Ely and Minnesota North Woods Trip Guide | Midwest Living

Ely and Minnesota North Woods Trip Guide

Ely is a last outpost of sorts: Outfitter shops jam-pack the main drag of Sheridan Street, ready to send you off on an adventure with portage packs full of gear and a canoe tied on top of your car.
Explore Rainy Lake by boat.
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Burntside Lodge.
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Rainy Lake.
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What to do 

Brandenburg Gallery Ely photographer Jim Brandenburg captures the best of Boundary Waters scenery and North Woods wildlife in print and film. See reviews and ratings. (877) 493-8017; jimbrandenburg.com

Giants Ridge Golf and Ski Resort You’ll find golf courses, ski runs, cross-country trails and hiking, 41 miles northeast of Hibbing. (800) 688-7669; giantsridge.com

Hull Rust Mahoning Mine The Grand Canyon of the North in Hibbing is an overwhelming example of the scale of mining on the Mesabi Iron Range. Free (218) 262-4900

International Wolf Center An impressive interpretive center near Ely lets visitors observe the exhibit pack up close. See reviews and ratings. (218) 365-4695; wolf.org

North American Bear Center See the Ely center’s bears and explore myths and truths. Skip it in winter—they’re hibernating. See reviews and ratings. (877) 365-7879; bear.org

Northernaire Houseboats Explore Rainy Lake by houseboat. (800) 882-7958; northernairehouseboats.com

Soudan Underground Mine State Park Tour the Underground Mine (Minnesota’s oldest iron ore mine) or U of M’s High Energy Physics Lab, 20 miles southwest of Ely. See reviews and ratings. (218) 753-2245; mndnr.gov/soudan

Voyageurs National Park A 218,000-acre park east of International Falls includes Kabetogama Peninsula, accessible only by boat in the summer. Travel by canoe, kayak or houseboat; spend days swimming and hiking. See reviews and ratings. (218) 286-5258; nps.gov/voya

Where to eat

Burntside Lodge This lakeside lodge offers the region's best fine dining. (218) 365-3894; burntside.com

Chocolate Moose Satisfying pie, bison burgers and walleye sandwiches draw visitors to an Ely cabin-cafe. (218) 365-6343 

Ely Steak House A casual place on the main drag serves a solid bloody mary and a bacon-cheesemonster called a Bucky Burger. See reviews and ratings. (218) 365-7412

Italian Bakery Sample Italian, Finnish, Slovenian and American pastries. The specialty is potica—a sweet dough rolled with walnuts, butter and vanilla. In Virginia. See reviews and ratings. (218) 741-3464; potica.com

Sunrise Deli Try Italian and Iron Range specialties (sarma, stromboli, porketta and more) in Hibbing. (218) 263-5713; sunrisecreativegourmet.com 

Where to stay

Blue Heron Bed and Breakfast Explore the Boundary Waters by day, then settle in for dinner and a comfortable rest in Ely. From $143. See reviews and ratings. (218) 365-4720; blueheronbnb.com

Grand Ely Lodge On Shagawa Lake, a year-round lodge offers canoeing and fishing. From $149. See reviews and ratings. (800) 365-5070; grandelylodge.com

For more information: 

Crane Lake Visitor and Tourism Bureau (800) 362-7405; visitcranelake.com

Ely Chamber of Commerce (800) 777-7281; ely.org

Hibbing Area Chamber of Commerce (800) 444-2246; hibbing.org

Iron Range Tourism Bureau (800) 777-8497; ironrange.org

International Falls, Rainy Lake and Ranier Convention and Visitors Bureau (800) 325-5766; rainylake.org

Kabetogama Lake Association and Tourism Bureau (800) 524-9085; kabetogama.com

Lake Vermilion Chamber of Commerce lakevermilionchamber.com


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