Explore The Best Activities In Ely, MN: Ultimate Guide To Fun

Things To Do In Ely MN

Finding fun in small towns might seem like a tall order, but we get it. That’s why when we stumbled upon Ely, Minnesota, it felt like striking gold. Peppered with lively activities and breathtaking nature spots, our guide is primed to introduce you to the best of Ely’s outdoor thrills and cozy corners.

Let’s start right away!

Key Takeaways

  • Paddle through Ely’s serene waters in a canoe or hike scenic trails to connect with nature.
  • Experience unique winter activities like dog sledding and snowmobiling along snowy landscapes.
  • Visit the North American Bear Center and International Wolf Center to learn about wildlife.
  • Stay in cozy cabins like Ely Cabin Collective for a peaceful retreat under the Northern Lights.
  • Enjoy fresh local cuisine at Insula Restaurant, featuring dishes from steak to sockeye salmon.

Discover the Best Outdoor Activities in Ely, MN

Things To Do In Ely MN

Embark on a wild camping adventure in Ely and the Boundary Waters.

Paddle serenely through the waters of Ely, MN, with canoeing activities.

Camp in the Wilderness of Ely & BWCAW

We love heading to Ely, Minnesota, for the best camping experiences. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a must-visit for us every year between May and September. This place holds some of the most remote campsites in Minnesota, offering unparalleled peace and beauty.

Permits are necessary but easy to get during these months.

Our favorite spots include Kawishiwi Falls Trail and Trezona Trail where we set up camp surrounded by towering trees and clear waters. Ely’s campgrounds welcome both beginners and seasoned campers with open arms.

Whether it’s pitching a tent or setting up a camper, the wilderness here makes every trip memorable.

Canoe Through Serene Waters

We glide our canoes through the serene waters that line Ely, Minnesota. This area, right at the heart of Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, offers unparalleled beauty and peace.

Paddle calmly alongside lush forests and rocky shores. Every stroke brings us closer to nature’s untouched wonders.

Bear Head Lake State Park stands out for canoeing adventures. Here, we find ourselves surrounded by clean lakes and quiet bays perfect for a day on the water. Companies around Ely offer various trips – from short day explorations to weekend getaways or fishing expeditions with friends and family.

We choose our adventure based on how long we wish to immerse in these tranquil waters. The experience always leaves us eager to return for more peaceful moments amidst northern wilderness.

Ride Snowmobiles in Snowy Trails

Ely, Minnesota, thrives as a snowmobile hub. We explore trails that wind through Superior National Forest and three state forests. Our adventures take us on the expansive Taconite Trail stretching 170 miles to Grand Rapids and along the varied terrain of the Tomahawk Trail for 86 miles.

Each ride is an invitation to experience Ely’s snowy landscape at its finest.

Our journey could include the Circle Tour, covering over 400 miles of well-maintained trails. Planning this trip takes some thought, with a suggested itinerary lasting between 3-5 days.

This allows us to fully immerse in the winter wonderland Ely offers, creating unforgettable moments on our snowmobiles.

View the Vibrant Fall Colors

Fall in Ely is a treat for the eyes, as vibrant colors paint the landscape with striking reds, oranges, and yellows. To make the most of this natural spectacle, head out early to beat the crowd and immerse ourselves in nature’s artwork.

Paddling on serene lakes or embarking on local hikes are perfect ways to experience this stunning display away from bustling crowds. For a more leisurely approach, hop on a scenic drive along Forest Service’s Discovery Auto Tour or cycle through mesmeric fall landscapes on Mesabi Trail.

Fish in Rich Waters

Experience a day of exceptional fishing in the rich waters of Ely, MN. Join a fishing charter or tour with the well-regarded Ely Fishing Guide Company. Enjoy catching a variety of fish while immersing yourself in the surrounding natural beauty.

The activities don’t end there; you can also indulge in canoeing, hiking, and biking beside these pristine waters. Engage your adventurous spirit with dog sledding, snowshoeing, and skiing opportunities.

