The Keweenaw Peninsula is one of the most beautiful and picturesque spots in the Upper Peninsula, which means it is one of the most beautiful and picturesque in the whole state of Michigan; which means that it is one of the most beautiful and picturesque spots in the country. Brockway Mountain is the most beautiful and picturesque spot on the Keweenaw Peninsula.
Named for David Brockway, a U.P. pioneer, Brockway Mountain and the Brockway Mountain Drive stand 1,320 feet (402m) above sea level. This works out to be about 720 feet above the surface of Lake Superior which means beautiful views in every direction – you can even see Isle Royale in the distance out over the water.
Brockway Mountain is a volcanic landform – formed long before the ice ages, gound down by the glaciers and millenia of wind, rain and snow. This is quite a contrast from “copper country” and the Canadian Shield that covers the western Upper Peninsula
The 8.9 mile Brockway Mountain Drive was built in 1933, using the Michigan Civilian Conservation Corps – a crew designed to give jobs to unemployed men (mostly miners) during the great depression. It was carved out and leveled by hand and sometimes horses; the use of machinery and instruments meant fewer jobs for the people in need of work. Construction lasted for two years, and the road was opened to the public in 1935.
The road itself runs along the Brockway fault as a scenic loop off of M-26 and is closed during the winter when it is only open to snowmobile traffic. Year round though, there is no posted speed limit – this is not a license to drive fast, however. Just off the drive, The Brockway Mountain Audobon Wildlife Sactuary covers about 80 acres, with several walking trails and scenic overlooks. Birds of prey are often present as well as some other rarely seen flora and fauna.
I’m proud to say that I have Upper Peninsula blood in my veins. I’m proud to say that I’ve spent much time above the bridge, breathing clean air and swimming in cold water. But I’ve never been to Brockway Mountain. I must go to Brockway Mountain!
Nathan Smathers, feature writer