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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.

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