The Perfect Day in Ontonagon County
Welcome to Ontonagon County! If you’re looking for THE destination with amazing views, rich history, and good food, you’ve come to the right place. Ontonagon County sits on the south shore of beautiful Lake Superior in the west end of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. There’s so much to see and do, you’ll want to keep coming back for years to come. Here are just a few points of interest to make your visit to this incredible area memorable. (All directions are relative to the town of Ontonagon.)
ONE DAY IN THE NORTH…
Lake Superior and Syl’s Cafe
A wonderful way to start your day in the north end of the County would be an early morning cruise down Lakeshore Drive where you have your pick of spots on the beach where you can watch the sun rise over the Lake. When it’s time for breakfast, head back into town and stop at Syl’s Café at the north end of River Street. Syl’s is a favorite spot for locals and visitors alike where you’re sure to find a good meal in an appealing hometown atmosphere. Before you head out, be sure to order a few homemade pasties to go for a real treat for lunch while sightseeing.
Historical Museum and Lighthouse
Down River Street to the south, your next stop should be the Ontonagon County Historical Museum. Here you will find artifacts from the County’s history in mining, logging and farming. Stop in the gift shop for a souvenir before signing up for your narrated tour of the Ontonagon Lighthouse. The lighthouse, which sits on the west shore of the Ontonagon River, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
Porcupine Mountains and Lake of the Clouds
After visiting the lighthouse, head west on M-64 to get to a must-see location in the Porcupine Mountains State Park. 13 miles west of Ontonagon is Silver City, but you’re not there yet! Keep driving along the lakeshore for another 10 miles until you reach the Lake of the Clouds overlook. Just a short walk on the trail brings you to the escarpment and the view will take your breath away! The Porcupine Mountains State Park offers miles and miles of beautiful beaches, hiking trails for all skill levels and hundreds of spectacular waterfalls.
Konteka Restaurant…and bears!
If all the sightseeing and fresh air has made you hungry, you’re next stop should be the Konteka Black Bear Resort in White Pine. Not quite 6 miles south of Silver City on M-64, the old mining town of White Pine boasts another popular place for a good meal and some entertainment to go with it. While enjoying your meal, watch live wild black bears through their dining room windows!
The last leg of your day’s journey is 13 more miles south on M-64, which brings you to Bergland and the shores of Lake Gogebic. At 13,380 acres, Lake Gogebic holds the title of Michigan’s largest inland lake. Waterfalls and wildlife abound all around Lake Gogebic and it offers hunting, fishing, hiking, camping and much more.
Lake Superior bonfire
When you get back to Ontonagon, it’s time for hot dogs and s’mores around a bonfire on the beach at Lakeshore Drive. There’s usually plenty of driftwood lying around to burn. This is the perfect end to a busy day of exploring Ontonagon County.
…AND ONE DAY IN THE SOUTH
For a surprising and fun-filled day in the south end of the County, drive about 11 miles south on US-45 to Rockland, and then another 4 miles southeast of Rockland on Victoria Dam Road to reach the Old Victoria Copper Mine and Restoration Site. Take a step back in time with a guided tour of the log cabins, built over 100 years ago, that housed the miners in the late 19th century.
When you’re back from your trip into history, stop at Henry’s Inn on the main street of Rockland. Henry’s is famous for its Friday fish fry and extensive “smorgasbord” that keeps you coming back for more. Don’t miss out on this dining experience, as it’s sure to become one of your favorite stops in the county.
Now that you’re fueled up for some walking, take a drive down US-45 just under 16 miles until you get to the crossroads in Bruce Crossing. Turn left (east) on M-28 and go another 6 and ½ miles to Agate Falls State Park. Although not one of the more well known falls in Ontonagon County, it certainly is one of the most beautiful. On the middle branch of the Ontonagon River, Agate Falls is in a picturesque setting surrounded by forests and an old railroad trestle overhead. The established trails and overlooks give you a view from the top, but if you’re really adventurous you can make your way down the riverbank to the bottom for a fantastic view of the falls in all their glory.
If you haven’t had your fill of waterfalls, it’s time to head down to Bond Falls. The shortest route time-wise is back through Bruce Crossing. Go south on US-45 about 9 miles and you’ll be in Paulding. Turn left (east) on Bond Falls Road and drive 3 and ½ miles to Bond Falls State Park. Once there, follow the trail down to the base of the falls and take your time enjoying one of the jewels of Ontonagon County. Also available is a handicap accessible boardwalk with 6 viewing locations.
Who wants ice cream? Everyone, of course! So, when you are back in Paulding, stop at the Paulding General Store for a hand-dipped cone of your favorite flavor. While you’re there you may as well get some more souvenirs for your Ontonagon County collection.
The last stop of your trip to the south end of the County is the most surprising. Not quite 5 miles south of Paulding on US-45 turn right (west) onto Old US-45/Robbins Pond Road. Down this old road you will find the mysterious Paulding Light. For over 40 years people have tried to solve the mystery of the Paulding Light and many theories abound. Why don’t you come see it for yourself and see if you can explain the unexplainable?
These are just a handful of the attractions offered by Ontonagon County. We look forward to seeing you and are sure that once you visit, one visit just won’t be enough!