Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is home to some great sites you aren’t likely to find anywhere else in the state. Copper Peak in Ironwood Michigan is just one example of these great sites. But, to see how impressive it is, you really need to make the drive to Michigan’s Gogebic County yourself.
The Copper Peak ski flying hill in Ironwood Michigan is pretty awesome. The structure towers 241 feet above the crest of the hill on which it stands. If you like big attractions, Copper Peak is one you won’t want to miss.
Getting to Know Copper Peak Michigan
Copper Peak is marketed as The Eiffel Tower of the North and, honestly, that’s not too far off. It’s also marketed as an adventure ride. At such great heights, Copper Peak offers visitors one of the most awe-inspiring, beautiful vistas you’re likely to find anywhere in the Midwest.
Actually, it’s the largest ski jump on the American continent and offers a spectacular view of three states and Canada on a clear day. This vista is, in a word, impressive. If you seek adventure, add Copper Peak to your Upper Peninsula bucket list.
I made it to the top! First you take a chair lift up 800′ then you walk over to the structure and take an 18 story elevator up and if you want to go all the way you walk another 8 stories to the top. I made it even walking up with my cane. It does sway a bit on top but the view is spectacular. You can see 85 miles across Lake Superior plus Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and even maybe Canada on a good day. I’v been wanting to do this for the last 4 or 5 years and finally made it. Fall colors were running late this year so I wasn’t there when they were peaking. Gives me an excuse to do it again next year. Also great staff.– ronjmp, TripAdvisor review
History of Copper Peak MI
Copper Peak was built in 1969 and was inaugurated just one year later. Constructed by Lauren Larsen, it was designated a Michigan State historic site in 1971 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
After Larsen, a Minnesota engineer, built the impressive ski flying hill, it became the site of several competitions and international events. In 1994 — the year flights stopped — the site allowed jumps up to 518 feet.
Between 1970 and 1994, it was the site of 10 competitions and two international events. In recent years, plans have been made to hold events there and improvements and expansions have been made.
Fast Facts About the Copper Peak Ski Jump
- The jump reaches an elevation of 1,782 feet above sea level, making it one of the highest points in Michigan. (The highest point is Mount Arvon.)
- It’s 1,180 feet above Lake Superior.
- The top of this Michigan ski jump is 26 stories above the ground below.
- From the top on a clear day, you can see more than 2,500 square miles, including Isle Royale, the Porcupine Mountains, the Apostle Islands, and much more.
- In competition, ski flyers accelerate to speeds near 70 mph and can fly 600 feet or more.
- Copper Peak was built in 1970 at a cost of over $1 million.
- It’s the world’s largest ski jump/ski flying structure.
It’s a great experience to climb to the top and see to the end of the horizon. Great sight seeing all season round. But seeing the Fall colors is incredible, if you’re into that kind of thing.– jake174, TripAdvisor review
Close to Lake Superior, so a great stop on the way to the beach!
To get the best experience try and get to the top of the hill under your own power, via hike, bike or snowshoe. There’s just something about putting in the effort to understand how tall it really is.
The Copper Peak Adventure Ride
So, what’s the Copper Peak adventure ride like? You can traverse up to the same heights that athletes have done in years past and get some incredible views in the process. How in the heck do you get to the top of Copper Peak?
The journey to get there is interesting, to say the least, but it’s well worth it if you’re seeking adventure. Basically, you purchase a ticket at the office and ride an 800-foot chairlift from the bottom of the hill up to the hill’s crest (the base of the ski jump). Here you can meander around a 360-foot copper-bearing volcanic outcrop.
But, the journey isn’t over yet. Then, an attendant guides you into an elevator that takes you up 18 stories — that’s almost 200 feet if you’re curious. You’re now at the main observation deck. Bring your camera with you because the views up here are incredible.
At that point, the attendant stays by the elevator. But wait, there’s more! If you really want a memorable experience, walk an additional eight stories up to the top starting gate if your nerves can handle it.
If you make the trek, imagine yourself as one of the athletes from the past and what it must have felt like to make this climb and see the view from this height. No matter how high you go, be proud of the journey you’ve taken and enjoy the views. After all, it’s the entire reason you made this trip.
As the brochure says, “everything about Copper Peak is big.”
Enjoying the Awesome Copper Peak View
If you love soaking in the beauty of nature, there may not be many places you can go that will top this view. From the top, you can see a magnificent, unobstructed vista that showcases the best of the Midwest.
You’ll be able to look out over 2,500 square miles, three different states — Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin — and even into Canada.
That’s not all! As you soak in the view, gaze out over Lake Superior, the Porcupine Mountains, and the Apostle Islands of Wisconsin. The view really can’t be beaten, and you’ll get to see so much of the Midwest in one shot.
The views are beautiful, the opportunities for picture-taking are plentiful, and your experience will be memorable.
While in the area , we were looking for waterfalls to see and had also heard of this place. Glad we stopped! You take a ride in ski lift chairs to see the ski jump. Once up on the top you can take an elevator to tip of the ski jump… Excellent views from the area. We had beautiful views of the valleys below. Being October 1st the fall colors were Amazing!– 177gregm via TripAdvisor
Seeing the Majestic Fall Colors at Copper Peak
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a truly magical place in the fall and one of the best places anywhere to see beautiful fall colors. The radiant shades of red, green, yellow, and orange are a sight to behold, especially if you catch them at just the right time.
