Explore the Keweenaw

High Rock Bay

The Keweenaw's reputation as the "end of the world" probably came from a visit to High Rock Bay.

Visit Duration
It can take up to 45 minutes each way to get out there, depending on how you drive.
Adventure Details
Difficult, 15 miles round trip, 1,276 ft. elevation gain.
Don't Forget
Bug spray, bear spray, plenty of water and snacks.

Reaching this fabled destination is one of the peninsula’s greatest challenges, but it also offers some of the biggest rewards, not the least of which is bragging rights.

The adventure begins with a 7.5-mile teeth-clattering journey over what some call the most dangerous road in the Keweenaw. The unpaved road is prone to turning swampy, making this a popular destination for overlanders. (If you don’t want your visit to end with waiting for a tow truck, we strongly recommend only attempting this drive with a 4×4 vehicle.)

Fresh Coast Tip

There is no cell service for miles around High Pock Bay, so take plenty of precautions. If you choose to hike in, be prepared for encounters with wildlife (including bears and wolves) on this deeply isolated route.

You can also hike in via the main road, or by taking the nearly 20-mile Keweenaw Point Trail used by bikers, hikers and runners.

At the end of your backcountry odyssey, the road unexpectedly opens into a grassy meadow that disappears into Lake Superior’s impossibly clear waters. Depending on the time of year, the meadow and surrounding woods may be well-populated with day trippers, overlanders and campers, but something about the fantastical vibe of this remote destination engenders an atmosphere of reverent awe.

Along with the 20-foot red cliffs that give the Bay its name, you’ll find incomparable views of Manitou Island as well as the Keweenaw Rocket Range, a historic rock launch test site built by NASA in the late 1960s.

Most notably, the shallow offshore waters here are a holy grail for local rock hunters, said to offer up copper deposits, agates and yooperlites as big as baseballs.

Photo: Heather Rassmussen / @heather.outdoors