Inside An Old U.P. Copper Mine: Ontonagon County, Michigan
If you’ve ever wanted to walk through an underground mine tunnel system, here’s your chance…and it’s legal.
Sitting abandoned for approximately 50 years, the Adventure Mine is located in Greenland Township, Ontonagon County, right at the base of the Keweenaw Peninsula. It opened for the first time in 1850 and lasted 12 years until 1862. It was purchased in 1863 and named the Adventure Copper Company, and re-named in 1898 as the Adventure Consolidated Copper Company.
Production slowed to a halt in 1908, started up again during World War I, stopped again in 1917, and closed for good in 1920.
With thanks to whoever had the foresight to save and preserve the old mine after being abandoned since 1920, the tours began in the 1970s.
Going through the Adventure Mine is like a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you’re not too claustrophobic, then here’s the question: how long would you be able to stay underground in an 1800s copper mine, wearing a helmet with a single light attached (as the old miners used to wear)? Are you scared of bats? Because there are quite a few hanging from the rocks, as you’ll see in the photo gallery below.
You have your choice of how long you wanna stay in the mine:
1) A 45-minute underground walk
2) A one hour, 20-minute underground hike
3) A three-hour tour which includes rappelling down a rope (or cable) into an 80-foot deep shaft
4) A six hour journey to the mine’s second level, including lunch
Also in the gallery below, you’ll see writings on the mine walls left from various miners - in particular, writings from 1919. Guides take you thru the twists, turns, and tunnels, past the bats, over puddles, thru low-head passages, past mineral specimens still in the mine walls, rail tracks, and more cool stuff.
For the more claustrophobic ones in your entourage, they can hang out in the gift shop/concession stand, load up on snacks, and get a few souvenirs while waiting for you to get back.
Throughout the decades ever since, various owners have come and gone, but they all continued the tours. In my humble opinion, the best time to go would be during the winter, when there’s a beautiful blanket of snow surrounding the area…you’ll see what I mean in the gallery below…!
Inside An Old 1860 Copper Mine
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