Ely is the gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW)—the largest wilderness preserve east of the Rocky Mountains, consisting of more than 1 million acres of untouched forest and over 1,500 miles of pristine waterways. The BWCAW lies within the vast 3.9 million acre Superior National Forest, full of endless opportunities to experience the best fall color shows nature has to offer! Canoe or kayak on a still glass lake surrounded by vibrant reds, golds, and oranges. Hike through an ancient forest with unparalleled views, taking in the earthy smell of seasons changing. Enjoy a hot shore lunch of trout or walleye cooked over a campfire and sleep under a sky filled with billions of stars that feel so close you could almost touch them in the world’s largest International Dark Sky Sanctuary.
Fall trails are calling! Bring your ATVs or rent them locally and tour the newly completed Prospector Loop ATV System—250 miles of picturesque and varied trail that connects five communities and joins the Lake County Regional ATV Trail. Bike the finished sections of the Mesabi trail and complete the Trezona loop around Miner’s lake to take in the brilliant colors. Mountain bike the newly completed trail system at Hidden Valley Recreation Area—10 miles of single-track mountain bike loops varying in difficulty from beginner to advanced. Once the snow falls, cross-country skiing, fat biking, and snowshoeing opportunities are limitless.
Area lodging opportunities offer something for everyone. For a more rugged experience, rent a canvas tent complete with wood stove from a local outfitter and try your hand at hot-tenting. Book a lakeshore log cabin and wind down with a book in front of a crackling fireplace. Stay close to dining and shopping in downtown Ely in a more traditional bed and breakfast style inn or hotel. Most rentals have high speed WiFi, and there are co-working spaces downtown, so you can extend your stay and plan a work/play vacation. Whatever your lodging style, we’ve got you covered.
Grab a bite to eat in—or take it to go, picnic style—at one of the many dining options in downtown Ely and beyond. From burger pubs to fine dining restaurants, deli fare to food trucks, there’s a choice no matter what you’re craving. After lunch, head downtown and catch a movie at the Historic Ely State Theater, shop at one of the many unique stores, and take a class at Ely Folk School. For the knowledge seekers, head over to the International Wolf Center and North American Bear Center for an up-close look at area wildlife through a guided tour by dedicated experts. Then learn about the iconic “Nightingale of the Wilderness” Dorothy Molter and sample her legendary root beer at the Dorothy Molter Museum.
Ely is the perfect place to experience autumn in Minnesota and immerse yourself in true small town charm with an adventurous edge!