Family Must-Dos on the Iron Belle Trail

Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail offers two paths from Belle Isle to the Upper Peninsula. Find hidden adventures and things to do on your family’s next trail adventure.

The Iron Belle Trail  is the perfect fit for a family ready to hit the road and have hiking or biking fun. This 2,000-mile trail contains all the views and outdoor-lovers cues along a path that winds from Belle Isle to the Western tip of the Upper Peninsula. 

Make the most of your next adventure on the trail with sight-seeing and adventure-beating opportunities along the way. To make the most of your mitten, try out some of these unique activities to expand your Upper Peninsula horizons. 

Belle Isle Park

Location: Belle Isle, Detroit 

Why it’s fun: Also known as the starting, or ending, point of your Iron Belle journey, this spot is a key destination for all travelers. First, slither into the Belle Isle Nature Center to catch the 19 species of michigan wildlife including the Black rat snake, snapping turtles and fallow deer. 

While you are there, consider feeding the deer with some snacks as you learn about their history on the island. 

From June 8th to Labor day, tourists can let their wild sides free as they adventure on the Giant Slide. Grab a potato sack and free slides with your kids down this rainbow-looking road. 

Lastly, after visiting the Belle Isle Aquarium and this spot’s other educational attractions, end the day with a splash at the Detroit River. With opportunities for learning, getting your heart rate up and then cooling down, Belle Isle is a must-see during your Iron Belle journey.

Black River Harbor Recreation Area 

Location: Black River Harbor Recreation Area

Why it’s fun: The campground and waterfalls are just the start of the magic held in the Black River Harbor Recreation Area. In the summer, locals like to boat the river and mozy around as they take in the sights and sounds of the recreation area. 

This spot is the perfect place to lay out in the sun, catch your breath or even stay overnight at the campgrounds as you appreciate this hidden gem area. The hardwood trees are just one of the naturalistic elements of this area that mix with the scenic waterfalls filtering into Lake Superior. 

Reserve a campground spot and plan ahead to visit and don’t miss out on the outdoor activities at Black River Harbor

Downtown Ironwood

Location: Historic Aurora Street

Why it’s fun: Take a trip to downtown Ironwood where museums, murals and music comes together in a little historic town. This place is located at the tip of the Iron destination, which gives the traveler a much-needed break with a variety of things to do. 

At this “mile 0,” families can explore the Ironwood Depot museum where you can view iron mining displays, memorial railroads and some of the oldest artifacts in Ironwood. The other park is another art-fully engaging attraction in the downtown area, complete with musical concerts and performances if you catch the place on the right day. 

If you are ready to hit the pause button then grab a book at the Ironwood Carnegie Library, and take a break at Pocket Park. Downtown is a must-see destination for all bikers, hikers and families desiring to explore, more at Ironwood!

Escape the Castle

Location: 415 E. Bundy St., Ironwood 

Why it’s fun: During spooky season, Ironwood is filled with festive opportunities for the family. Escape the Castle is a 60-minute terror-filled opportunity to work together to find your way out of the haunted home. 

Each room features small puzzles, mind games and interactive objects for an overall family adventure. The 100 year old house is not only a haunted maze to explore but holds a rich history of the abandoned school that used to claim this property. Explore the mystery and learn the history of the spookiest place in town, able for visits all throughout the month of October. 

Hiawatha Statue 

Location: Burma Road, Ironwood 

Why it’s fun: To add a little fun into your sightseeing adventure down the Iron Belle Trail, take a turn into Ironwood to see the largest statue of a Native American in the world. Hiawatha reaches a measure of 52 feet tall and weighs a whopping 9 tons. Not to mention he is able to withstand the weathers and strong winds of Michigan as his bright red color and internal steelwork stay intact. 

Take a photo with this impressive statue and be on your way with this quick and interesting stop. 

Little Girls Point

Location: Ironwood Charter Township 

Why it’s fun: Little Girls’ Point is the one-stop destination for all things recreational and environmental enjoyment. Pitch the tents, swim or lay out on sandy beaches and take a camping break to experience the slower side of life. 

If you are looking for a resting spot either for the night or just the day, the Little Girls’ Point will be a hit for nothing but serendipity in the air. Folks love the quiet beaches and peaceful views that make up the (little) point. Not to mention the playground, covered picnic areas, and campfire pits that keep the point intact for camping adventures. 

