Scenic Drives Near Bessemer, Michigan

Black River National Scenic Byway

The Black River National Scenic Byway is the most popular and most beautiful drive in the area.  It is a "must-see" for visitors.  The route runs along County Highway 513 through the Ottawa National Forest from between Bessemer and Ironwood to the shores of Lake Superior at Black River Harbor.  Along the way from Bessemer, you will see waterfalls, bluffs, forests, and rivers.

Along the way:

  1. Bessemer, MI
    Your starting point is at the stoplight in the middle of Bessemer.
  2. Bluff Valley Park
    Begin the trip by hiking the bluff for an amazing vista of your journey to come.  Look for Copper Peak in the distance  From here you can also see the city of Bessemer.  Try spotting spots around town like the City Hall, Historic Courthouse, and High School.
  3. Narrows Campground and Rapids
    As you travel north down the byway, you will see a small campground on the right. This is a small site available for camping with a pit toilet and located near the Black River.  At this point on the river there is a small rapids you can view.
  4. Copper Peak Ski Flying Hill & Adventure Ride
    Copper Peak is the largest freestanding ski jump in North America. Just viewing the jump itself is amazing, but what you need to do is take the adventure ride to the top for the most amazing view around. From here you will see Lake Superior, the Porcupine Mountains, surrounding communities, and on a clear day views of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and even Canada.  While here, you can also take out your mountain bike or hike the trail system which runs along the black river past some beautiful rapids and then up the hill and back down. Restrooms, a gift shop, and refreshments are available during Adventure Ride Open hours. Right past Copper Peak is also a trailhead stop for the North Country National Scenic Trail.
  5. Great Conglomerate Falls
  6. Potowatomi Falls
  7. Gorge Falls
  8. Sandstone Falls
  9. Rainbow Falls
  10. Black River Harbor
    It may be the end of the road, but it's not the end of the beauty. Black River Harbor, maintained by the National Forest Service is situated at the mouth of the Black River on Lake Superior. Here you will find a beautiful picnic area, boat launch, and a trek across an amazing suspension bridge to one of the most beautiful stretches of beach. This is a perfect spot for watching sunsets, rock picking, swimming, and beach bonfires. You can also make the hike along the North Country Trail to get another view of Rainbow Falls from the other side.

Little Girl's Point & Saxon Harbor Scenic Drive

Little Girl's Point and Saxon Harbor are two popular Lake Superior stops for locals and travelers alike.  This route will take you north from the stoplight in Bessemer and into Ironwood Township where you will pass through forests and farm fields and the Gogebic-Iron County Airport. You will find beaches, picnic areas, boat launches, campgrounds, and waterfalls along this route until you loop back in along US2 through Hurley and Ironwood.

Along the way:

  1. Bessemer, MI
    Your starting point is at the stoplight in the middle of Bessemer.
  2. Ironwood Township Airport Park & Pavilion
    Stop to stretch the legs near our regional airport where you will find a pavilion with a picnic area and a playground for the kids nestled amongst soccer fields and apple trees ripe for the picking in the fall.
  3. Lost Lake Park
    As you continue your journey from Airport Road onto Lake Road you will find Lost Lake, as the locals call it, or Spirit Lake on the map.  This small secluded lake has a small beach area for swimming and a pavilion with restroom facilities. It's a great place to fish, swim, picnic, and paddle.
  4. Little Girl's Point
    Little Girl's Point is one of the top spots for rock collecting in the area where people go to find agates, Yooperlites, and more. Stop at the county park where you will find a playground, picnic area, and campground. Be sure to read the story of how Little Girl's Point got it's name. Continue on to near Oman's Creek where you will find a boat launch and parking area with restroom facility and beach access.
  5. Superior Falls
    Between Little Girl's Point and Saxon Harbor you will find Superior Falls located near the mouth of the Montreal River.  The Montreal River makes up the Michigan/Wisconsin Border and ends in an impressive waterfalls.
  6. Saxon Harbor
    Another popular Lake Superior stop is Saxon Harbor, where you will find a marina and boat launch as well as picnic areas and access to the beach.
  7. Saxon Falls
    Upstream of Superior Falls you will find the also impressive Saxon Falls. This one is a little harder to get to, but worth the trek.
  8. Interstate Falls
    The last stop before heading through Ironwood and back into Bessemer is Interstate Falls just off of Highway US2.  You will see a sign just past Stoffel's Country Store where a road leads to a parking area.  A short hike will take you to the falls.

Local Mining History Scenic Drive

Follow the route of mining on the Gogebic Range.  Staying to the route of the map will take you through many of the big mine locations which are off the beaten path.

