Winter is long in Ely, and locals wouldn’t want it any other way. Whether it’s cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, or Ely’s signature outdoor adventure, dog sledding, getting outside and enjoying winter is what it’s all about.
The Ely area is northern Minnesota’s premier snowmobile hub with numerous on-trail facilities, accommodations for both large and small groups, and with plenty of food, entertainment, and service centers.
The Ely snowmobile trails are famous for their on-trail facilities and paths that stretch across three state forests and the Superior National Forest. Smooth rides along these famous routes are loaded with history.
If it’s winter in Minnesota, people are ice fishing—it’s in our DNA. One great thing about ice fishing in Ely is that many of the lakes that aren’t easily accessible in the summer are able to be reached by snowmobile in the winter, so you’ll get a whole new perspective on the wilderness.
Your fishing trip can be as comfortable or as rugged as you like. Many people combine winter camping with an extended trip out onto their favorite Ely area lake. Others prefer spending the day in the comfort of a heated fish house and relaxing at night in a hotel room or cabin.
Snowshoeing and Skiing
Snowshoeing is a great way for people of all ages and athletic abilities to experience the outdoors. Snowshoes allow you to easily blaze your own trail, exploring areas that cross-country skiers can’t go. You’ll experience the wilderness in a brand new way.
If you prefer cross-country skiing, Ely’s trails will allow you to take in the silent wilderness and restore your mind, body, and spirit. The endless expanses of snow and forest will compel you to stop on the trail and just take it all in. With an average annual snowfall of 84 inches, the ski season starts in early December and lasts through April.
Ely offers some of the finest cross-country ski trails in Minnesota. Several local trails include terrain inside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). The Ely area also has several groomed ski trail systems with classic and skate-style skiing. The diverse terrain varies from groomed shorelines to winding and rolling trails through towering birch and pine trees. Several lodges in the area even offer direct cross-country ski trail access.
You’ll never forget what it’s like to dash through the snow on a sled behind an excited, happy team of dogs who are doing what they were born to do. And you’re in luck because Ely has more dog sledding providers than any other city in the world. Choose between half-day, full-day, or extended camping excursions for a thrilling and joy-filled experience that you will never forget.