Mt. Zion Ski Hill and Overlook

Location: Ironwood Charter Township 

Why it’s fun: Either lookout or a “look at me!” This spot is a chance to show off those skiing and snowboarding skills. Mt Zion contains the best of both worlds: views and opportunities to cruise the mountain. 

During the winter season,  it’s all about skiing and snowboarding on the hill, which offers lessons and opportunities to put your skills to the test. For the little ones, the snow-tubing park is a fun and smooth adventure through the mountain. 

In the warmer seasons the hill and overlook is a great place to view the stars or spend time at the look out. You can also take a break from the trail and enjoy the frisbee golf or mountain biking opportunities that the complex has to offer. 

Norrie Park

Location: Ironwood 

Why it’s fun: Norrie Park is not your NORmal outdoorsy stop, but a place for all kinds of leisure activities including biking trails, community gardens, a river walk, pavilion, playground and areas for cookouts. 

Take a snack or game break at this 105-acre park located on Norrie Park Road in Ironwood. If your fishing game is strong, then grab the poles and set out for a fish-and-dip trip in the river. 

Interestingly enough, this recreation park was home to the Civilian Conservation Camps during the Great Depression. This park can bring both the present fun and learning about the past at the recreation site. 

Olde Suffolk Ale House

Location: 125 S. Suffolk St., Ironwood 

Why it’s fun: When the night approaches and your stomach is growling, look no further than the Olde Suffolk Ale House. The restaurant and bar contains a variety of special drinks and foods, along with weekly specials that are served all month long. 

Their 20-ounce “king cut” prime rib is one guest favorite, along with the homemade meatballs, pizza and sandwiches. The House is located in the corner of comfy and crafty as their crafted beers and dim-lit atmosphere is the ideal resting spot for cyclists along their Iron journey.

Sit back, kick back, and relax with the cozy touch of the Olde Suffolk Ale House.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Location: Munising 

Why it’s fun: Considered a place hidden in the colored rocks, Pictured Rocks is a small island getaway with a large agenda of things to do.

The Bear Trap Inn is a family-friendly restaurant nestled between the Hiawatha National Forest and the Pictured Rocks with filling food and friendly critters covering the walls. If you are feeling warm and wooly, greet the bears at the Oswald’s Bear Ranch, which is home to orphaned bear cubs. 

Load up the camera and snap away at the Miner’s Rocks right on the shore of Lake Superior where picture-perfect landscapes come to fruition. The bold and colorful cliffs span for 15 miles across the lakeshore and create a wonderful photo opportunity to share with the family back at home. 

See the Northern Lights

Location: White Fish Point 

Why it’s fun: The Northern Lights are a dancing, colorful display in the sky that will bring a whole lot of vibrance to your night. During the spring and autumn seasons, the lights come out only during the most stable weather conditions. 

The Pictured Rocks National Lake House is a top spot for viewing the lights in action — just grab the camera. Plan your night ahead of time during those peak months to experience the happy sky with the family that’ll be sure to spread happiness to the faces of the loved ones, young and old.

Stormy Kromer Factory Tour

Location: 1238 Wall St., Ironwood 

Why it’s fun: The origins of the first Stormy Kromer baseball cap are stitched into this museum, which is also lined with lots of fun information about the interworks of the historic clothing company. 

The caps built for both comfort and cozy are created right here in the Upper Peninsula. Take a tour to learn more about the traditional novelties and have the chance to take home an item at the end. The Stormy goods can be a great addition to the outdoor wear for the Iron Belle trip, bearing the winds and spins of the biking journey.

Whitecap Kayak

Location: 930 E. Cloverland Drive, Ironwood 

Why it’s fun: It’s all fun and games until someone gets splashed, or tipped, in a Kayak! Prevent a wet spill and allow one of the certified Kayak specialists to venture out with your group along Lake Superior. 

Whether it’s a half-day sea paddle, or a quick trip to the nearby beach, the adventure with Whitecap has you covered. Take a pristine paddle and learn a lifelong skill as you take up a kayaking opportunity at the Whitecap Kayak facility on Lake Superior. 

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