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At the very northernmost point of Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula on Lake Superior, you might feel like you've reached the end of the earth. The most massive of the Great Lakes stretches to the horizon and countless waterfalls splash into the rivers along its shores. A unique geological history makes Copper Harbor a paradise for rock collectors, and its hills, shores, and waters provide numerous opportunities for skiing, hiking, and kayaking. It's also a great place to explore with your dog. While there are no veterinary clinics in this wild and rugged place, there are several in the nearby towns of Houghton and Hancock.
One of the best places to take your dog in Copper Harbor is Hunter's Point Park. Just outside of the downtown shopping area, this nine-acre park is situated on a spit of land that juts out into Lake Superior. You'll constantly have the lake in view as you navigate the groomed trail through the trees and wander down to the pebbly beaches. Your dog must remain on a leash but can come with you anywhere in the park, including up to the water's edge. You will need to bring your own waste bags and water.
As you and your pup stand on a high cliff and marvel at the setting sun beyond the sentinel pines, you'll know that this is a place you won't ever forget.
Hunter's Point is just the beginning in Copper Harbor. Other parks within a five-minute drive from downtown include Fort Wilkins State Park and Keweenaw County Park. Both feature numerous trails through varied landscapes and Fort Wilkins includes several historic sites. Leashed dogs are welcome at all outdoor areas in these parks. A little further south of town, the Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary is one of the few Michigan Nature Association sanctuaries in the area that allows leashed pets. You'll need to keep your dog on the marked loop trails. Old growth pines and numerous wildlife species including broad-winged hawks and pine martens can be spotted here. If you're hungry after all your exploring, don't hesitate to stop at Harbor Haus. This German restaurant sits right on the water in Copper Harbor and offers seasonal dog-friendly seating outside on the patio. The lookouts and viewing balconies off of Brockway Mountain Drive are perfect places to stop and watch the sun set at the end of your day.
South of Copper Harbor you'll find Lac La Belle, a small inland lake surrounded by scenic drives and small parks. The Lac La Belle Lodge rents charming, rustic fishing cabins that are dog-friendly. If you come at the right time of year, wild blueberries grow in copious amounts along the grounds. You don't have to forage, though; a good meal is as close as the Bear Belly Bar and Grill in the lodge's main building. You can enjoy a craft beer with your meal at the outdoor dining area, where your dog can sit with you. The buffet-style Friday Fish Fry is a special treat. Nearby, the Mount Bohemia ski resort also offers dog-friendly lodging, whether you're there in the winter to ski or in the summer to hike. More adventurous types can scout for Smith's Fisheries Road at the northeast end of Lac La Belle Road and follow it to the trailhead to the majestic Montreal Falls. You will need to keep your dog on a leash throughout the hike.
You don't have to go to any particular site to enjoy a walk with your pup along the streets of the quaint lakeside town of Mohawk. The Shoreline Resort offers dog-friendly lodging right on the sandy Lake Superior beach. To the south of town, you can find the Nicole Bloom Memorial Trail. This trail is three miles long from beginning to end so requires a six-mile round trip with an 800-foot elevation gain. If you're up for the hike, the forested trail will take you past pristine streams and to an elevated peak where you can see for miles. You will need to keep your dog on a leash on the Nicole Bloom Memorial Trail and be mindful not to stray into nearby nature preserves where dogs are not allowed.
Eagle River is another small area a few blocks wide that sits right on the shore of Lake Superior. There are three parks with historical markers in this small area. Right off of Highway 26, you can stop at the majestic Eagle River Falls and Dam. On your way to the pebbled Lake Superior beach, you can admire the Eagle River Lighthouse. Eagle River Park provides some grassy and shaded areas with picnic tables where you can take your dog for a bathroom break. There are public bathrooms for humans, too! You will need to keep your dog on a leash and bring your own waste bags and water. Eagle River is also where you can start the scenic drive along Five Mile Point Road, which features many roadside parks and viewing areas.
This sparsely populated area features several parks managed by the North Woods Conservancy. These parks allow leashed, well-behaved dogs and limited hunting and fishing in specific areas. A spur road off of Five Mile Point Road takes you to Merganser Pond. You'll see lily pads and turtles in this marshy area. At the end of the same spur road you'll find Seven Mile Point, a rocky beach where the forest grows almost all the way to the lake's edge. At the north end of Bumbletown Road, Gratiot River County Park allows dogs to join you for primitive camping along the river and the shore of the lake. Further south on Bumbletown Road, the Conglomerate Falls Natural Area includes a primitive dog-friendly rental cabin with no running water. The cabin is sought after for its proximity to great fishing spots and its peaceful, remote location.
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