Keweenaw Water Trail - Portage Waterway

Houghton, Michigan

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A protected waterway that slices through the heart of the Keweenaw Peninsula, offering up views of woodlands and the twin cities of Houghton and Hancock. This 47-mile-long flatwater pathway bisects the Upper Peninsula’s storied Copper Country. Commonly known as the Portage Waterway, it marks the southern end of the Keweenaw Water Trail, which encompasses the northern half of the Keweenaw Peninsula. It is also Michigan’s first operational segment of a proposed Lake Superior Water Trail network meant to ultimately circle the entire lake. Unlike other Keweenaw-area kayaking destinations, the Portage Waterway does not include dramatic shorelines of craggy rock or remote forestlands. In fact, shoreline development and ruins from the region’s copper-mining past typify significant stretches of the waterway. Nonetheless, pockets of wilderness wetlands do exist in the trail’s southern reaches, and the waterway provides kayakers with a fascinating perspective on the twin cities of Houghton and Hancock. These towns, links to a bygone era in Michigan history, developed on opposite sides of the Portage River. Today, they continue to face one another, their shopfronts and church steeples poking out from the high, forested bluffs that guard the waterway.
Paddling Michigan

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Paddling Michigan

by Kevin Hillstrom & Laurie Collier Hillstrom (Falcon Guides)

A protected waterway that slices through the heart of the Keweenaw Peninsula, offering up views of woodlands and the twin cities of Houghton and Hancock. This 47-mile-long flatwater pathway bisects the Upper Peninsula’s storied Copper Country. Commonly known as the Portage Waterway, it marks the southern end of the Keweenaw Water Trail, which encompasses the northern half of the Keweenaw Peninsula. It is also Michigan’s first operational segment of a proposed Lake Superior Water Trail network meant to ultimately circle the entire lake. Unlike other Keweenaw-area kayaking destinations, the Portage Waterway does not include dramatic shorelines of craggy rock or remote forestlands.

In fact, shoreline development and ruins from the region’s copper-mining past typify significant stretches of the waterway. Nonetheless, pockets of wilderness wetlands do exist in the trail’s southern reaches, and the waterway provides kayakers with a fascinating perspective on the twin cities of Houghton and Hancock. These towns, links to a bygone era in Michigan history, developed on opposite sides of the Portage River. Today, they continue to face one another, their shopfronts and church steeples poking out from the high, forested bluffs that guard the waterway.

©  Kevin Hillstrom & Laurie Collier Hillstrom/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Sea Kayaking
Nearby City: Houghton
Distance: 47
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: Backpack
Local Contacts: McClain State Park
Local Maps: USGS Oskar, Hancock, Chassell, Point Mills, Laurium, Portage Entry
Driving Directions: Directions to Keweenaw Water Trail - Portage Waterway

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Apr 2018