Along the way:

  1. Bessemer, MI
    Your starting point is at the stoplight in the middle of Bessemer.
  2. Bessemer Area Historical Society
    Head up Sophie Street in Bessemer and make a stop at the Bessemer Area Historical Society Heritage Center during open hours where you will find tons of information on mining and other history in the area.
  3. Second Avenue Railroad Bridge
    While in Bessemer head to the Historic Railroad Truss Bridge located at the intersection of Spring Street and Second Avenue.  This bridge is one of a kind in the country.  You can view from below at the intersection or visit the Iron Belle Trail trailhead on South Moore Street to walk across the top also passing over another historic railroad bridge.
  4. Plymouth Open Pit Mine
    Head on US2 toward Wakefield and turn right across from the road to Blackjack Ski Hill  This will take you through Wakefiel's Verona Mining Location and to the former location of the Plymouth Open Pit Mine. You will see rock cliffs dropping into the now water-filled open pit which is hundreds of feet deep.
  5. Ramsay Park & Keystone Bridge
    Continue into the small village of Ramsay situated between Bessemer and Wakefield. This mining community is home to the marvel that is the Keystone Bridge and includes an amazing playground and picnic areas.  Be sure to look around Ramsay, one of the cornerstone mining communities.
  6. Bessemer Mining Locations
    From Ramsay, you will head up the hill at Jagger's Ore House Restaurant through some of the richest mining locations on the range.  Upon reaching the top of the hill you will come to Anvil Location followed by Palms Location.  Many of the mining areas have now been overtaken by nature, but you can still see parts of mining structures between the trees and buildings from the era. Continue on through Bessemer down Colby Hill and into Yale Location.
  7. Colby Mine Memorial
    Upon entering Yale Location you will take a right and go a short distance to the Colby Mine Memorial.  This honors the spot where iron ore was first discovered. Parts of mining structures and open pits exist up in the hills surrounding.  Be sure, as you are continuing on through Yale Location to notice old mine buildings from the Yale Mine now being used by Bessemer Plywood Corporation and buildings from the Peterson Mine, the last operating mine on the range.
  8. More Mining Locations
    As you continue along Old County Road you will pass through a beautiful canopy of trees that lights up with magnificent colors during the fall and looks like a winter wonderland after a fresh snowfall.  This area passes through the locations of the Puritan Mine and Geneva Mine. This area is currently in use for logging and if you look into the trees you will see old railroad grades and a few mining artifacts.  Turn at South Davis Road and onto Bonnie Road which takes you into Ironwood Mining Locations of Bonnie, Jessieville, and Aurora.  Here you will see former mine buildings and other historic structures.  Some in use for industrial purposes and others no longer occupied.  You will notice Ironwood's iconic "Smiley Face" water tower overhead.
  9. Miner's Memorial Heritage Park
    Be sure to make a stop at Ironwood's Miner's Memorial Heritage Park, where you can hike or bike the trails in the summer and ski or snowshoe in the winter.  The park trails go by several historic mining sites with signage along the way.
  10. Historic Ironwood Depot Park & Historical Society
    Finish off the trip in downtown Ironwood.  Drive by the miner murals honoring those who worked during the era and visit the historic depot which includes a museum run by the Ironwood Area Historical Society and the Ironwood Area Chamber of Commerce.  The park also includes restroom facilities, a pavilion, and a play area for the kids.

Presque Isle River & Porcupine Mountains Scenic Drive

Another route lined with waterfalls taking you to the shores of Lake Superior.  This drive takes you along an absolutely beautiful route to the western portion of the Porcupine Mountains State Park finishing at the famous Lake of the Clouds with majestic beauty along the way.

Along the way:

  1. Bessemer, MI
    Your starting point is at the stoplight in the middle of Bessemer.
  2. Gabbro/Baker's Falls
    While heading down Highway US2, be sure to turn towards Blackjack Ski Hill where you will find an amazing waterfalls to start your journey. Depending on who you ask, this falls is called Gabbro Falls or Baker's Falls.  You can find a trailhead near the bridge over the Black RIver by the Blackjack Parking lot to view from below or if you go further up the hill on the Blackjack side there is a shorter route that takes you for a view from the top of the falls.
  3. Sunday Lake Park
    Your journey will take you through Wakefield where you can stop at Sunday Lake Park where you will find a sandy beach for swimming, picnic areas, playground, and camping.
  4. Root Beer Falls
    Shortly after you leave Sunday Lake Park along Highway M28 you will be able to pull off to view Root Beer Falls.
  5. Nawadaha Falls
  6. Manido Falls
  7. Manibezho Falls
    You will continue down County Road 519 through lush forest until you approach the Porcupine Mountains State Park.  The Presque Isle River runs through the east end of hte park and presents you with three amazing waterfalls along the route.  Be sure to check out each.
  8. Mouth of the Presque Isle River and Campground
    You will approach Lake Superior where you will find the mouth of the Presque Isle River and the State Park campground.  There are hiking trails that take you across amazing bridges allowing you to hike the beach at the mouth of the river for beautiful views of the big lake.
  9. Porcupine Mountains & Visitors Center
    Continue through The Porkies along South Boundary Road where you will find many amazing stops for hikes, rivers, and scenic vistas.  The road will take you to the Porcupine Mountains Visitors Center where you can learn more about the Porkies.  You can access Lake Superior beaches near here and stay at another State Park Campground or one of their Yurts or Cabins.  Don't stop here though...
  10. Lake of the Clouds
    Continue on from the visitors center into the park to find the amazing overlook at Lake of the Clouds.  Visitors come from all around to see this majestic view where the clear waters reflect the clouds above.  This is a major destination for fall colors and a place you will want to go back again and again.  Take a hike on the Escarpment Trail running by here or many others to really explore the Porkies.