Explore Trails with ATV & Offroad

Looking to explore the spectacular trails in Ely, MN? You’re in for a treat. Our town offers over 250 miles of ATV trails through the Prospector Loop trail system. These interconnected routes link Ely with Babbitt, Embarrass, Tower, and the North Shore—a prime opportunity for some off-road adventure.

Plus, you can hop onto Crane Lake via a mix of paved and gravel roads using the Echo Trail connection. For detailed trail info, grab a Prospector Loop Map available at local gas stations.

If you’re itching to hit the Taconite Trail leaving Ely, rejoice! The first ten miles are open to ATV traffic—so gear up for an exhilarating ride through our stunning landscapes.

Ready to rev those engines? Let’s dive into these picturesque trails and navigate Ely’s beautiful terrains on your trusty ATVs!

Hike Scenic Trails

When exploring Ely, Minnesota, immerse yourself in the beauty of nature by embarking on a hike along the scenic trails. With options suitable for all experience levels, Ely offers diverse hiking opportunities.

Discover unique landscapes and breathtaking overlooks on trails such as Bass Lake Trail with its distinct backpacking campsites or Secret/Blackstone Trail featuring varied terrain and picturesque campsite areas.

Take in stunning views at Kawishiwi Falls Trail which offers panoramic vistas of a 70-foot drop — perfect for those wanting to explore the outdoors and soak in natural wonders.

Ely’s hiking trails cater to various preferences ranging from leisure walks to challenging treks, providing an opportunity for everyone to appreciate the captivating wilderness that surrounds this quaint town.

Whether you’re seeking a serene stroll or an adventurous expedition, these scenic trails promise an unforgettable outdoor experience immersed in pristine natural beauty.

Mountain Bike Across Rugged Terrains

Ely, MN offers 9.4 miles of top-notch mountain biking trails, with plans for an additional ten miles that will connect to the Mesabi, Prospector Trail, and Trezona Trails. The city contributed $25,000 towards a cost of building between $30,000 to $40,000 per mile, which was matched by the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB).

Experience Dogsledding Adventures

Ready for an exhilarating adventure? In Ely, MN, we can mush our way through the snowy landscapes on a dogsledding trip with White Wilderness Sled Dog Adventures. Founded in 1995 and boasting an impressive Google rating of 5.0 out of 5 based on 56 reviews, this company offers Yurt Trips, Lodge Based Trips, and Day Trips that make exploring the heart of Superior National Forest truly unforgettable.

It’s time to grab life by the harness and immerse ourselves in this authentic encounter with Alaskan Huskies as we traverse the frosted cross-country trails.

Feeling adventurous yet? Whether it’s a flexible itinerary or affordable hands-on experiences you seek, White Wilderness Sled Dog Adventures has got us covered in immersing ourselves into this unique winter activity while embracing the stunning wilderness surrounding Ely.

Let’s get ready to embark on this remarkable adventure!

Ski Across Frosty Cross-Country Trails

Skiing across iced trails in Ely, MN offers an unforgettable adventure. With an average snowfall of 84 inches, it boasts the lengthiest cross-country ski season in Minnesota. The North Arm Ski Trail covers a whopping 42 kilometers and Bear Island stretches for 25 kilometers.

Whether you prefer machine-groomed or user-tracked trails, there’s something for everyone to explore along with detailed trail information provided by the Ely Trail Guide. Keep in mind that some trails may require day use or overnight travel permits due to being within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).

Ice Fish in Frozen Lakes

We can ice fish in the frozen lakes of Ely, MN, but reports show varying ice thickness and caution is necessary due to snow and slush. Some lakes have 6-9 inches of ice, thanks to lower temperatures helping freeze up the lakes.

Our winter activities include ice fishing, snowmobiling, dog sledding, skiing, snowshoeing, and winter hiking. It’s essential to be aware that spring in Ely bustles with wildlife.

Explore Must-Visit Attractions in Ely

Discover the North American Bear Center, where you can learn about black bears. Explore the International Wolf Center to delve into the world of wolves and their habitat. Engage with history at the Dorothy Molter Museum, dedicated to preserving the heritage of this area.

