Photo Gallery Friday: Fort Wilkins Historic State Park, Copper Harbor
Photo Gallery Friday is a regular feature on Travel the Mitten that will help showcase photos from places where a few pictures just aren’t enough to show off everything.
Fort Wilkins Historic State Park in Copper Harbor, Michigan is home to a recreated 1840s fort, two campgrounds, a historic lighthouse, outdoor recreation opportunities and more. The park is located at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula, the northernmost point on the mainland of the Upper Peninsula. A copper mining boom hit that area in the early 1800s, and a fort was constructed here to help keep the peace among locals as well as between miners an Native Americans. The fort sits on a piece of land between inland Lake Fanny Hooe and Lake Superior, just east of what is now “downtown” Copper Harbor.
The fort proved largely unnecessary as no major conflicts arose, and by the 1870s it had been completely abandoned by the military. It became a state park in the 1920s and remains one of the Upper Peninsula’s most popular parks due to both its history and location. During summer months, costumed interpreters are at the fort depicting what Army life was like here in the 1800s. Some of the buildings survived, while others have been recreated after archaeological digs. Signs in front of the buildings note what they were and what their significance was to the complex.
In addition to the fort, the state park has a day use area, campground with more than 150 sites, four miles of hiking trails, and access to Lake Fanny Hooe for swimming, fishing and other activities. The Copper Harbor Lighthouse sits on a point across from the fort, and can be viewed from the Astor Shipwreck Park or visited through tour boats that leave from the marina west of town. Copper Harbor is a popular summer destination thanks to its seemingly unlimited outdoor recreation opportunities (mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, mine ruins, fishing and more) – check out our list of 12 Things To See and Do in Copper Harbor for ideas to enhance your stay.
Find out more about the park and reserve your stay at the Michigan DNR page, and enjoy the photos below that showcase the fort buildings, trails, and campground.