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Hancock Parks, Trails, and Attractions





Hancock is the gateway to the Keweenaw Peninsula, an area rich in history with rolling hills, magnificent scenery, and ample opportunities for outdoor adventures.

Recreational Trails & Routes

The Jack Stevens Trail, a paved trail that meanders along the Portage Canal and northwest to the Hancock city limits, is used for biking, walking and jogging during the warmer months and for snowmobiling during the winter. North of Hancock, the Jack Stevens Trail becomes dirt/gravel and extends to Calumet. Snowmobiles and bikes can loop back to Hancock through Lake Linden, Hubbell, and Tamarack City; for a map and more details, see Hancock - Calumet - Laurium - Lake Linden Trails section.

There is a paved path along US-41 that starts near downtown Hancock and goes northeast to the Quincy Mine, an historic site that was at the center of the copper boom during the mid-1800s. It's best used for walking or jogging. For a map of the paved path, see the maps page.

Using the sidewalks in downtown Hancock, you can walk past many historic locations and to many stores and restaurants. See the Downtown Hancock map on the maps page for locations along the downtown route.

Starting north of the Quincy Mine, cyclists can pedal their bikes on the paved shoulder along US-41 and ride to Calumet. For a map of the bike route, see the Hancock - Calumet - Laurium - Lake Linden Trails & Bike Routes section.

Cyclists can ride between Hancock and McLain State Park, which is about 10 miles northwest of Hancock. From downtown, you can ride on the outside edge of Quincy Street/M-203. Near Hancock Beach, a paved shoulder will be available along M-203, which cyclists can use to ride most of the way to McLain State Park. The road is curvy and features some hills along the way. There are several scenic views of the Portage Lake Shipping Canal (Portage Canal) along the route. Where there isn't a shoulder available, you'll want to ride along the outer edge of the road. Be sure to obey traffic laws and be alert when riding next to the road. For a map of the bike route, see the Hancock - Calumet - Laurium - Lake Linden Trails & Bike Routes section.

There are bike routes located along parts of Elevation Street and Campus Drive on the north side of Hancock.

Winter Sports

The Keweenaw Peninsula receives plenty of snow during the winter, making it the perfect destination for snowmobiling, snowboarding, downhill skiing, and cross-country skiing. The winter season from December 2010 to March 2011 saw 13 feet of snow fall in Hancock.
  • Cross-Country Skiing

    On the northwest side of Hancock, the Maasto Hihto Ski Trails offer an outdoor adventure for cross-country skiers. There are several trail loops with varying degrees of difficulty. The trailhead for Maasto Hihto Ski Trails is adjacent to the Houghton County Fairgrounds, just north of the Driving Park Baseball Fields.

    Other places to cross-country ski on the Keweenaw Peninsula are located in Calumet and Eagle Harbor. Houghton also has ski trails.

  • Downhill Skiing & Snowboarding

    Less than a mile east of Hancock on M-26 is Mont Ripley Ski Hill, which is used for downhill skiing and snowboarding. Mt. Ripley features runs for skiers of all skill levels, from beginner to expert. A chair lift, t-bar lift, and hoist chair lift take skiers to the top of the hill. The Mt. Ripley Chalet offers equipment rental, food, and beverages.

    For skiers that want an extreme challenge, Mount Bohemia is a destination for expert downhill skiers and snowboarders. Mt. Bohemia receives so much lake effect snow during the winter that they do not groom the ski runs. The ski area is located 35 miles north of Hancock, near Lac La Belle.

  • Snowmobiling

    Snowmobiling on the Keweenaw Peninsula offers an exciting challenge. Snowmobilers can do a loop to Calumet and back to Hancock by using part of the Jack Stevens Trail.

    See the Copper Harbor section for a map of snowmobile trails north of Calumet.

F.J. McLain State Park

F.J. McLain State Park is approximately 10 miles northwest of Hancock on the edge of the Keweenaw Peninsula. McLain State Park is one of the best spots in the Upper Peninsula to watch the sunset over Lake Superior. The scenic park features two-miles of sandy beach on Lake Superior with a pier that leads to the Keweenaw Upper Entrance Light, a lighthouse that was built in 1950. The pier buffers the incoming waves on Lake Superior and shelters the swimming beach near the west parking lot. Fishing is permitted from the lighthouse pier and at Bear Lake. You won't want to fish on the lighthouse pier when the waves on Lake Superior are tall.

Near McLain State Park's central parking lot, there are many picnic tables with views of Lake Superior and a large picnic shelter with nearby playground equipment. A second picnic shelter, bathhouse, and play area are located near the west parking lot.

McLain State Park has a large modern campground with 98 sites featuring electrical service and nearby restrooms. The park has rustic cabins for rent. For camping reservations, call (800) 447-2757.

Two hiking trails are located at McLain State Park:
  • Bear Lake Hiking Trail: One curves southeast from the eastern edge of the campground towards Bear Lake and then goes west to the park entrance; campers can walk along the edge of the drive and back to the campground.

  • Lake Superior View Hiking Trail: Starting from the park's central parking lot, the trail meanders through the woods offering periodic views of Lake Superior and the Keweenaw Upper Entrance Light. At a couple of spots along the trail, you can walk to the sandy beach on Lake Superior. The trail ends near the western parking lot.


Hancock Area Parks

Located on the far west side of Hancock, Hancock Beach is a nice park on the north side of the Portage Canal. The park has a sandy swimming beach with a short wooden dock. Nearby, there are two volleyball courts, a picnic shelter, and play equipment. The park also has picnic tables with a view of Portage Canal. A kayak can be launched from the dock near the beach.