Tour Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park for a unique glimpse into mining history. Immerse yourself in Ely’s arts and culture scene for a well-rounded experience.

Visit the North American Bear Center

When you visit the North American Bear Center in Ely, Minnesota, you get an exclusive insight into the world of black bears. Founded by Lynn Rodgers, it stands as a unique educational facility dedicated to black bear and wildlife education.

The center features indoor and outdoor viewing areas where visitors can observe live black bears. With three resident bears – Tasha, Lucky, and Holly – plus daily programs such as bear documentaries and video exhibits alongside the Cub Room designed for children’s understanding.

Don’t miss this essential stop during your stay in Ely; located just one mile west of the town along Highway 169.

Learn at the International Wolf Center

At the International Wolf Center, we can observe live wolf cams and gain insights into wolf behavior and species. The center provides a wide range of information on wolves, including frequently asked questions and articles on indigenous knowledge.

Visitors are given the opportunity to witness ambassador wolves through live wolf cams. Scientific studies indicate minimal impact of the return of wolves on deer populations in northeastern Washington.

The International Wolf Center advances wolf population survival by offering educational resources and facilitating firsthand experiences with ambassador wolves through live streaming.

It extensively covers various aspects of wolf behavior, species, impacts on ecosystems, Indigenous knowledge, common questions about wolves while providing scientific evidence regarding their effect on deer populations in certain areas.

Discover the Dorothy Molter Museum

The Dorothy Molter Museum welcomes visitors from May to October each year and offers guided programs during the summer months. This historical site showcases three original cabins, outdoor natural areas, Birds’ Landing, and Dorothy’s Discovery Trail.

Group tours, as well as private visits and online shopping options, are available for those eager to delve deeper into this unique piece of history. The museum provides a firsthand experience of Dorothy Molter’s fascinating life in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), presenting an opportunity for us to immerse ourselves in her world.

Tour Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park

Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park offers captivating underground mine tours and walking drift tours. The park, located two miles east of Tower, MN, also provides the “Secrets of the Deep: Science Tour.” With three tour options available, visitors can choose to explore the historical significance of this location.

Note that due to high water conditions, all tours are currently suspended. Reservations for both camping and tours can be made online or by phone.

Engage with Ely Arts & Culture

When in Ely, exploring the arts and culture is a definite must. The town hosts vibrant events like the Blueberry Art Festival and Harvest Moon Festival offering a blend of Native American culture, performing arts, and fascinating photography exhibits.

Downtown Ely also beckons with art supply stores, clothing boutiques, and specialty shops for sporting goods. Don’t miss visiting the International Wolf Center to get up close with these majestic creatures or immerse yourself in local history at the State Theater.

Whether it’s an educational experience or simply appreciating artistic mastery, Ely’s arts and culture scene has something unique for everyone.

Best Places to Stay and Dine in Ely

Looking for a cozy stay in Ely? Check out Ely Cabin Collective and Green Cabin Collection. For dining, you can try Fortune Bay Casino for some fun gambling and delicious food, or visit Insula Restaurant for a satisfying meal.

Relax at Ely Cabin Collective

When you visit Ely, take time to relax at the Ely Cabin Collective. Cozy, off-grid cabins near Bear Head Lake State Park offer a chance to experience the Northern Lights. Visitors can plan their trips through this collective, which also provides fishing reports and guides for an enjoyable stay.

The Aurora Modern Cabin offers a Scandinavian style and beautiful views. In summer 2023, the Green Cabin Collection will open its doors with a three-bedroom cabin near Shagawa Lake.

The cabin stays provide unique opportunities for experiencing nature’s wonders and enjoying a tranquil retreat in this quieter town setting.

Stay at Green Cabin Collection

When you stay at Green Cabin Collection, you can expect comfortable and cozy lodging options in Ely. The cabins provide an ideal base for those preparing for a wilderness expedition, with outfitters available in the area.

