Ely MN Area Local Activities and Attractions
Ely MN and the surrounding area has numerous activities and attractions to fill your time. If you'd like more information on season-speciic activities, please visit our Summer Activities and Attractions, Fall Activities and Attractions, and Winter Activities and Attractions pages. Below you'll find a list of multi-season activities and attractions.
Dorothy Molter Museum
The Dorothy Molter Museum is a memorial to Dorothy Molter, the legendary last resident of the BWCAW, who died in 1986 after living most of her 79 years on Knife Lake near the U.S.-Canada border. Canoeists often stopped at Molter's home to enjoy her hospitality and famous homemade root beer (she was often referred to as "the Root Beer Lady") The museum's two log cabins were transported out of the BWCAW piece-by-piece and reassembled in Ely. The Winter Cabin is now an interpretive center with pictures and documents. There is also a small gift shop and a video telling the story of her life. Open 10:00 - 5:30 Mon-Sat, and Noon - 5:30 on Sun. Open weekends in May and September. (218) 365-4451
Bass Lake Trail
Bass Lake Trail goes 5.6 miles around Bass Lake, and has backpacking campsites. The trail is historically and ecologically unique, and requires at least 4-6 hours to walk. The trail is located on the Echo Trail six miles north of Ely. Bass and Low Lakes are located in a basin gouged out of pre-Cambrian rock. Prior to 1925 the two lakes were separated by a ridge of glacial gravel which acted as a natural dam. Logging operation led to the construction of a sluiceway to move logs through the gravel ridge - a drop of 60 feet. Seepage soon weakened the sluiceway as water moved through the gravel adjacent to the structure. The sluiceway and glacial ridge washed out in the spring of 1925 leaving a gorge over 250 feet wide. Bass Lake was lowered 55 feet in 10 hours, reduced to half its original size and two small lakes, Dry Lake and Little Dry Lake became isolated in the old lake bed. Approximatly 250 acres of land was then exposed and available to the establishment of pioneer plant species.
A 14 mile trail, with 11 miles forming a loop around Angleworm, Home and Whiskey Jack lakes, Angleworm Trail has nine designated campsites, and is located 14 miles northwest of Ely on the Echo Trail. A rugged trail through stands of red and white pine with many high ridges with scenic overlooks. Moose love to frequent the north end of the trail in the Home Lake area and pink ladyslippers can be seen along the trail in the spring.
This trail has scenic overlooks and assorted terrain, a campsite firegrate, tent area and latrine. The trail is 3 1/2 miles long, so allow 2-3 hours to walk it. Located 20 miles northeast of Ely off the Moose Lake Road (Forest Road 438), this moderate terrain trial with a few steep hills includes a loop around Blackstone Lake. The high vistas provide scenic views to low moist areas. The trail also winds across small waterfalls. Habitat for various species of wildlife are provided by trees and vegetation. The trail destination is a rock cliff overlooking Ennis Lake which is frequently used for rock repelling and climbing. A back country campsite is located on Blackstone Lake.
The Trezona Trail has flat to rolling terrain, and is located just three blocks north of Sheridan Street in Ely. The trail is just over five miles in length and goes around Miners Lake, a former iron ore mining pit. History abounds in the area providing a glimpse into the economic lifeblood of the past. The south side of the trail is flat to gently folling, following old railroad grades and mine haul roads. The north side of the trail is rolling to hilly, passing through white pine stands, residential areas, and the historic Pioneer Mine buildings and headframe.
Located one mile east of Ely on the Hidden Valley Road, the trails pass through rolling hills, paper birch and pine stands and newly planted red and white pine plantations.
Snowbank Lake Trail
Located 23 miles east of Ely with trailheads on the Snowbank Lake Road and on the Fernberg Trail, Snowbank Lake Trail winds about 25 miles along the shorelines of Snowbank and Disappointment Lakes. Side trails spur off to Flash Lake on the west and to the Old Pines Loop on the east. The trails offer some of the most scenic hiking terrain in the area, including ledge rock outcroppings, pine stands, shoreline bluffs, red and white pine stands and abundant wildlife. You'll also find BWCAW campsites along the trail.
Ely-Winton Historical Society
Operates the Ely-Winton Historical Museum, using photographs, maps and artifacts to present the different phases of 12,000 years of local history. 1900 E. Camp St., Ely, MN 55731. (218) 365-3226.
Ely Greenstone Public Art
The Ely Greenstone Public Art committee has as its goal the enhancement of life through art and the beautification of public areas. Projects include murals on Ely buildings, Whiteside Park sculpture, Art Camp, and Art Walls at Harvest Moon Festival. 2647 Van Vac Road, Ely, MN 55731. (218) 365-5917.
A multi-million dollar complex that examines one of the most elusive and misunderstood animals in the world, center visitors learn about the natural history of wolves by observing the resident wolf pack and touring the "Wolves and Humans" exhibit. Program participants can track wolves by plane, go on evening howling expeditions or put on snowshoes and follow the predator's winter tracks. Videos, talks, demonstrations, family day programs and other adventures round out a visit to the IWC. 9 am - 5 pm daily, May-Sept. (until 7 pm July and Aug.). Winter Hours: November through April, Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. (800) ELY-WOLF.
North American Bear Center
It is the mission of the North American Bear Center to be a leader in providing understanding and appreciation of black bears, their role in the ecosystem and their relationship to humans. This will be accomplished through a facility that promotes and provides educational facilities, exhibits, multi-media presentations, and when prudent, live animals, particularly those needing clinical rehabilitation.
Underground Mine State Park
This Minnesota State Park features Minnesota's first and deepest underground iron mine. One-hour guided tours will take you 2,400 feet down and more than 100 years into our past. Put on a hard hat and venture a half-mile into the earth. You'll gain a new appreciation for the lives of early miners, and come to understand the impact of mining on the lives of northeastern Minnesota settlers. Tours are available from Memorial Day through September, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Educational and group tours by special arrangement. Park hours 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (218) 753-2245.