Skip to main content

M-26, the Lakeshore Drive

I took a drive on M-26 between Copper Harbor and Eagle River during my visit to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. M-26 hugs the shoreline of Lake Superior in Keweenaw County, Michigan's least populous and arguably most scenic county in the state. This lake shore drive is a pleasant alternative to US 41 in the area, which is another pleasant drive in its own right. US 41's northern end is about a mile north of where it meets M-26. That's a long way from Miami, Florida.

Starting in the little town of Copper Harbor, let's start our drive south along the lake...

One for the vintage neon sign fans. This was for an inn in Copper Harbor.

Lake Superior to our right here. If you are driving out of Copper Harbor on M-26, you have the choice of staying on the lake or taking the Brockway Mountain Drive, which I wish I had also driven while in Copper Harbor.

Lake Superior continues.

M-26's stone arch bridge over the Silver River at Silver River Falls.

Approaching Eagle Harbor...

...and just like that, we're entering Eagle Harbor.

Rustic signage in Eagle Harbor.

Eagle Harbor has a lighthouse. I think it's worth stopping to check out.

But first let's squint and learn about the history of Eagle Harbor, Michigan. Horace Greeley was here.

There she is, the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse.
The original lighthouse at Eagle Harbor was built in 1851, and replaced with the current brick lighthouse in 1871. If you are compelled to visit the lighthouse, you may visit the lighthouse and museum from the middle of June to early October.

Views of Eagle Harbor from the lighthouse grounds. It reminded me a bit of the Maine Coast.

Eagle Harbor's harbor.


M-26 at the Great Sand Bay. The Keweenaw Peninsula is at about the halfway point on Lake Superior between Duluth, Minnesota and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan/Ontario.

Lake Superior and Great Sand Bay as seen from M-26. The inland sea was calm this September morning.

Jacobs Falls, which is a nice roadside waterfall between Eagle Harbor and Eagle River.
Eagle River Falls in Eagle River. This can be seen on an old bridge that is currently just open for pedestrians, right next to M-26.

The old bridge in question. I believe that M-26 once used this bridge to cross the Eagle River.

Historical plaque for Douglass Houghton, a prominent scientist in the early history of Michigan. The city of Houghton, Michigan is named is his honor. After this, it was a quick drive through Eagle River and back to US 41.
How to Get There:


Sources and Links:
Michigan's Upper Peninsula - Keweenaw County
Lighthouse Friends - Eagle Harbor Lighthouse

Comments

Adam said…
We are headed to the UP this summer and we will be sure to use this as a guide! Great job, Doug!
Doug said…
Make sure to check out the Brockway Mountain Drive too, or at least some of the overlooks. Unfortunately, I didn't.
Challenger Tom said…
I went on this back in 2017 also, there should be a couple blogs from that trip too (the National Historical Park is pretty cool near Houghton). I'd argue that M26 is right up there if not a better drive than M22. I picked up a steel embossed M26 shield back in 2017 that I have displayed in my garage.

Popular posts from this blog

The Smithtown Bull in Smithtown, New York

  Before I moved to Upstate New York as a young man, I grew up in the Long Island town of Smithtown during the 1980s and 1990s. The recognizable symbol of Smithtown is a bronze statue of a bull named Whisper, located at the junction of NY Route 25 and NY Route 25A near the bridge over the Nissequogue River. Why a bull, you may ask. The bull is a symbol of a legend related to the town's founding in 1665 by Richard "Bull" Smythe, with a modernized name of Richard Smith. It also so happens that there is a story behind the legend, one that involves ancient land right transfers and some modern day roads as well. So the story goes that Smythe made an agreement with a local Indian tribe where Smythe could keep whatever land he circled around in a day's time riding atop his trusty bull. Choosing the longest day of the year for his ride, he set out with his bull Whisper and went about riding around the borders of the Town of Smithtown. As legend has it, Smythe t

The Midway Palm and Pine of US Route 99

Along modern day California State Route 99 south of Avenue 11 just outside the City limits of Madera one can find the Midway Palm and Pine in the center median of the freeway.  The Midway Palm and Pine denotes the halfway point between the Mexican Border and Oregon State Line on what was US Route 99.  The Midway Palm is intended to represent Southern California whereas the Midway Pine is intended to represent Northern California.  Pictured above the Midway Palm and Pine can be seen from the northbound lanes of the California State Route 99 Freeway.   The history of the Midway Palm and Pine The true timeframe for when the Midway Palm and Pine (originally a Deadora Cedar Tree) were planted is unknown.  In fact the origin of the Midway Palm and Pine was referenced in California's Gold Episode #608 during which Huell Howser examined numerous points claimed to be the Center of California.  During Episode #608 Huell Howser interviews Caltrans employee Bob Thompson who emphasizes there wa

Erie Canal: Little Falls and Moss Island

  Little Falls, New York is a small city in the Mohawk Valley that has been shaped by the forces of water throughout its history. Nowhere in Little Falls is that more evident than at Moss Island. Representing the Industrial Age, this is home of Lock 17 the tallest lock along the Erie Canal, but there is also evidence of the Ice Age in the form of 40 foot deep glacial potholes from when there was an ancient waterfall that was even larger than Niagara Falls at this spot, once draining Glacial Lake Iroquois when other outlets (such as the St. Lawrence River) were blocked by retreating glaciers. While Little Falls does not have the amount of industry around the river and canal than it once had, checking out what Moss Island has to offer is a great way to see what the city has to offer. Visiting Moss Island allows you to experience the engineering marvel that is the Erie Canal plus the wonders of nature by taking a hike around the island and seeing the glacial potholes. A