Gogebic County

Gogebic County has some substantial trail networks and is focused on further trail development, as indicated in its 2013-2018 Recreation Plan (PDF). Trails are a combination of linear, local loop, and long-distance loop and are almost entirely on publicly owned land, which Gogebic County has an abundance of – including the only County Forest program in Michigan. The County is exploring the possibility of joining forces with ski resort operator Copper Peak, Inc. to expand trails on property owned by the latter. The Ottawa National Forest is the largest provider of trails in the County, offering numerous designated non-motorized trails and over 100 miles of gravel multi-use forest roads. A variety of other entities control other trail systems as listed by local government below.

Furthermore, the Iron River to Marenisco Trail connects southern Gogebic County to a large system of trails in Iron County, and the group of segments connecting Marenisco to the state line south of Crystal Falls can collectively be considered the longest trail in the state. See long-distance trail systems for more information.

Trails in Gogebic County are listed and described below. Most of these are trails over land; water trails are denoted with Waves.

Bessemer Township:

  • Blackjack Ski Resort between the Cities of Bessemer and Wakefield offers 30 kilometers/19 miles of cross-country ski trails in addition to downhill skiing, snowboarding, and a terrain park. Contact blackjack@skiblackjack.com or (906) 229-5115 for more information.
  • Small Waves Black River is mostly flat water for 6 miles upstream of Ramsay.
  • State Line Trail is a rail trail that runs 107 miles through Gogebic county and partly through Iron. The trail has over 50 bridges that can overlook beautiful vistas. This trail is great if bird enthusiasts are trying to see eagle and osprey. This trail is used for mountain biking in the summer and snow snowmobiling in the winter.

Erwin Township:

  • ABR Ski Trails, located just south of the City of Ironwood, are a premier cross-country ski destination for a large surrounding area. The 1,100-acre site includes 60 kilometers/37 miles of trails of various types: skate, classic, combination, skijoring, snowshoe (over 10 kilometers/6.3 miles), and dog trails (4 miles). A 9.9-kilometer trail located on the adjacent Windy Ridge Nature Preserve is free of charge; a fee is charged for all other trails. Toilets, showers, a warming room, a shop, and various services are available, some with a charge.

City of Ironwood

A number of City-owned facilities offer short non-motorized trails.

  • The one-mile Cemetery Trail runs through that facility.
  • Depot Recreation Park has a trailhead for trails running east and west away from the site.
  • Longyear Park has a walking track.
  • Miners Memorial  Heritage Park and the 105-acre Norrie Park have internal trails.

Ironwood Township:

This township  has a wide variety of trail systems and the largest number of them in the county.

  • Airport Recreation Parkat the Gogebic-Iron County Airport north of the City of Ironwood, contains a system of interconnected paved walking trails.
  • Big Powderhorn Mountain, just northwest of the City of Bessemer, has a 32-kilometer network of cross-country ski trails along with downhill skiing, snowboarding, and a terrain park. Contact info@bigpowderhorn.net or 800-501-7669 for more information.
  • Black River Harbor Recreation Area: The corridor of Black River Road (C.R. 513) leading north from Bessemer through the lands of the recreation area to Black River Harbor is a National Forest Scenic Byway. Trails along the road include a segment of the North Country Trail and four short hikes to waterfalls. All of the trails include stairs, and all except Sandstone include viewing platforms. The trailheads are at well-marked parking lots along C.R. 513 beginning a few miles south of Black River Harbor. A developed U.S. Forest Service campground and other amenitites are located near the mouth of the river.
    • Conglomerate Falls is reached by a 0.75-mile hiking trail.
    • Gorge and Potawatomi Falls are reached by a series of short trails including one paved section at the Gorge Falls parking area that leads to an accessible viewing platform at Potawatomi Falls.
    • Rainbow Falls is reached on the west side by a 0.5-mile hiking trail leading out of a parking lot or on the east side by a 0.75-mile section of the North Country Trail reached by crossing the suspension bridge at the Black River Harbor Picnic Area.
    • Sandstone Falls is reached by a 0.25-mile steep and strenuous hiking trail.
    • North Country Trail within the recreation area is the only certified section of the long-distance trail in Gogebic County. The trail begins at the north end of Copper Peak Road and winds north for six miles past all five waterfalls to the harbor itself. The trail then continues another 5.8 miles east to the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.
    • Small Waves Black River is suitable for approximately 19 miles of paddling, but much of this is fairly advanced. Much of the lower 9-10 miles is particularly attractive for kayakers but includes many challenging drops. An easier segment is located in Bessemer Township (see above).
  • Copper Peak Ski Flying, located off Black River Road north of Bessemer, is beginning development in 2013 of an extensive mountain bike trail system. A special opportunity will be to ride the chairlift to the top of the ski hill and ride a bike down.
  • Small Waves Montreal River has segments of various levels of difficulty. The segment best suited for a long, easy float trip begins at Erickson Road, located approximately 3 river miles downstream of Highway U.S. 2, and ends at Saxon Falls. This run is approximately 17 miles long. Easy access to the river can be had in the City of Ironwood.
  • Mount Zion, north of the City of Ironwood, offers a 4-kilometer free cross country ski trail along with its downhill skiing and snowboarding.
  • Powers Road Recreation Area is a 25-mile system of multi-use (motorized and non-motorized, including equestrian) trails in western Ironwood Township owned and administered by the Gogebic County Forestry and Parks Commission. ORV and snowmobile use is heavy, the Powers Vista Trail being the main route. Near the center of the system, an interpretive trail of slightly less than one mile leads an overlook from Bald Mountain. Click here for a map. Plans are in place to eventually connect this trail system to a larger regional network.
  • Wolverine Nordic Ski Trails, north of the City of Ironwood, are composed of eight cross-country ski trails totaling 25 kilometers. The trails are on rolling terrain and can suit all skill levels. One trail is dedicated to snowshoeing. All trails are volunteer-maintained and -groomed. A chalet/shelter is available. Most trails are open to mountain biking off-season, offering both technical single-track and grassy ski trails. For more information, contact wolverinenordic@gmail.com or (906) 932-0347 (chalet phone).

