From Ontonagon  to Ironwood , once thriving mining communities, stretches some of the most untamed wilderness in all of Michigan. This western edge of the Upper Peninsula  is definitely a recreationist’s dream, favored for fishing, canoeing, hunting, hiking, and snowmobiling.
Come November, Lake Superior snows inundate the region, marketed to downhill skiers  throughout the Midwest as “Big Snow Country.” Many visitors never get past the area’s well-known downhill resorts and the homely stretch of U.S. 2 that links them.
Their loss, because when the snow melts, a beautiful landscape emerges of inland lakes and rivers for fishing and paddling , and hundreds of miles of national forest trails for hiking and biking .
After all, even in Big Snow Country, it stops snowing eventually—at least for a few months, anyway.
Although the western U.P. has a couple of small airports, in places like Houghton  and Escanaba  (both of which offer commuter service via Northwest Airlines), and Greyhound (800/231-2222, www.greyhound.com ) offers limited bus service to Ironwood, you’ll find it easier to traverse this area via car.