The Copper Harbor Mountain Bike Trails were designated as an International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) Silver Level “Ride Center” in October of 2012. Ranked among the top five trail systems in the world at that time just behind Park City, UT and on the same level as Sun Valley, ID, Oak Ridge, OR and Tauppo, New Zealand, the Copper Harbor Trails are now among the top 20 with the addition of more “Ride Centers” since that time. Points were scored based on Copper Harbor’s variety and quality of gateway, cross-country, flow and gravity trails, in addition to the village being considered as mountain biker friendly with its resorts, motels, campgrounds, restaurants, bike shop and a brew pub all easily accessible to/from the trails.
The Copper Harbor Mountain Bike Trails offer some of the most unique terrain and challenging trails in the Country. Working diligently on the grassroots level, the Copper Harbor Trails Club (CHTC), a 501c3 non-profit organization, has been building a network of designated human-powered trails, while working to promote the area as a mountain bike destination since the late 1990’s. A cooperative effort between the CHTC and neighboring land owners have resulted in a network of 38+ miles of world-class single track trails, with more being built each season.
The riding in Copper Harbor is REAL mountain biking and really does not compare with anywhere else in the Midwest…if you have ever been to nearby Mount Bohemia to ski or snowboard its 900’ vertical drop, you know what we’re talking about! This Midwest mountain bike destination hosts a series of rocky, undulating ridges and valleys punctuate Keweenaw County and are highlighted with natural wonders such as old growth forests, geoheritage and geology, historic locations, nature preserves, pristine inland lakes and streams, mountain top vistas and rugged Lake Superior shoreline. Singletrack trails wind over bedrock, cobbled rock, rooty, hard packed surfaces with lots of climbs, technical descents, berms, rustic bridges and boardwalks and a total lack of sand. Constant elevation changes provide a Western-like riding experience and some riders have nicknamed it “the BC of the Midwest.”
While its reputation may entice the experienced rider, a number of easy and intermediate rated trails do exist. Approximately two-thirds of the trail system are rated as intermediate and efforts have been prioritized to develop new, easy rated trails including the addition of the “Back 9 Trails” at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge in 2019. Other novice/family friendly trails include the Hunter’s Point and Fort Wilkins Pathways and Lighthouse Overlook and Lake Fanny Hooe Trails at Fort Wilkins State Park.
Additionally, a network of old logging roads and jeep trails traverse the narrow, uninhabited tip of the peninsula, east of Copper Harbor and offer some less technical mountain or gravel bike riding options. This includes over 8000 acres of State Forest land along Lake Superior near Keweenaw Point and a side trip to the Nature Conservancy Preserve at Horseshoe Harbor.
The annual Bell’s Beer Copper Harbor Trails Festival (formerly Fat Tire Festival) is truly a mountain bike festival that will be in your keepsakes forever. Traditionally held on Labor Day Weekend, this end of the summer “gathering of the tribe” hosts a spectacular array of e vents, which makes for an awesome time for the racers, volunteers and spectators alike. The Cross Country, Endur and Downhill races feature some of the most diverse and challenging courses in the region and attract racers from all around the Midwest and beyond. A true festival by the definition of the word, the Trails Festival mountain bike festival also includes a Kids race, a Trail Run, “Art Bike”, two nights of live music, tasty food, great camaraderie and of course plenty of cold Bell’s Beer on tap.
Find more info on the trails, Trails Club events and how you can help to support the non-profit’s efforts at the Copper Harbor Trails Club.
This page submitted by Sam Raymond, Keweenaw Adventure Company
The non-profit Copper Harbor Trails Club (CHTC) produces a glossy, fold out trail map that’s used as a fundraiser to support their trail building and maintenance efforts. Maps can be purchased for $5 at Keweenaw Adventure Company and several other businesses in town.
In the meantime, click here for a Trail Genius virtual preview/ride experience of Copper Harbor’s world-class trails.
Keweenaw Adventure Company
Get your ride on! Whether a beginner, intermediate or expert rider, the Keweenaw Adventure Company will show you the ropes of Copper Harbor’s world-class singletrack mountain bike trails. Family-friendly rates. A 5-star experience and highlight of your vacation. 2.5 hour or 5 hour tours available. Journey to historical sites, scenic Lake Superior shores, waterfalls and breathtaking visit views throughout the purest forests in Pure Michigan! Professional guides prioritize safety first, and provide an unforgettably entertaining and educational experience. Option of state-of-the-art bike rental or use of your own bike. Helmets provided. Reservations recommended – will accommodate walk-ins based on availability. Visit website to book online or call to learn more.
The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) designated Copper Harbor as an “Epic Ride” in 2009, and by 2011 were designated as a “Bronze Level” Ride Center. In just one year of amazing growth and progress, a “Silver Level” Ride Center designation was given in 2012. The vast quality and quantity of gateway, cross-country, flow and gravity trails – in addition to the mountain bike friendly community of the Harbor, a local bike shop and brew pub – all added up in points for this awesome recognition. Learn more about the Copper Harbor Trail System at: www.copperharbortrails.org
Service & Repair, Gear & Custom Wear
Find essential bike parts and accessories to keep you riding or have our professional mechanics help you out with a repair. Discover one-of-a-kind custom T-Shirts, Jerseys, Hoodies, Hats and Socks. Stickers and trail snacks, too. Book mountain bike rentals and guided tours, Lake Superior sea kayak tours and canoe/SUP/recreational kayak rentals. Learn more on website or call.
Bikes and other rentals
Get your ride on! Whether looking for wheels to cruise about town, family-friendly pathways or the world-class singletrack trails, Keweenaw Adventure Company has got you covered! From high-end Tech Enduro Downhill bikes, to the most popular Dual Suspension, to the Hard Tail or Fat Bike, their fleet of Trek and Kona mountain bikes is truly one of the best selections in the Midwest. Comfort (hybrid) bikes are also available for more casual adventuring around the village and gravel trails within the Township. Helmets are included. A downhill mountain bike shuttle service is available. Reservations recommended – will accommodate walk-ins based on availability. Visit website to book online or call to learn more.
Keweenaw Adventure Company
Respect the van. And take a lift to the top! Safe your time and your legs – catch a lift on the shuttle and take advantage of gravity. Keweenaw Adventure Company’s Downhill Mountain Bike Shuttle acts as if a chairlift operation at a ski hill. Day Passes are available for Tuesday/Friday, 4pm-9pm and Saturday/Sunday 12pm-5:30pm. Ride your own bike or rent one. Reservations recommended – will accommodate walk-ins based on availability. Visit website to book online or call to learn more.
Website | Phone: 906-289-4303 | US-41 & 2nd Street
Keweenaw Mountain Lodge
Mountain biking at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge is fun and accessible, and leads to further challenging trails around Copper Harbor, as the Lodge sits in the heart of the Copper Harbor Trails system. Offers free guided rides as part of your stay. Please bring your bike, helmet and a smile. If you do not have a bike we can assist in renting you one. Learn more at: https://keweenawmountainlodge.com/activities/mountain-biking/organized-rides/ or call 906-289-4403