South Bessemer & Erwin Township Scenic Drive

Take a short ride south of Bessemer to find amazing forests, fields, wildlife, and waters.  This trip will take you from Downtown Bessemer through parts of Bessemer Township to the south and into Erwin Tonwship where you will see forest, rocky terrain, farm fields, and more.

Along the way:

  1. Bessemer, MI
    Your starting point is at the stoplight in the middle of Bessemer.
  2. Granite Falls
    Just a short distance south of Bessemer and through Yale Location you will find Granite Falls at the end of Black River Lane, which is more of a rapids but provides a peaceful view nonetheless.
  3. McDonald Dam
    Further south, you will find McDonald Dam Road which turns to a dirt road leading to McDonald Lake.  Here you will find a dam with a bridge across that leads to a number of rustic campsites.  Pit toilets are available in the parking lot.  While hear you can fish or paddle on the lake to one of the islands or explore the rocks at this beautiful hidden gem.
  4. Black River Lake
    Head even further south to find Black River Lake.  You will think you are in the middle of nowhere before you finally find it.  The dirt road out here can be very bumpy, so beware but it should be accessible by most vehicles.  This is a great quiet little place to fish or take your kayak, canoe, or boat on the water.
  5. Norrie Park
    Heading back north, head towards Ironwood, taking in the beauty of Erwin Township along the way.  Along Norrie Park Road, you will find Ironwood's Norrie Park along the banks of the Montreal River.  The park contains a playground, disc golf, picnic areas, and restroom facilities.

Chaney Lake & Wisconsin Northwoods Scenic Drive

A trip from Bessemer through Wakefield south on County Road 519/Chaney Lake Road takes you through lush forest which make for an especially beautiful fall drive.  You don't want to only take this drive in the fall though, during summer this route will lead you to some amazing outdoor recreation and public lands for those who hunt.  Continue on into the Northwoods of Wisconsin and visit the nearby communities of Presque Isle, Winchester, and Manitowish Waters and enjoy the myriad of lakes to explore.

Along the way:

  1. Bessemer, MI
    Your starting point is at the stoplight in the middle of Bessemer.
  2. Mosinee Grade and Trails
    On your way down County Road 519/Chaney Lake Road you will come across a dirt road know as the Mosinee Grade surrounded by Gogebic County Forest.  This land is home to prime public hunting land and open to hikers looking to explore.  The Mosinee Grade is a rough road, but passible in most vehicles and a trailhead lies near the grade provided by the Michigan DNR as a Grouse Enhanced Management Site (GEMS) providing prime public property for Ruffed Grouse hunting including 4.5 miles of trails.
  3. Chaney Lake
    Driving by in the summer you may miss it behind the tree cover, but you will see the lake when the leaves are gone.  Chaney Lake sits near the Wisconsin border and is a great fishing spot.  A sign will direct you to the boat launch near the south end of the lake.
  4. Presque Isle, Winchester, & Manitowish Waters
    Head into the northwoods of Wisconsin for your day trip and enjoy these small resort communities and the surrounding lakes and nature. Swimming holes, boating, and a few dining spots are hidden amongst the woods and waters.

Lake Gogebic Scenic Drive

Head west to the largest inland lake in the Upper Peninsula, Lake Gogebic.  This lake is known for its fishing and boating, and there is a lot to see along the way including some hikes to beautiful vistas and several waterfalls.

Along the way:

  1. Bessemer, MI
    Your starting point is at the stoplight in the middle of Bessemer.
  2. Wolf Mountain
    Take a short jaunt off US2 to Wolf Mountain, the highest point in Gogebic County.  You won't be disappointed.  This hike leads to amazing views, especially in the fall, but is a fun hike all year long.
  3. Yondota Falls
  4. Nelson Canyon Falls
    North of Marenisco, you will find Yondota Falls along the Presque Isle River and continuing toward Lake Gogebic you will find Nelson Canyon Falls.
  5. Lake Gogebic County Park
    Camping with full hookups available at the south end of the lake with a beautiful view, boat launch, dock, and more.
  6. Alligator Eye
    Near the southwest corner of the Lake find this hike to a high point for a beautiful overlook of the lake and more.
  7. Lake Gogebic State Park
    Just up the way is the Michigan State Park situated on Lake Gogebic with great campsites and amenities.
  8. Bergland
    Head through Bergland on your way circling around Lake Gogebic.  Here you will find gas and food as well as a nice lakeside park with camping. Then continue on and see the west shore of the lake.
  9. Judson Falls
    South of Lake Gogebic you will find Judson Falls situated on the Slate River which feeds into the lake.
  10. Kabika Falls
    Jump back on Highway US2 and head a little west to add another waterfall to your collection and visit the impressive Kakabika Falls.