Not only that, visitors have reported experiencing Northern Lights sightings from this great destination to make your stay memorable.

The Green Cabin Collection offers a peaceful and private escape amongst nature’s beauty. It’s situated near key attractions like Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) and Voyageurs National Park while providing easy access to outdoor activities such as mushing and lunch spots in the vicinity.

You’re sure to find it a bespoke retreat tailored towards unlocking the secrets of Ely, Minnesota’s ever-evolving realm.

Gamble and Dine at Fortune Bay Casino

At Fortune Bay Casino, a range of dining options awaits – from casual to upscale. The Sunset Steakhouse features prime cuts and fresh seafood with a lakeside view. Meanwhile, the Gold Mine Grill offers quick bites and comfort food for those on-the-go.

For gaming enthusiasts, the casino has over 850 slot machines alongside blackjack and poker tables. With Wild Edge membership benefits available, guests have access to special discounts, room offers, birthday perks, and exclusive promotions throughout the year.

Strict photo identification is required upon check-in for all guests 21 years old or older who wish to book accommodations at Fortune Bay Resort Casino.

Shop at Zup’s Market

When in Ely, MN, head to Zup’s Market for all your essential needs. This local gem offers a wide range of items perfect for enjoying a quiet and peaceful retreat. From fresh produce to unique regional finds, Zup’s Market provides everything you need while exploring this charming town.

With its convenient location and friendly staff, shopping at Zup’s Market is a delightful experience for anyone seeking more than just the usual grocery run.

At Zup’s Market, find an array of locally sourced products that showcase the best of Ely and Minnesota. Whether it’s Alaskan husky-themed souvenirs or specialty goods unique to the region, this market captures the essence of Ely’s culture and heritage.

So when planning your visit to Ely, make sure to stop by Zup’s Market and discover all that this beloved community hub has to offer.

Eat at Insula Restaurant

When dining in Ely, indulge at Insula Restaurant for a top-notch culinary experience. Located at 145 E Sheridan St, it offers a diverse menu with fresh catch sockeye salmon, walleye, steak, bison prime rib, and delightful breakfast options.

Rated #1 out of 27 restaurants in Ely and opened in June 2015 in the old Vertin’s café, this restaurant is known for its exceptional quality. The price range varies from $7 to $42 and comes highly recommended for its fresh fish offerings.

Insula Restaurant is designed to enhance your dining experience through its meticulously crafted dishes and relaxed ambiance. Whether you’re seeking more than just a meal or embarking on a gastronomic journey during your visit to Ely, Insula is an ideal choice.

Planning a One-Day Adventure in Ely

Start your day with a steaming cup of coffee and take in the charming atmosphere.

Explore local museums, boutiques, and amenities for a delightful taste of Ely’s unique culture.

Savor a quick lunch before diving into an array of exciting outdoor activities.

Start with Morning Coffee

Rise and shine, fellow explorers! Begin your Ely adventure with a steaming cup of craft coffee from Northern Grounds on Sheridan St. This cozy spot offers a delightful breakfast and lunch menu as well as an array of specialty coffees – the perfect way to fuel up for the day’s escapades in this picturesque town.

Whether you prefer a classic brew or something more exotic, Ely’s coffee options are a treat worth savoring.

Remember – first things first, start off with morning coffee at Northern Grounds on Sheridan Street to kick off your unforgettable day in Ely!

Explore Local Museums and Amenities

Discover the North American Bear Center, International Wolf Center, and Dorothy Molter Museum. Engage with Ely’s arts and culture scene. Visit Pebble’s Spa for a relaxing experience.

Also, explore hidden gems like Bear Head Lake State Park and Kawishiwi Falls to unlock more secrets of this unique destination.

Uncover history at Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park, which is only 25 minutes from Ely. Immerse yourself in the region’s rich heritage by embarking on an educational journey through these museums and amenities.

Shop at Unique Boutiques

Discover a plethora of unique shopping experiences in Ely. Visit downtown Ely where you’ll find an array of specialty gift stores, art galleries, and antique shops along E Sheridan St.

