The nature area contains miles of hiking trails suitable for visitors of all ages and accessibility. The trails are usable year-round, with some of the best times to visit when there is enough snow to snowshoe out through the wet areas surrounding the pond. In addition to the gentle hiking trails, Paavola also offers a universally accessible crushed-gravel trail linking vantage points on the beaver pond and farmstead clearing. This looped trail, perfect for those with families or disabilities, takes you through a range of forested and wetland habitats and is an important component of the Copper Country Trail. There is a large parking area and trailhead with a pit toilet for the public to use during your visit.
Planning your visit
The main trailhead is near the end of No. 9 Road, north of Hancock off of US-41. There is substantial parking suitable for many vehicles, including school buses. See directions above for detailed instructions on how to find the trailhead. A small parking area (the original west trailhead) is available to tuck vehicles off the road. Neither parking area is plowed. However, traffic is light on No. 9 Road so you may park alongside the plowed shoulder.
Why this place is special
Located just outside of Hancock along US-41, our Paavola Wetlands Nature Area is home to frogs and turtles, wild irises and cattails, busy beavers, and dozens of species of songbirds and waterfowl. The central location of this nature area near the center of the Keweenaw Peninsula, along with its natural diversity and historic features, makes it a perfect outdoor classroom for both nature and cultural studies and exploration. A 15-acre beaver pond is surrounded by sedges, grasses, rushes, sweet gale, and willow. Upland species include leatherwood, birch, towering white pine, spruce, aspen, oak, and maple.
Paavola Wetlands was established in 1996 with the help of the Copper Country Masonic Lodge No. 135 in Hancock, which generously donated 40 acres to create our very first nature area. The Land Trust expanded the property to 115 acres in 2006 and again to its current 215 acres in 2014 after a series of successful fundraising campaigns. The entirety of the beaver pond complex found in this area, as well as the remains of a historic Finnish-American farmstead and accompanying suo ojat landscape features are protected. We encourage you to learn more about this history of the Paavola farming community and the people who lived here.