Michigan Roadside Attractions: Keweenaw Snow Gauge in Mohawk, MI
Michigan Roadside Attractions is a periodic feature on Travel the Mitten that will explore the many interesting things that can be found on the highways, byways and back roads of Michigan, ranging from the interesting to unusual.
When visiting the Keweenaw Peninsula in the spring, summer or fall months it might be hard to picture the are completely covered in snow. A small roadside park north of Mohawk helps show just how much snow can fall during the Upper Peninsula winter here, as a giant snow gauge has been put up to show record snowfall as well as the previous year’s total. If you’re visiting during the heat of June, July or August, just the thought of 390 inches of snow should be enough to help cool you off for a few minutes.
The snow gauge stands roughly 30 feet tall, with the highlight being a 390.4 inch total for the 1978-79 season. It also shows a record low of only 161.1 inches during the 1999-00 season and the 30-year average of 240.8 inches. When we visited most recently (June, 2015) it also showed the snowfall for the 2014-15 season at just over 28 feet. And to think, here in Grand Rapids a winter with more than 100 inches is considered pretty harsh!
A wooden sign on site reads: “During the winter of 1978-79 Keweenaw County established a new snowfall record by tabulating a seasonal total of 390.4 inches of snow. This could be a new record set in the USA for the entire area east of the Rockies. The monthly tabulations for the winter of 1978-79 are as follows: Nov. 49.2 inches, Dec. 116.4 inches, Jan. 111.4 inches, Feb. 53.0 inches, Mar. 52.6 inches, Apr. 7.8 inches.”
The roadside park is small but grassy, and there is room for a quick walk, stretch or picnic. To reach Snow Gauge Park head north on US-41/M-26 for about three miles after driving through Mohawk. The Veterans Memorial and stone ship U.S.S. Kearsarge is also on this same stretch of road.