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Dig into the Upper Peninsula’s mining history

The Keweenaw Peninsula—Ontonagon County’s neighbor to the east–is known as Copper Country, but mining was a big industry throughout the U.P. When copper was discovered in the area in the 1800s, business tycoons jumped on the opportunity and began establishing mines throughout the peninsula. Thousands of immigrants searching for work settled in the western Upper Peninsula, where the copper mines gave promise of a brighter future. Mining operations grew so large that profits exceeded those of the famous Gold Rush. Today, many of these historic mines are open to the public for tours, allowing visitors to step back in time for a firsthand look at the lives of miners from a century ago.

Quincy Mine

The organization that runs the historic Quincy Mine prides itself on maintaining one of the area’s oldest mines and educating tourists who want to learn more about its history. Located in Hancock, the Quincy Mine ended its copper mining operations in 1945. The site features a tram ride inside the mine and is home to the largest steam-powered hoist engine ever built. The mine’s passionate, knowledgeable tour guides bring its history to life as visitors travel underground to see how the miners lived and worked a century ago.

Adventure Mine

Adventure Mine offers a wide range of options to visitors looking for thrills. There’s something for everyone at this complex east of Ontonagon, and the tours are designed to give you the best adventure for your interests and capabilities. Visitors can choose from four different tours, all varying in intensity and length. Options range from exploring walking paths to rappelling down shafts and climbing walls, all with the assistance of trained guides.

Delaware Copper Mine

The Delaware Copper Mine is one of the oldest mines in the area—it operated from 1847 to 1887. Tours are self-guided and family-friendly. Visitors can walk at their own pace and admire the mine’s historical artifacts. The tour ends at a gift shop where visitors can ask staff questions and learn about the underground picnic site that offers a place for an unforgettable lunch.

Learn more about Ontonagon County’s mining history.

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Note: Please travel safely and responsibly when you are visiting the Porcupine Mountains and Ontonagon County. Some businesses and facilities may have modified hours or procedures; please contact them directly for information. See Michigan’s latest coronavirus orders here.

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