If you’re traveling in the Upper Peninsula during mid to late September and early October, take a detour in Ironwood to visit Copper Peak. The views you see of the fall colors will be unlike any you’ve seen before, and it’s sure to be one of the highlights of your trip if you’re doing a fall color tour.
We went to Ironwood, Bessemer Michigan area to see the fall colors. We have been in the area before mostly early spring to see the most beautiful waterfalls, Copper peak ski flying hill? Not a hill, mountain? Is a much better description.
You ride the chair lift half the way up, then an elevator, then out on the tallest structure I have ever been on, I have been on taller, but surrounded by windows and concrete – not on open grate steps, it feels like you are standing on air, you can see Canada on a clear day across Lake Superior, I froze in my tracks for a while waiting to muster the courage to complete the journey to the top.
The Future of Copper Peak
Copper Peak is a great tourist destination that draws thousands of visitors each year.
But, if all goes according to plan, this will be much more than just a tourist attraction in the future. The mission of those who run Copper Peak is to re-establish the site as the longest active ski jump in the world with competitions in the summer and winter.
In March 2022, Copper Peak received $20 million in state funding to help make the dream a reality, and it may just be the site of competitions again someday.
In fact, Bob Jacquart of Jacquart Fabric Products Inc (the parent company of Stormy Kromer) was interviewed in January 2023 and indicated that Copper Peak is planning to reopen as both the only ski flying hill outside of Europe and the only ski flying hill in the world with an all-season surface, allowing jumps to take place in the summer.
“This is going to make the sport more interesting for the whole world. Our goal is to be jumping the first weekend of October 2024.”– Bob Jacquart in an MLive interview, January 2023
Copper Peak Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Copper Peak?
Copper Peak MI is located at N13870 Copper Peak Rd in Ironwood Michigan. You can call (906) 932-3500 for more information.
When is Copper Peak open?
Copper Peak is usually open from around Memorial Day through mid-October. It’s open every day during that period from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
What is the admission cost for Copper Peak?
As of 2022, the cost for experiencing Copper Peak is $25 for adults and $10 for students 14 and younger. Kids younger than 5 are free.
Can you climb Copper Peak?
No, but the Copper Peak adventure ride lets you take a chairlift up to the same heights as the skiers of yesteryear. The journey starts with an 800-foot chairlift ride and continues with an 18-story elevator ride to the observation area.
Is Copper Peak really an adventure?
Yeah, it sort of is. But, not a “whoo-hoo, this is a crazy roller coaster ride” kind of adventure. Although, it offers more than just a nice view.
The 300-foot chairlift ride on the way up gets pretty high above the ground, so that’s fun. And then, once you exit the elevator, the stairs you walk up to scale the rest of the thing are the “metal grid” type, so you can see all the way down to the bottom several hundred feet below you.
On top of that, the whole structure sometimes sways a little bit in the wind. Can you imagine being a ski flyer on this thing?
Is climbing Copper Peak dangerous?
The Copper Peak ski jump is the largest artificial ski jump in the world, and it takes some courage if you don’t like heights. On a windy day, the structure may sway in the wind, so be prepared for that if you go. However, it’s very safe, and you’ll be glad you made the trip.
What the heck is ski flying?
Pretty much, ski flying is larger-scale ski jumping. The jump is bigger. The skis are a little bigger. The “flyers” go further. The ski flying events at Copper Peak aren’t annual events but ski jumps are held each year at Pine Mountain in Iron Mountain and Suicide Hill in Ishpeming.
My Experience at Copper Peak by Jesse Land
I showed up not long before they closed for the day on a Friday afternoon, stopped at the office to buy my ticket, and then made my way to the chairlift.
I handed my ticket to a student worker running the lift and rode up 800 feet to the top where another seasonal employee was there to stop the lift if I were to somehow fall on my face. It moves pretty slow, though, so I wouldn’t worry about that.
I hiked over to the ski jump and was guided up the 18-story elevator to the main observation deck, which is fully enclosed and offers a gorgeous view of the area.
I climbed up to the top and was surprised that I ended up being a little nervous. The metal grate steps allow you to see all the way to the ground. So that, coupled with the fact that the whole structure was swaying back and forth in the wind (almost 250 feet above the ground) shook my nerves a bit. And I usually really like heights.
It was super cool, though, and the view was spectacular. Like the top of Sugarloaf, it’s one of those panoramic views that’s really tough to capture with a camera. You have to experience this view to really “get it.”
From the top of Copper Peak, you can see for miles and miles in every direction. You can see Lake Superior, the Porcupine Mountains, Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Apostle Islands, and more. It’s well worth the trip over to Ironwood Michigan.
My Bottom Line: The Copper Peak ski flying hill offers one of the best views in the Midwest.
Plan Your Copper Peak Visit Today
Copper Peak’s stunning views truly have to be seen to be believed. If you crave adventure and thrills, Copper Peak is well worth paying a visit.
Whether you stop at the main observation deck or you make the climb all the way to the starting gate, this Gogebic County landmark is a must-stop on your travels in the Western Upper Peninsula. So, plan your trip to Copper Peak today — the views are unforgettable and provide memories that will last a lifetime.