 Marenisco Township:

  • Lake Gogebic Forest Trail, located in Lake Gogebic State Park, is a two-mile loop suitable for hiking and (ungroomed) cross-country skiing.
  • Waves Presque Isle River (see also Wakefield Township below) includes a difficult-to-navigate segment several miles north of the community of Marenisco, but flatwater segments are located in both directions, including a 16-mile segment downstream of C.R. 523. The Presque Isle Flowage, accessible from M-64 several miles south of the community, may be considered a water trail itself at 6 miles in length and with 15 miles of scenic shoreline interspersed with inlets and bays.

City of Wakefield:

  • Eddy Park on Sunday Lake has lighted, paved, wooded walking trails. The park includes a campground and other amenities.
  • Southwest Park has a lighted walking trail.

Wakefield Township:

  • Milje’s Ski Trails, located two miles south of Wakefield on C.R. 519, are approximately 15 kilometers in total length. The classical Nordic cross-country ski trails are groomed and cater to all skill levels. A warming building is located on site.
  • Indianhead Mountain, along with its downhill skiing, allows for some rugged hiking in summer. Contact info@indianheadmtn.com or 800-346-3426.
  • Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park includes about 20 miles of hiking trails in the northern tip of Gogebic County and a total of 108.3 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing (some groomed), and snowboarding. At 60,000 acres, the State Park is one of the largest undisturbed wilderness areas east of the Mississippi River. The east end of Gogebic County’s section of the North Country Trail is located within the park. Further information about the park’s trails and other recreation opportunities (including a developed campground and backcountry camping opportunities) can be found at the linked website.
  • Waves Presque Isle River, picking up on a flatwater segment downstream of Marenisco Township, has a variety of characters for its length as one of the longest streams in Gogebic County. The farthest-downstream segments are also the ones least suitable for leisure paddlers.

Watersmeet Township:

  • Imp Lake Trail, accessible from Imp Lake National Forest Campground, passes through a bog and includes a 0.8-mile wheelchair-accessible gravel hiking trail and boardwalk; the wheelchair-inaccessible return loop is 0.7 miles in length.
  • Ottawa Visitor Center in the community of Watersmeet has a quarter-mile wheelchair-accessible nature trail.  Also beginning at the Visitor Center is the Agonikak Trail, an 11-mile multi-use (mountain biking in summer and primarily snowmobile in winter) rail-trail leading south to Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin. Agonikak is incorporated into Wilderness Lakes Trails described below.
  • Sylvania Wilderness contains  26 miles of unmarked hiking trails traversing old-growth forests and lakesides. The Clark Lake Campground at the edge of the wilderness provides access to an 8-mile Lakeshore Hiking Trail  which encircles the lake for access to dispersed campsites.
  • Wilderness Lakes Trails are in the later stages of development by a non-profit corporation based in Watersmeet and Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin. The 40 miles of trails make up a loop connecting the two communities. The trail system generally skirts the edges of the Sylvania Wilderness’ group of lakes. Some segments (including all of the Wisconsin section) are dedicated trails, whereas others are low-volume shared roads (mostly the latter in Michigan’s case). Regardless of the type of route, almost the entire main loop is paved. Connecting gravel routes provide additional opportunities for mountain bikers. Future plans remain to construct additional spurs and to connect the trail system to Iron River via the existing Iron River – Marenisco Trail. Access sites, parking and picnic areas, and food outlets are available along the route.

Click here or on the map below for a printable PDF map and land-based trail information table.
Gogebic County Trail Map
Due to the small scale and level of detail in the map, we recommend using Adobe Reader version X (10) or higher to print in tile format or to print a selected area of the map.