Houghton MI (Michigan)

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Houghton MI cruise port

Canada and USA Rivers

Local Time
2024-06-13 07:25

min: 45 °F (7 °C) / max: 73 °F (23 °C) 54°F
Wind: 276°/ 5 m/s  Gust: 13.2 m/sWind: 276°/ 5 m/s  Gust: 13.2 m/sGentle breeze
5 m/s
Min / Max Temperature73 °F / 23 °C
45 °F / 8 °C
  Port Map

Houghton is a Lake Superior cruise port and city in the USA's Michigan state (Houghton County ) with population around 8,000. The town is on the Keweenaw Peninsula and Portage Lake (Keweenaw Waterway). Larger cruise vessels anchor outside Dollar Bay (Portage Lake) and transport/ferry their passengers to the town (Bridgeview Park) via the ship's tender boats.

The only road across Portage Lake is Highway US 41 via Houghton-Hancock Bridge (aka Portage Lake Lift Bridge). The Bridge is movable (vertical-lift bridge), with its middle section being lifted (from 4 ft over the water to 100 ft / 30 m bridge clearance, above waterline) to allow ships and riverboats to pass underneath. The Portage Lake Bridge was opened in 1959, has length 500 ft (150 m), 2 decks (each with 4 lanes) and weight ~43 tons, ranking it the world's heaviest double-deck lift bridge.

Keweenaw Waterway is an altered waterway cutting across Keweenaw Peninsula and separating Copper Island from mainland Michigan. In the mid-19th century, the natural waterway (small river) was dredged to an artificial canal (min-depth 25 ft / 7,6 m). The expansion allowed access to large bulk cargo ships to the Keweenaw Peninsula's copper mines and also supply boats to reach Houghton and Hancock. The waterway is also known as Portage Canal, Portage Lake, Portage River.

The region is popular among tourists for the Keweenaw Water Trail (loop marine route around-through the Peninsula) that during summer months allows water sports activities like canoeing, kayaking, paddling. The full marine route can be covered in 6-8 days (depending on wind conditions). As part of this route, Copper Island's circumnavigation (passing through Portage Lake Canal) is also very popular. During winter, the region's most popular sports are ATV and snowmobiling. The scenic Bill Nicholls Trail (ATV and snowmobiling multi-use trail) has length ~41 mi (65 km) and runs between Houghton and Mass City on the former Copper Range Railroad.

In 2022, Viking Cruises USA (via the brand Viking Expeditions) started its Great Lakes seasonal program. The ship deployment is for one-way itineraries (between homeports Toronto, Thunder Bay, Milwaukee) and includes regular visits to ports and destinations in Canada's Ontario state (Thunder Bay, Toronto, Welland Canal, Niagara Falls, Point Pelee NP) and the USA's Minnesota-Michigan-Wisconsin states (Detroit MI, Alpena MI, Mackinac Island MI in Lake Huron, Apostle Islands MI, Houghton MI, Traverse City MI, Milwaukee WI on Lake Michigan, Duluth MN).

All Viking Great Lakes cruises feature passing through Soo Locks at Sault Ste Marie (Lake Superior - Lake Huron transition). The 8-day voyages are themed "Niagara and the Great Lakes" (from Toronto to Milwaukee), "Undiscovered Great Lakes" (from Thunder Bay to Milwaukee) and "Great Lakes Explorer" (from Milwaukee to Thunder Bay).

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