THE YOOPER STATE 12 Reasons to Visit the U.P. of Michigan
Two lane coastal highways. Flourishing colors of the trees. Endless trails of powdery snow. This is the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This land isn’t just for people who love the cold; year round, the UP provides an outdoorsman a multitude of activities and attractions to add to their bucket list. The UP is arguably some of the most beautiful country in the United States which you can’t understand until you see it first-hand. Check out the top 3 attractions for each season in the land of the Yooper...
Black Rocks (Cliff jumping)
The term ice bath is often used for athletes who recover from the pains of intense training. Well, jumping into Lake Superior brings on a whole new definition. Presque Isle Park of Marquette is home to the famous Black Rocks which is a hot spot for cliff jumping in the summer months. Young children to middle aged men have leapt off of the natural high dive into the heart-stopping 45-degree water. In the hot July air, the shocking chill of the lake will cool you off for the day.
Whether it’s for leisure, exercise, or to expand your skills in the outdoors, hiking is something that you can do just about anywhere up North. The UP offers a multitude of hiking trails along rivers and lakes, up mountains, or through dense forests. It makes it especially easy to hit the trails when they are set up for all levels of hiking ability through the wide variety of atmospheres. The famous North Country Trail also spans the entire Upper Peninsula so if you are looking for some serious man points, set up a trip and take on the challenge!
The best part about the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is that it borders three of the five Great Lakes. Having so much fresh water around makes sailing a very popular activity along the coasts. Sail along Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, the Hiawatha National Forest or the Mackinac Bridge. Along the way, you may even learn how to tie a few knots.
Lake in the Clouds (Colors)
The Porcupine Mountains are home to the valley of color called the Lake Of The Clouds. The view will take your breath away, along with the hike to get to the scenic lookout. If you are feeling adventurous and need some more exercise, there is a web of trails that can take you through a sea of reds, oranges and golds to the peaceful lake in the valley. Take a small kayak or your fishing pole and enjoy water so calm it reflects the sky.
You have never seen a rock wall as beautiful as this sandstone monument along the mighty Lake Superior. Located in Munising, MI, this National Park is home to cliffs, beaches, forests and sand dunes, which provide a score of activites for all to enjoy. Kayaking, hiking and camping are just a small sample of the possibilities at this beautiful location. The fall months is an exceptional time to visit as the colors of the trees radiate off of the lake shore providing an even better view.
Opening day might as well be considered a holiday in the northern states. Whether you’re looking for elk, deer, pheasant, grouse or water fowl, you are committed to finding your game from sun up to sundown. Get caught up in the suspense of hunting in the UP during the fall months and increase your ManScore. Cool crisp air, hot coffee and a 12-gauge are waiting for you in Yooper country.
Snowmobiling (Hiawatha National Forest)
The Upper Peninsula has an economy that is built on the winter months and snowmobiling is a huge contributor. Imagine the power of a 4 stroke turbo engine with up to 1000cc in the palm of your hand. Ripping through the powder that covers the vast Hiawatha National Forest is something that can only be experienced, not explained. Get a group of guys or hit the trails solo and enjoy endless miles of the intense adult “sledding”.
Sled Dog Races
Man’s best friend has always been known as affectionate, playful and loyal. This is your average dog, which is not the type you take into the UP200. The Iditarod qualifying race begins on a cold February night in the streets of downtown Marquette. The 250 mile trail runs from Marquette to Grand Marais over the challenging UP terrain. Experience the hype and adrenaline from the wood barricades or the bars which line the start line and take a role in sending off some of the toughest sled dog teams in the country.
Michigan Tech Winter Carnival
Houghton, Michigan is home to one of the best winter events in the nation. Winter Carnival is hosted every year during early February and has been since 1922 where it started as a small college town event. Since then, it has grown into a massive festival with snow and ice sculptures that tower over the streets to observe the week’s work of events. Competitions range from a beard growing contest, broomball, curling, ice bowling, ice fishing, human dog sled races and a handful of winter activities and games for students and the public to participate in. If you want some real ManScore points, lets see how you stack up against the toughest beards in the UP!
Although Spring in the Upper Peninsula doesn’t really start until the end of May--during the thawing of the land--the UP’s waterfalls are thriving. The cold runoff from endless snow banks fills the rivers and streams which provides beautifully booming scenery. Over 150 falls run through the wild Upper Peninsula, I challenge you to see them all.
Night hiking is a stress release for the college students of the UP. Lucky for them, magnetic storms happen quite often and produce a natural wonder called Aurora Borealis. Get out in the country and watch the Northern Lights dance in the night sky. Wave after wave of green to red curls will leave you mesmerized long into the night.
Fishing (spawning season)
Have you ever stood by a lake during the Spring season? Did you notice the faint tune of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On”? Well that’s not your conscious talking to you; that’s the sound of spawning season. With the fish in a frenzie, UP ponds, lakes and rivers are full of anxious swimmers which makes for some prime fishing time. Grab some bait, a hook and catch you a Marlin!