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7 Things You Can Strike Off Your Bucket List By Visiting Bessemer, Michigan

Outside Pursuits | February 24th, 2020 |

Bessemer is found at the heart of Big Snow Country, making it an ideal location for exciting winter sports. This beautiful city in Gogebic County is also blessed with acres of public land and stunning scenery.

Here are just 7 things you can cross off your bucket list in Bessemer.  

#1. Try your hand at snowmobiling

Riding a snowmobile is an exhilarating experience. Bessemer falls within the snowbelt of Lake Superior, meaning every year Bessemer sees heavy snowfall with large fluffy flakes perfect for snowmobiling. The Western Upper Peninsula also benefits from 2,000 miles of groomed trails suitable for snowmobiling.

The readers of American Snowmobiler voted the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan the #1 Snowmobile Destination. Its National Forest trails offer fun for all the family with breathtaking natural beauty. The 70 miles of trails closest to Bessemer are maintained by the Gogebic Range Trail Authority, who take responsibility for grooming the trails and producing local trail reports.

#2. Enter a cross-country skiing contest

If you want to explore the wilderness in winter and keep fit, cross-country skiing is a fantastic sport. Thanks to that lake-effect snow, Bessemer and the Western Upper Peninsula area boasts one of the longest cross-country ski seasons in the Midwest. You can enjoy miles of groomed trails in the Miners Memorial Heritage Park, ABR Trails, and Wolverine Nordic Ski Trails.

Neighboring Ironwood holds the annual Sisu Ski Fest every January. In January 2020, 750 competitors lined up to compete. Competitors choose between a 15 km course or a more challenging 30 km course. You don’t have to be an expert. Several competitors in this year’s 30 km contest were novices. And watch out for the “Finnish Line” in downtown Ironwood.

#3. Explore the heights on a mountain bike

When the snow has melted, Bessemer is a wonderful area to explore on two wheels. Copper Peak offers 5-miles of exiting trails with fantastic views. Powderhorn Mountain and Wolverine Ski Trails are also great mountain-biking destinations.

Tour bikers will be interested to hear about the Iron Belle Trail from Ironwood to Bessemer. This is part of the 2,000-mile Belle Isle Park to Detroit biking and hiking trail that passes through 48 Michigan counties.

South Bessemer, Ironwood Township, and Erwin Township feature roads through breathtaking forests with countryside views that are perfect for cyclists to explore. However, if you’re likely to be out on the roads after dark, ensure your bike is equipped with bright bike headlight.

Naturally, the roads also make great hiking routes. And, if you want to be different, there’s nothing stopping you from exploring Bessemer on a pair of inline skates!

#4. Tell everyone about the one that got away

Bessemer is blessed with rivers, streams, and lakes perfect for fishing. In fact, there are 1,000s of fishing spots to choose from. Whether you enjoy fly fishing or bait, you’ll find great spots. Popular fishing destinations near Bessemer include Reed Creek, Manakiki Falls, and Nighthawk Creek.

In the lakes, rivers, and streams near Bessemer, you can expect to find sucker, white bass, and sturgeon, amongst other target species. The best way to find a great fishing hole is to talk to the locals. When you’ve chosen an ideal-looking spot, don’t forget to check with the Fish and Wildlife Department that it is open to the public.

#5. Go hiking and admire the wonderful waterfalls

Just north of Bessemer, you’ll find the North Country Trail. Follow the trail north alongside the Black River and headed toward Lake Superior, and you’ll pass no less than 7 amazing waterfalls over a 7-mile trek. And if you still haven’t had your fill, you can then follow an easy 4-mile hiking trail to the neighboring Presque Isle River. The trail following that river will lead you to another 3 cascades.

Bessemer in the fall is a sight to behold! The Northwoods become a riot of colors, with vivid green pines, strong yellow birches, and bright red maples. At this time of the year, the views from Copper Peak of the valley below are breathtaking.

And you don’t have to huddle up in your vacation rental over winter. When the big snow comes, the local hiking trails become fantastic snowshoeing trails.     

#6. Kayaking

The area surrounding Bessemer and the Western Upper Peninsula is riddled with lakes and rivers that make excellent kayaking destinations. You can choose from white water runs, slower rivers, and calm lake water.

Whatever your age and skill level, you can have fun in a kayak on Lake Superior, Lake Gogebic, in the Sylvania Wilderness, or any of the other lakes and rivers of the Western Upper Peninsula. The best time to kayak around Bessemer is between June and September, so time your visit to coincide.  

Kayaking is a great way of exploring along the shores of Lake Superior and gives you the opportunity to reach and camp upon remote islands untouched by the modern age. And the Sylvania Wilderness within the Ottawa National Forest features 19 ponds and 36 picturesque lakes with short portages along well-worn trails between them.

#7. Become a nature photographer

Whether you don’t get any further than Bluff Valley Park or you explore the whole of the Black River Harbor Recreation Area, you’ll see many fantastic sights around Bessemer. With breathtaking spring flowers, blue summer skies and lush green forests, vibrant fall colors, and a winter wonderland that comes early, this is a wonderful location to try out your nature photography.

Along the Black River, you can carry your camera to capture the rainbow over a waterfall or the sparkles on the icicles over the colder months. Look out for critters in the hardwood, hemlock, and pine trees. And if you reach the harbor, you might enjoy snapping photos of the myriad boats sailing across Lake Superior.

In the forests, watch out for cougars, wolves, coyotes, moose, bats, squirrels, and rabbits. But pay attention to warnings from locals and park rangers when it comes to contact with wild animals. Wild wolves aren’t pets!