Mountain bikers new to the area can hardly believe the wealth of terrific trails in the Keweenaw , literally hundreds of miles of old mining and logging roads, overgrown double-track routes, and technical single-track. They loop through towering pines to backwoods waterfalls, to otherwise inaccessible Lake Superior shorelines, even past ghost towns now buried deep in the woods. (Consider it fair warning that many trails also peter out and stop in the middle of nowhere.)
Vast tracts of land in the Keweenaw are privately owned by large corporations—some mining firms, but mostly paper companies. In exchange for a break in state taxes, the companies allow public use of the land for recreation, including hiking, fishing, and mountain biking. Still, for liability reasons, some outfitters and bike shops are loath to hand out maps or “endorse” these lands for riding.
If you ask, though, most bike shops tend to be quite helpful about suggesting trails, especially the Keweenaw Adventure Company (145 Gratiot St., Copper Harbor, 906/289-4303, www.keweenawadventure.com ), a company that began in 1994 and now helps to organize the annual Copper Harbor Fat Tire Festival, a mountain-biking race in late summer.