Porvoo Park is a great spot to relax along the Portage Canal. The scenic park is named for the town of Porvoo, Hancock's sister city in Finland. A picnic shelter and picnic tables are available at the park, as well as benches with nice views of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge and waterfront area. The park's boardwalk area provides a nice spot for fishermen to cast their lines into the Portage Canal.

A short distance from the bustle of downtown Hancock, Terrace Park features tennis courts and a basketball court. The park on Dunstan Street also has a small playground.

Pine Park is a pie-shaped park with a small, modern playscape and a picnic area. The park is on the south side of Lincoln Drive/US-41 at the corner of Elevation Street.

Third Street Park has a basketball court, playground and picnic area. The park is on the west side of Third Street, north of Lincoln Drive/US-41.

Laurn Grove Park is a rectangular park on Roberts Street. The park features a skating rink, tennis courts, and a small playground. There are also basketball hoops within the rink area that can be used during the warmer months.

Driving Park Baseball Fields are located adjacent to the Houghton County Fairgrounds on the northwest side of Hancock, near the intersection of Birch Street and Ingot Street. There is parking a short distance from the baseball diamonds.

Near downtown Hancock, Montezuma Park features a grassy area with a small playground. The park is on the south side of Hancock Street/US-41, which is a one-way street that goes east past the park.

Condon Baseball Field is a play area on Anthony Street. The field is more for informal baseball or wiffle ball games.

Condon Park is a green space/natural area on Forest Street.

Scenic Turnout

For a terrific view of the Keweenaw Waterway, the scenic turnout on US-41 is worth a visit. It's just south of the the Quincy Mine. On sunny days, the park provides a spectacular, panoramic view of the Portage Canal, Michigan Tech's campus, Houghton, and distant mountains.

The easiest way to access the scenic turnout is when you are going north on US-41.

Boating & Kayaking

The Portage Canal is a waterway used by recreational boaters and shipping traffic, providing access to Lake Superior and Portage Lake. During the fall, the shoreline along the canal is especially beautiful as the trees change color.

Houghton County Marina is located just east of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge. The marina features 44 seasonal boat slips and 10 transient slips. The boat launch at Houghton County Marina features two ramps on the Portage Canal. There are picnic tables and restrooms are available near the boat slips, and the marina also offers showers, laundry, pump-out, fuel, ice, and electrical service. The harbormaster is on duty from May 1 through October 31. Houghton County Marina provides a beautiful view of Houghton's waterfront area. Downtown Hancock is less than a half mile from the marina. You can use the sidewalk on the bridge to cross the canal to Houghton, which has several stores and restaurants in its downtown area. For more details, call 906-482-6010 between May 1 and October 31, or call 906-482-8307 during other parts of the year.

On the west side of Hancock, there is a boat launch with a small parking area. The launch is located north of Hancock Beach on the west side of M-203.

On the Houghton side of the canal, recreational boats can be launched on to the Portage Canal from the boat ramp that is west of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge. Parking for boat trailers is available under the bridge.

Kayaks can be launched from the wooden dock at Hancock Beach, which is at the west end of the beach. On the Houghton side of the canal, kayaks can be launched from East Houghton Waterfront Park.

Note: when Lake Superior is very rough and producing surging waves, it can produce wavier conditions near the mouth of the Portage Canal.

Fishing

The Keweenaw Waterway, which includes the Portage Canal and Portage Lake, is known for walleye and northern pike.

Fishermen can cast their lines from the boardwalk area at Porvoo Park and from a wooden pier that is west of the Ramada Inn.

The Keweenaw Peninsula features several inland lakes that are good for fishing, such as Lac La Belle, Lake Medora, and Torch Lake. Copper Harbor also hosts the annual Copper Harbor Splake Ice Fishing Tournament in March.

A valid fishing license is required to fish on Michigan lakes and waterways, and you can get a Michigan fishing license online at the Michigan DNR E-License web site and at bait shops and sporting goods stores.

Lighthouse

The Keweenaw Upper Entrance Light is located about 10 miles northwest of Hancock at F.J. McLain State Park. The pier light was built in 1950 and serves as a guide for ships on Lake Superior near the mouth of the Portage Canal.

More About Hancock

Hancock is a city full of history. Copper mining played a significant role in the city's past, with the Quincy Mining Company establishing the community in 1859. For more about Hancock's historic places to see and visit, please see the Historic Locations & Attractions page.

The town is proud of its Finnish heritage and hosts the Finnish American Heritage Center and Finlandia University. Porvoo Park, located near the Portage Canal, is named for its sister-city in Finland, Porvoo.

From June through September, the Hancock "Tori" Farmers Market features vegetables, fruit, fresh baked goods, jams, jellies, and crafts near downtown Hancock, west of First United Methodist Church. The market is held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the grassy area in front of the old middle school on Quincy Street/US-41, which is a one-way street going west.

Hancock's downtown area has several stores and family restaurants along Quincy Street/US-41. Just north of downtown on US-41, you can buy groceries at Pat's Foods. You can also find more eateries, shops, and hotels across the Portage Lake Lift Bridge in Houghton.

Best Western and Ramada Inn are the two hotel choices in Hancock. Ramada Inn has a scenic location right on the Portage Canal.

You can also find more eateries, shops, and hotels in nearby Houghton.






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