From 7,000 years ago to the 1900s people mined Keweenaw copper. Native peoples made copper into tools and trade items. Investors and immigrants arrived in the 1800s in a great mineral rush, developing thriving industries and cosmopolitan communities. Though the mines have since closed, their mark is still visible on the land and people.
Established in 1992, the Keweenaw National Historical Park (KNHP), in conjunction with more than twenty individual Heritage Sites, commemorates the heritage of copper mining on the Keweenaw Peninsula – its mines, its machinery, and its people. Begin your exploration by visiting the KNHP Visitor Center in Calumet. The KNHP Headquarters & Visitors Center offers a free interactive museum that dives deep into the history of the copper mining boom in the Keweenaw Peninsula.
Keweenaw Heritage Sites were established to help make a unique contribution to the copper mining story. Embodying stories of hardship, ingenuity, struggle, and success, each site allows you to explore the role mining played in people’s lives here and afar.
Heritage sites operate independently of the National Park Service. Sites stretch along the length of the Keweenaw Peninsula, from Copper Harbor to south of Ontonagon. All 23 sites provide a variety of experiences for visitors to choose from. Whether it’s climbing mountain peaks or strolling along Lake Superior shores; exploring dark, underground mines or walking through quaint historic villages; discovering the past at local museums, or biking past beautiful fall foliage; the scenery and history of the Copper Country is both sublime and captivating. Journey here today and step back in time to when copper was king.
The KNHP also offers Junior Ranger (ages 8+) and Explorer Ranger Programs (ages 4-6) for children visiting the area. Visitors can pick up the book at the KNHP Headquarters & Visitor Center or our Visit Keweenaw Welcome Center. Activity books can also be downloaded or requested by mail here. Once completed, a ranger will review the book and award a badge and sticker to the park’s newest Junior Ranger!
Visitors can spend weeks touring the Keweenaw’s heritage sites. But for those travelers with a bit less time (or just need some suggestions), KNHP staff have developed several itineraries to make the most of your visit.