Don’t miss the chance to explore the bespoke items at these boutiques, offering a wide variety of one-of-a-kind pieces that make for perfect souvenirs from your trip.

Enjoy a Quick Lunch

Looking for a quick and tasty lunch spot in Ely? Whether you’re craving a cozy cafe or a hearty diner, Ely has got you covered. With an array of dining options, from casual to upscale, there’s something to suit every taste bud.

Grab a bite at Insula Restaurant for delectable lunch choices that will fuel the rest of your adventure. The Boathouse Brewpub and Restaurant is another gem offering mouthwatering meals amidst a charming atmosphere.

So, refuel swiftly and get back out there to make the most of your day in scenic Ely!

Engage in Outdoor Activities

Ready to immerse ourselves in Ely’s natural wonders? Strap on our hiking boots and explore the winding trails. Paddle through tranquil waters in a canoe or zoom along snowy trails on a thrilling snowmobile ride.

Let’s soak in nature’s canvas with vibrant fall hues and reel in some fresh catches from the rich waters. Whether it’s ATV adventures, scenic hikes, or exhilarating dogsledding escapades, Ely has an array of outdoor activities for us to dive into!

Dine at Insula

When visiting Ely, Minnesota, one must dine at Insula Restaurant, which is a fusion American dining establishment known for its locally sourced and responsibly consumed food. The restaurant has been in operation since June 8, 2015, located in the old Vertin’s café.

Executive Chef Daniel Vollom and Sarah Wigdahl-Vollom lead the culinary experiences here with their expertise. Operating from Tuesday to Saturday from 11 am to 9 pm enables visitors ample time to savor their dishes while enjoying positive reviews on Google.

Insula offers an ever-changing menu that reflects the seasonal availability of ingredients while catering to various dietary needs. This adds a bespoke charm to the experience for both locals and tourists alike seeking more than just a meal but rather an immersive culinary journey amidst Ely’s quaint surroundings.

Whether embracing classic American flavors or exploring modern twists on traditional dishes, Insula promises an unforgettable dining experience tailored towards enhancing your overall visit.

Unwind in a Cozy Cabin

When planning to unwind in Ely, a cozy cabin offers the perfect retreat surrounded by nature. Ely’s cozy cabin stays are ideal for families seeking quality time together. For this one-day adventure, pack items such as layers of clothing and gear suitable for a comfortable stay.

At a cozy cabin, relaxation is guaranteed – allowing visitors to take pleasure in the quietude and peaceful ambiance.

Ely provides an opportunity to escape from the hustle of city life and immerse oneself in the tranquility offered by these cabins. Embrace the chance to enjoy outdoor activities or simply savor moments of respite amidst natural beauty right at your doorstep.

Things To Do In Ely MN Conclusion

Ely, MN is the ultimate destination for outdoor adventures and natural beauty. From camping in the wilderness to exploring ATV trails, there’s something for everyone. Don’t miss the must-visit attractions like the North American Bear Center and International Wolf Center.

Whether it’s a cozy cabin stay or enjoying local cuisine at Insula Restaurant, Ely has it all for a memorable vacation.

Things To Do In Ely MN FAQs

1. What are some of the best activities to do in Ely, Minnesota?

Ely, Minnesota is known for its beautiful resorts and outdoor activities like canoeing in the Boundary Water Canoe Area. You can also visit historical places such as Soudan Mine.

2. Is there any unique activity that I can experience only in Ely?

Yes! One special activity you could try is mushing – it’s a thrilling adventure where you get to guide a team of dogs through snowy landscapes.

3. Can you tell me more about the Soudan Mine?

Sure! The Soudan Mine is an important part of Ely’s history. Once a bustling iron mine, it now serves as an educational site where visitors can learn about mining life back in the day.

4. What kind of accommodations are available when visiting Ely?

There are numerous resorts around Ely offering cozy lodgings and easy access to nature’s wonders including the Boundary Water Canoe Area, perfect for those seeking both comfort and adventure.

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