Plan Carefully to Paddle Lake Superior

The Lake Superior shoreline is one of the most stunning and challenging paddling experiences in the Midwest. Be sure you take advantage of these expertise and safety contacts before you put in.

Keweenaw Water Trail, an organization formed by dedicated Keweenaw paddlers, has created a waterproof map that guides paddlers along more than 100 miles of Keweenaw coastline. The map offers advice on put-ins and natural features as well as potential hazards so it makes a great trip-planning tool to supplement the more detailed navigational maps listed above. Find the $6 map at the vendors listed here, or order one from the Keweenaw Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.866-304-5722.

Keweenaw Adventure Company in Copper Harbor has kayak tours, lessons and rentals as well as maps and free advice from their seasoned staff. You can’t miss them, located on the main drag with the racks of mountain bikes out front.906-289-4303; keweenawadventure.com.

Down Wind Sports, with stores in Marquette and Houghton, has one of the region’s most diverse selections of outdoor gear, supplies and experience.906-226-7112 (Marquette) or 906-482-2500 (Houghton);downwindsports.com.

Sea Kayak Specialists, operated by certified instructors and world paddlers Nancy Uschold and Sam Crowley of Marquette, offers thorough instruction for complete beginners, intermediates or experts seeking certification of their own. In 2001 Nancy did a solo circumnavigation of Lake Superior. Sam, prior to becoming an instructor, guided on Isle Royale, so the pair has great stories, too. 906-250-4238; seakayakspecialists.com.

Keweenaw lodging, shops and more:
copperharbor.org
keweenaw.infokeweenaw.org

NOAA weather radio at 162.4 MHz – channel 2 for the near shore forecast for Lake Superior.

NOAA chart 14964-Big Bay Point to Redridge covers the entire Keweenaw and gives water depths plus topographical information. Standard topographical maps of the area are also widely used for navigation. nauticalcharts.com.

Aaron Peterson is a freelance writer and photographer based in Marquette, a short drive or a long paddle from the Keweenaw. To learn more about his work, visit aaronpeterson.net.

Note: This article was first published in July, 2006 and was updated for the web February 2008.

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