Keweenaw Peninsula Love: Eagle River Falls, Tempestuous Coast, Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, and More

The Keweenaw Peninsula is gorgeous. Like, if they didn’t get an average of 300 inches of snow a year (yes, you’re reading that correctly), I would consider living there someday. The peninsula has many of my favorite types of landscapes and features: rugged, rocky coastline (with lighthouses), big trees, and saturated blue water. It’s only missing mountains but seriously, it’s a stunner.

After leaving Calumet we drove north up the western coast, making a planned stop at Eagle River Falls – which included a bonus truss bridge built in 1915 – then pulling over for a roadside waterfall we passed and a lovely beach before arriving at Eagle Harbor Lighthouse. Because it was too early for the lighthouse to be open we began exploring the nearby shore and we are so glad we did. There had been a storm overnight and the residual winds were kicking up all sorts of fantastic spray. Coupled with the rugged volcanic rock, the stormy, tempestuous water reminded me of the North Atlantic coast: We both remarked that it seemed impossible that this was a lake and not an ocean.

The Eagle Harbor lighthouse is original to 1871 though it replaced an earlier light station dating from 1851 whose construction was necessitated by the rise of the copper mining industry and the need to guide transport ships around the treacherous coast of the Keweenaw. The 44 foot tower and red brick keeper’s quarters are incredibly picturesque but was interesting about the lighthouse was that it wasn’t automated until 1980 – approximately 20-30 years after most others. I meant to ask the volunteer staffing the keeper’s quarters why that was the case but we got into some protracted discussions of snowfall and life on the peninsula.

Eagle River Falls, Eagle River, Michigan

Eagle River Falls, Eagle River, Michigan

Eagle River Falls, Eagle River, Michigan

Eagle River Falls, Eagle River, Michigan

Lake Shore Drive Bridge, Eagle River, Michigan

Lake Shore Drive Bridge, Eagle River, Michigan

Lake Shore Drive Bridge, Eagle River, Michigan

Lake Shore Drive Bridge, Eagle River, Michigan

Jacob's Falls, Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan

Jacob’s Falls, Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan

Beach stop, Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan

Beach stop, Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan

Me taking pictures on the beach, Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan

Me taking pictures on the beach, Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan

Beach stop, Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan

Beach stop, Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan

Eagle Harbor, Michigan

Eagle Harbor, Michigan

Near Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, Michigan

Near Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, Michigan

Near Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, Michigan

Near Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, Michigan

Near Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, Michigan

Near Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, Michigan

Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, Michigan

Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, Michigan

Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, Michigan

Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, Michigan

Tower stairs in Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, Michigan

Tower stairs in Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, Michigan

View out tower window, Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, Michigan

View out tower window, Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, Michigan

Victrola in Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, Michigan

Victrola in Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, Michigan

Lake Bailey, Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan

Lake Bailey, Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan