20 Interesting Facts about the Upper Peninsula

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (U.P.) with over 80% of the land covered by forest is a place of wonder and discovery. There are 10.5 million acres in the Upper Peninsula and 8.8 million of those are forest. The U.P. is home to mountains, lakes, streams, waterfalls and of course almost entirely surrounded by Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron. Michigan is known as a winter wonderland and many Yoopers believe the U.P. is the reason why.

When you cross the bridge you do feel a difference. Life moves at a different pace. Folks don’t seem to be in such a hurry. You find yourself adapting to this way of life and enjoying all the Upper Peninsula has to offer.

Did you know?

Chlorastrolite - State of Michigan's GemstoneThat the state gem is Chlorastrolite, known as Michigan Greenstone is Michigan’s State gem? It is found largely in the Upper Peninsula

That Seul Choix Point Lighthouse in Gulliver in the Upper Peninsula has been guiding ships since 1895? The lighthouse marks a small harbor on Lake Michigan on the south shore of the Upper Peninsula 60 miles west of the Straits of Mackinac.

That Sault Ste. Marie was founded by Father Jacques Marquette in 1668? It is the third oldest remaining settlement in the U.S. and is the oldest town between the Alleghenies and the Rockies.

Trolls or Yoopers?

Mackinac BridgePeople from the Upper Peninsula call the people from the Lower Peninsula Trolls. This is because they live “under the bridge”. Anyone who lives south of the Mackinac Bridge is a troll.

In the Upper Peninsula they call themselves Yoopers. The word comes from the common nickname, the abbreviation for the Upper Peninsula, “U.P.” He is a U.P.-er.

The Mackinac Bridge is currently the 5th longest suspension bridges in the world. It connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas and spans 5 miles over the Straits of Mackinac.

Did you know that the Mackinac Bridge took 3 years to complete? It opened to traffic on November 1, 1957. Before the bridge, cars were ferried across.


Hungarian Falls

Hungarian Falls in the Porcupine Mountains

There are 300+ waterfalls scattered across the U.P. They range in size from under 5 feet to 48+ feet vertical drops. Almost all require hiking to reach, but there are paths (several barrier-free) to some of the most popular.

The tallest waterfall in Michigan is the Douglass Houghton Falls at 110 feet. It is located on the Keweenaw Peninsula between Lake Linden and Laurium.

Sable Falls located on Sable Creek in the easternmost portion of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore shows up in a common search as the tallest waterfall. The falls tumble 75 feet over Munising and Jacobsville sandstone formations. It may be considered tallest because it has a straight vertical plunge

Copper Country

Porcupine MountainsThe largest commercial deposit of native copper in the world is in the Upper Peninsula Known as Copper Country. It includes Keweenaw, Houghton, Baraga and Ontonagon counties as well as part of Marquette.

Michigan’s largest state park is Porcupine Mountains Wilderness on Lake Superior. It is home to some of the oldest mountains in the world.

Michigan’s highest point is in the Upper Peninsula. It is Mt. Arvon in L’Anse Township in Baraga County in the Huron Mountains and is 1,979.238 feet above sea level.

Did you know that the Gipper was from the Upper Peninsula? George Gipp “The Gipper” was Notre Dame’s first All American Player and was from the little town of Laurium.

Houghton had the world’s first pro hockey team. It was founded in 1903 with all players paid. They played at the Amphidrome from 1904 until 1906. 

Keweenaw County in the Upper Peninsula has the highest water-to-land Ration of any county in the U.S. Leelanau County in the Northwest Lower Peninsula is second.

Michigan is in 2 time zones. Four counties, Gogebic, Iron, Dickinson and Menominee in the western part of the Upper Peninsula are in Central Time Zone. The rest of the state is in the Eastern Time Zone.

Isle Royale

Isle RoyaleThe only National Park in Michigan is Isle Royale and it is in the Upper Peninsula. Isle Royale is the largest island in Lake Superior and is closer to Canada’s mainland than the U.S.

Isle Royale Park shelters one of the larges moose herds remaining in the U.S. The population has fluctuated over the years from a low of 500 animals to as high as 2,400. The only predator on the island is the gray wolf. The fluctuation of wolf numbers impact the moose population.

Isle Royale has the largest island in the largest lake on the largest island in the world’s largest freshwater lake. Simple put, Isle Royal in Lake Superior has Siskiwit Lake with Ryan Island. So, a lake with an island is on an island in a lake.

Watch for more facts and adventures in Northern Michigan!