Summer Activities and Attractions
Ely is surrounded by the Superior National Forest and is the main departure point for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Hiking trails encompass hundreds of miles and fishing dreams come true with over 1,900 different lakes and over 300,000 acres of water. Northern Pike, Lake Trout, Walleye and Sunfish are some of the species found in the nearby lakes and streams. Photography opportunities are unlimited as wildlife such as deer, moose and wolves make the Superior National Forest their home. The Blueberry Arts Festival makes a great change of pace with food and crafts galore. Outfitters are available for those who would like a guided adventure. They will help you plan an expedition with all you'll need to enjoy this pristine wilderness.
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
More than one million acres of wilderness and waterways in the heart of the Superior National Forest have been set aside as the federally managed Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). Located along the Canadian border adjacent to Canada's Quetico Provincial Park, the BWCAW is the largest wilderness preserve east of the Rocky Mountains.
Canoe Trip Outfitters
- Big Lake Wilderness Outfitters
- Border Lakes Wilderness Canoe Trips
- Canadian Border Outfitters
- Canadian Waters Outfitters
- Canoe Country Outfitters
- Cliff Wold's Canoe Trip Outfitting Co.
- Duane's Minnesota - Canadian Canoe Trips
- Echo Trail Outfitters
- Gateway North Outfitters
- Jordan's Wilderness Outfitters
- Kawishiwi Lodge & Outfitters
- Lady Bug Canoe Outfitters
- LaTourell's Moose Lake Outfitters
- Moose Track Adventures
- North Country Canoe Outfitters
- Outdoor Adventure Canoe Outfitters
- Packsack Canoe Trips
- Piragis Northwoods Co.
- Red Rock Outfitting
- River Point Outfitting Co.
- Spirit of the Wilderness (formerly Hill's Wilderness Trips)
- Timber Trail Outfitters
- Voyageur North Outfitters
- Whispering Pines Wilderness Adventures
- Wilderness Outfitters
- Williams & Hall Wilderness Guides & Outfitters
Arts Festival (July)
This three-day event is held in Ely's Whiteside Park, featuring 225 exhibitors of original art, handcrafts and ethnic foods. There is no admission fee for this three-day event. Each year there is a variety of musical entertainment and a petting zoo and pony rides for the youngsters.
Vermilion Interpretive Center
Located in the Fine Arts Building at Vermilion Community College, the center offers exhibits dating from 12,000 years ago and focusing on the Ojibwe Indians, fur trading, mining, logging, innovations and a North Pole expedition. Open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm Memorial Day through Labor Day. (218) 365-3226
Ely has a 9-hole, 3,245 yard, par 36 course that is open to the public. The course is open (weather permitting) from late April until late October. Rental equipment is available. Babbitt, located 15 miles from Ely, also has a 9-hole, 3,316 yard, par 35 course which is also open to the public. Rental equipment is available.