Fort Wilkins Historic State Park

Fort Wilkins Historic State Park

If you’re captivated by lighthouse tours, enjoy biking, boating, hiking and more, then consider a visit to Fort Wilkins Historic State Park! Located in the Northern Keweenaw Peninsula, Fort Wilkins was a U.S. Army post opened in 1844. Take a minute to read about how this fascinating State Park should be on your list of must-see vacations!

Fort Wilkins was established after the War of 1812, to protect the interests of the U.S. Government during the Copper Boom. During this westward expansion, the post was built with officers’ quarters, barracks, a hospital, a powder magazine, guardhouse, quartermaster and sutler’s store. The Fort was in operation and home to many until 1867 when the post was reoccupied; after the American Civil War. The site was then used so that soldiers could carry out the remainder of their enlistments, however, in 1870, the post was abandoned.

In 1923, the entire Fort and the lighthouse near it became one large State Park. After many years of reconstruction, the State Park became available for visitor use, featuring a new parking lot, upgraded campsites, sewer systems, running water, a store and a shower house.

Now, Fort Wilkins is a vacation in itself; a step back through time as a perfect example of what it was like to live in the mid-19th century. Through the interactive exhibits and programs, you can explore the daily routines and lifestyles long past. Park areas also include Copper Harbor Lighthouse, which is available to visit during the day all summer long.

At Fort Wilkins, there is amazing camping. There are spots to pitch your gear as well as facilities for use during the day. Fort Wilkins is also home to one of the first lighthouses to appear on Lake Superior, making it a great landmark to visit. During the day, there are also costumed play-actors who demonstrate what it was like to live during 1844 and portray the history of the fort.

If you’re looking for more to do, there is an entire map of events for the state park, as well biking, hiking, cross country skiing and more! This location is booked full for the summer with fun events to educate visitors about the history of the fort and explore the area.

Around the peninsula, you’ll find the Estivant Pines, the Delaware Mine (copper mine) and guided tours. If you’re a photographer, visiting Fort Wilkins is necessary, so that you can capture the beauty of the waterfalls, shipwrecks, museums and sunset cruises! Day trips to Isle Royale, a local favorite, are available for the avid adventurer and for those that enjoy the water, charter dives!

If you’d like to visit Fort Wilkins this summer, the park and lighthouse are both open from Memorial day through mid – October. If you need information about the current cost for activities, you can reach the staff at (906) 289-966 or email them at

Directions to Fort Wilkins Hictoric State Park


Fort Wilkins Historic State Park is relatively easy to find, but can be a long journey. You will want to travel on US 41 for the entire length of the Keweenaw Peninsula up to Copper Harbor then head east out of town just over 1/2 mile. The sign for Fort Wilkins Historic State Park will be on your left and you will turn right into the park complex. This site does require a recreational passport which you can purchase at the entrance.



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