Stretching along the shores of Keweenaw Bay and Lake Superior, and reaching into the Ottawa National Forest, Baraga County is full of outdoor things to do in Michigan. You can hike the two highest points in the state, explore a remote state park, and walk to more than a dozen Upper Peninsula waterfalls — all of which are excellent summertime activities, earning them a coveted spot on our Michigan summer bucket list.
Reach the Top of Mount Arvon
Located in the rugged backwoods of the Upper Peninsula, Mount Arvon stands just over 1,979 feet above sea level. It’s part of the Huron Mountains range, although geologists don’t officially label the formations as mountains because they’re less than 2,000 feet above sea level.
From L’Anse, you need to drive about 22 miles, which takes 30 to 45 minutes. The route up the mountains is gravel, and 11 miles are windy curves. It’s most often used for logging and gets rough in spots. Toward the top, it can get narrow, so be prepared in case you have to pull off for passing drivers.
Despite all that, the road is marked with blue signs and arrows to guide you. For extra guidance, though, the tourism staff at the Baraga County: Convention & Visitors Bureau in L’Anse is happy to provide more details and a map.
When you’ve arrived at the short hiking trail that leads to the top, you’ll see a sign indicating so. The trail features blue-painted diamonds on the trees and a few other signs so that you don’t lose your way. As you trek through the untouched forest, you’ll pass a couple of waterfalls and a beaver pond that’s popular with moose.
At the top, you get a breathtaking view of Lake Superior and the Huron Islands. Unique to the peak is a blue mailbox — the Mt. Arvon Register — that’s attached to the summit marker and contains a book for you to sign in. It’s interesting to look through the pages at all the people who have visited before you.
Visit the Disputed Second-Highest Michigan Peak
Named in honor of James Oliver Curwood, a Michigan author, Mount Curwood stands at 1,978 feet above sea level and is also part of the Huron Mountains range. Before a resurvey of the land in 1982, this peak was believed to be the highest in Michigan. Modern technology found that it’s just 11 inches shorter than Mount Arvon, but some people still dispute this fact.
While it’s only about 15 miles from L’Anse, it still takes about 30 to 45 minutes to get to the peak. Again, you can stop by the visitors bureau for a detailed map of the area and more information about the route. After a short trail to the top, you’re rewarded with a picturesque view of the surrounding area.
Venture to Michigan’s Most Remote State Park
To the south of both peaks, the more than 8,400-acre Craig Lake State Park is the most remote park in Michigan’s system. Because of that, it can be somewhat of an adventure just to get to it. We recommend that you drive a vehicle with high ground clearance.
Within the park, you can enjoy six lakes and numerous small ponds via kayak, canoe, or other paddleboat. A boat launch is located at Keewaydin Lake, the only one that allows motorboats in the park. Craig Lake is good for bass, muskellunge, Northern pike, and walleye fishing, while Teddy Lake is known for panfish fishing.
Additionally, the state park has 8 miles of trail loops with some great chances to see wildlife and view the lakeshore and fauna. You can even walk a 7.5-mile portion of the North Country National Scenic Trail, the longest of its kind in the United States at 4,700 miles.
Hike to Any of the 13 Upper Peninsula Waterfalls
Baraga County is home to 13 Upper Peninsula waterfalls. While you can certainly visit all of them, we want to point out a few favorites:
- Power House Falls is less than 3 miles south of L’Anse and is very easy to reach.
- Canyon Falls is about a 10-minute drive from L’Anse. Some people refer to it as the Grand Canyon of Michigan. There’s a parking lot next to the short, easy-to-moderate trail that leads to it.
- Sturgeon Falls is west of Canyon Falls. The hike to the waterfall is considered difficult, but the view is very rewarding at the end.
- Slate River Falls is about a 15-minute drive northeast of L’Anse. A trail on Arvon Rd leads to the slate quarry and waterfall, and it’s moderately difficult to hike.
- Quartzite Falls and Black Slate Falls are within walking distance of each other and very close to Slate River Falls. The forest trail is easy-to-moderate in difficulty.
Discover Great Restaurants in Baraga County
Before or during your Baraga County adventure, check out some of these awesome places to eat. Chicago Beefs on the east side of Keweenaw Bay serves the famous Chicago Italian beef sandwich, which is unlike any other you’ve tasted. The menu includes other sandwiches too.
On the western waterfront, Skipper’s Bar & Grill has an oversized, horseshoe-shaped bar and always has 10 craft beers on tap. The family pub makes fried pickles, burgers, pizzas, and fried seafood. Before you leave town or when you return, grab some ice cream at Frostie Freeze.
If you get hungry while viewing Canyon Falls, The Sidnaw Station is about 15 minutes away and serves a range of burgers and sandwiches. You can order homemade pizza with a variety of toppings and crust options as well. For a bite while exploring Slate River Falls or the others, The Finns Bar and Grill is about ½-mile away. Its menu includes burger baskets, fried seafood baskets, and more.
Stay a Couple Nights at a Campground
Baraga County has several campgrounds, so you can stay and explore the area even more. Craig Lake State Park features backcountry camping, rustic cabins, a Keewaydin Lake yurt, and a Teddy Lake yurt. Other campgrounds worth checking out are Ojibwa Campground & Recreation Area and Sturgeon River Campground.
Additional Lodging Options in Baraga County
If camping isn’t your style, check out these Baraga County lodging options:
We've included local campgrounds in most of the #MIAwesomeList posts to help you get the most out of your Michigan summer bucket list adventures!
No RV? No worries. You can save up to 25% on your travel costs this summer by renting an RV through RVshare!
Whether you want to pull it behind you or have it all set up at your destination, renting an RV is the best way to enjoy all your summer adventures in Michigan!