For decades the Atlantic Mill at Cole’s Creek had been dumping its rather significant mill tailings into the west arm of the Portage Lake, extending the lake-shore some 500 feet in the process. By 1890 these tailings had encroached on the lake’s navigable channel, forcing the government to put a halt to the Atlantic’s operations. This forced the mine to build a new stamp mill along the shores of Lake Superior along with a railroad to access it – thus the Atlantic and Lake Superior Railroad was born.
Running for over 10 miles from Atlantic Mine to the newly established town of Redridge, the A&LS RR was one of the largest short line railroads in the Copper Country. With the establishment of the neighboring Baltic Mine in 1897, the rail line was extended once again to allow the new mines copper rock to be brought to the Atlantic Mill. By 1903 the Copper Range Company had acquired the old A&LS line, abandoning it in favor of its own Lake Shore branch line.
Some time later after its rails and ties had been torn up, the old A&LS right-of-way was converted into a surface road to accommodate the popular trend of auto touring. Today the old grade is known as Covered Road, and offers an unique and scenic detour along the way to Redridge. Due to its railroad origins, the old road is extremely narrow as it cuts its way through a dense swatch of sugar maples, their soaring trunks nestled right up to the roads edge. The raised grade offers a commanding view across a sprawling canvass of juniper scattered along the forest floor while high above the thick forest canopy envelops the road and assembles a grand cathedral of foliage in the process.
NOTES: The Covered Road is open to vehicle traffic all year long. Due to its extremely narrow nature the road can be treacherous at high speeds or inclement weather. Use caution!
DIRECTIONS: From Houghton head south along M26, turning right onto Houghton Canal Road a quarter mile from the bridge. Follow this road for roughly two miles until arriving at Cole’s Creek Road. Turn left onto this road and follow for another four miles until the road makes a sharp turn to the left. Covered road is straight ahead.