Exploring Ontonagon County

Ontonagon County in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is the home of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, one of the most beautiful areas in the state of Michigan, the Ottawa National Forest, rushing waterfalls, and the breathtaking Lake Superior Shoreline. Ontonagon County includes the towns of Ontonagon, Mass City, Greenland, Rockland, Silver City, and White Pine.

Affectionately called the Porkies, the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is 15 miles west of Ontonagon on the shores of Lake Superior.

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The Porcupine Mountains State Park's 60,000 acres are one of the few remaining large wilderness areas in the Midwest. Towering virgin timber, secluded lakes, and miles of wild rivers, streams and hiking trails make a visit to the "Porkies a trip to remember. Camp in the summer or winter.

Porcupine Mountains State Park was established in 1945 by Michigan's Legislature. Since then many changes have taken place in the way we live; however the Porcupine Mountains are almost unchanged. The remote interior, the towering pine and hemlock seem to defy time. The solitude of the park is mysterious and exciting.

A hiker to the interior of the Porkies must actually turn back the clock and call on skills that were second nature to our ancestors. One must appreciate the ways of a wilderness area to thoroughly enjoy backpacking the Porkies. Remember; the difference between tired feet and the satisfaction of an outstanding view is mostly a condition of the mind.

In the winter, the Porcupine Mountains Ski Area features one of the highest vertical drops in the Midwest (641 feet). Over 200 inches of snowfall per year, uncrowded slopes and a spectacular view of Lake Superior make skiing the "Porkies" an unforgettable experience. Nordic skiing through incomparable forests and a variety of terrain can be enjoyed along the 23 miles of groomed double-tracked trails.

Ontonagon County has 350 miles of groomed marked snowmobile trails passing through some of the most remarkable scenery in the Midwest. See the winter splendor of the Lake of the Clouds in the Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park. Gas, food, refreshments and lodging are found right on the trail. The trail system interconnects with the Upper Peninsula's 2,500 miles of trails as well as Northern Wisconsin's trail system.

Visit the Old Victoria Restoration and take a guided tour through the restored hand hewn log cabins that were built about 1899 to house the miners at the Victoria Copper Mine. Located 4 miles southwest of Rockland (US-45) on Victoria Dam Road. Open Memorial Day through mid-October from 10:30 to 5:30 daily. Admission: Adults, $5.00, Children 5 - 12 years $2.00. Our Log Cabin Day Celebration will be held on the last Sunday in June. Stop by and enjoy coffee and cinnamon rolls cooked on the old wood stove or visit the Arts and Crafts show the third Sunday in August.

History enthusiasts will enjoy the Ontonagon County Historical Museum (purple building) at 422 River Street in Ontonagon. Phone: (906) 884-6165. Open Year Round 10 am to 5 pm, Closed Sunday. Enjoy the mining, logging, farming, marine, and social memorabilia, displayed in room settings and cases. Gift Shop.

Tours of the Ontonagon Lighthouse are given at 11 am, 2 pm & 4 pm during the summer or by appointment on Sunday or the off-season. 5th Order Fresnel Lens and keepers logs are on display at the Museum. Tours begin at the Ontonagon Museum at 422 River Street so stop by and arrange your visit to this historic Lighthouse. Climb the tower to the lantern room for an outstanding view of the area.

There is also a very interesting museum on US-45 in the Library in Rockland, just 12 miles south of Ontonagon on US-45. Open 11:30 am to 4:30 pm, Memorial Day through Color Season. Unique collection of artifacts dating fron 3000 B.C. (prehistoric mining hammers) to the early 1900's and the switchboard used by the first telephone company in the State of Michigan.

Coming Events in the Ontonagon Area

Enjoy the Porcupine Mountains Music Festival presented the last week in August, 2013 at the ski hill and chalet in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. Enjoy folk, jazz, bluegrass, and some contemporarty music presented by local and touring artists. Daily or 3 day tickets available. Phone 1-800-344-5355 or purchase on site.

Lodging and other Businesses in the Ontonagon area
Attractions and Recreation in the Ontonagon Area
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
Ottawa National Forest, Mountain Biking

The swing bridge over the Ontonagon River that was built in 1939 has been replaced with a new bridge on the south side of the town of Ontonagon and the swing bridge has been removed. This new bridge (Highway 64) includes a path for pedestrians, bicycles, and snowmobiles.

The town is now on a dead end street so we invite you to visit our town and enjoy the many shops, restaurants, historic buildings, the museum, lighthouse, and our Township Park, 1 mile northeast on Houghton Street. The Park has almost one mile of sandy Lake Superior shoreline for swimming, playing, sunning, and rock picking, The Park includes picnic tables, grills and a wonderful new playground for your children. Pick up some pasties or a lunch at one of the local restaurants and enjoy this beautiful spot on Lake Superior. Also a great spot for watching the night sky.

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Snowmobiling in the Keweenaw Peninsula

Snowmobiling in the Upper Peninsula

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