Rising over 700 feet above Lake Superior, the high ridges of West Bluff stretch for over 8 miles between Agate Harbor to the west and Copper Harbor to the east. This towering precipice became the heart of a massive Depression Era works project, putting hundreds of unemployed mine workers to work in the creation of a nine-mile long road along the mountains spine. In 1933 this scenic drive was opened to the public and became one of the most scenic (and highest) drives in the Midwest.
The highlight of the drive – known as Brockway Mountain Drive – is it’s road-side lookout found atop the bluff’s peak. The lookout sits some 1328 feet above sea level, bordered on its southern face by a hundred foot shear cliff. Form this lofty lookout visitors have an unobstructed 270º view across the peninsula and out over Lake Superior. Highlights include the sparkling waters of Lake Medora to the south, the high ridgeline of the Keweenaw’s spine sloping up from the blue waters of Lake Superior to the west, and on clear days the dark blue mountains of Isle Royale on the northern horizon.
The scenic views don’t end there, however. From the lookout the road continues to ride along the mountain’s peak for several more miles, set back from the cliff edge by a series of intricate stone walls built by some of the same mason’s that built the great buildings of C&H. Here the views are equally as stunning, looking out over the Garden Brook Valley and the 1300-foot high Rocky Ridge beyond. Before turning back to Copper Harbor, a final scenic turnout allows a sweeping view across the town and Lake Superior beyond.
NOTES: This is by far the easiest high point to reach in the Keweenaw, accessed along its entire length by a paved road. A large parking area sits along the stop of the bluff, from where its only a short walk across some gravel to the lookout. All along the craggy bluff, sandstone walls have been built to keep onlookers away from the steep cliffs – but there are no fences. Steep cliffs and sudden drop-offs are prevalent along the route. The western approach climbs the hill very gradually along a relatively straight roadway. The eastern approach, however, scales some very steep hills and makes some very sharp turns – including hairpins.
DIRECTIONS: From Eagle Harbor follow M26 eastward for about 4 miles. The highway will make a sharp turn to the left while the road up to the west bluff (Brockway Mountain Drive) will be straight ahead marked with a large sign. Go straight and follow it up the mountain for another 5 miles at which point you’ll arrive at a scenic outlook at the summit.