lake Superior “as the eye can see.”
You’ll probably see a freighter or three. And on a clear day, you’ll also see Canada, which is only a few miles across the bay.
Lake of the Clouds Views
It’s one of the most photographed spots in the Upper Peninsula, and for good reason. It’s beautiful, and it’s easily accessible.
Easily accessible after you drive several hundred miles to get to the Porcupine Mountains State Park in the first place, that is.
Want a slightly different perspective? Hike the Escarpment trail. Great view, fewer people.
Views at Mt. Arvon
Would you expect the highest point in Michigan to also offer one of the best views? Yes, yes you would.
And it does offer an awesome view. That wasn’t always the case, but now a few choice trees have been cleared and a bench has been installed so you can sit for a while and take it all in. There’s also a grill and picnic table on-site in case you want to make an afternoon of it.
More Scenic Views in the Upper Peninsula
Are there more than seven scenic vistas in the Upper Peninsula? Yes, of course, there are. Many, many more. But they are beyond the scope of this article.
At any rate, now you can cross the Mackinac Bridge armed with your new DSLR and this blog post to guide you to a few of the better ones. Enjoy!