In the historic ghost town of Delaware lie the ruins of the Keweenaw's oldest copper mine.
- 47.252747, -88.55524
- Don't Forget
- Long pants, flashlight or headlamp, jacket for underground, waterproof boots or shoes with good traction, snacks for an underground picnic.
- Best Time to Go
Fresh Coast Tip
While visitors are encouraged to take their time on this self-guided tour, the grounds close promptly at 6 p.m. Keep an eye on the time to avoid an unplanned sleepover in a haunted mine shaft.
Famous for yielding 8 million pounds of copper over a 40-year period, the Delaware Mine is one of the area’s best-preserved examples of mining history, and its self-guided tour model makes you feel like an archaeologist discovering the site for the first time.
Start with the brief video in the welcome center to get your bearings on the mine’s history, then descend 100 feet to the first of 10 underground levels where copper was extracted from Keweenaw conglomerate. The original workings extend 1/3 of a mile through the ground, with rich copper veins still visible within the rock walls.
There is plenty of signage along the way to guide your exploration and even a picnic area where you can enjoy a meal break just as the miners would have done. (Bring along a pasty lunch to give your underground picnic that historically accurate touch.)
Back above ground, follow the forest paths to see the original pump house, hoist, and other mine buildings, as well as historic mining equipment and engines that carried the mineral loads to Copper Harbor for shipping.
Without a doubt, this Keweenaw Heritage Site offers the most historically accurate experience of a Copper Country mine, complete with uneven footing, dim lighting, and narrow passages, so use caution during your visit, especially if visiting with children or people with limited mobility.
Photo: Amanda Taivalkoski / @amandeliini