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Lake Vermilion Area Attractions

Wildlife, heritage tours, mining history, scenic drives/tours, and fun things to do

The Lake Vermilion area is surrounded by one-of-a-kind attractions. Get up close and personal with wolves and bears, travel a half mile underground, stand next to a dump truck two stories tall, learn about the area's rich heritage through tours and historical sites.

Do anything from day time sightseeing to enjoying an exciting night life including concerts and casino gaming.

DETAILS - locations, dates and hours of operation, brief descriptions and links to websites are below.

Or plan your visit with the help of our interactive map.


  • Bois Forte Heritage Center

     Bois Forte Heritage Center

    Dedicated to telling the Bois Forte Ojibwe story, as the name-Atisokanigamig or LEGEND HOUSE tells. In addition to the award winning displays, there is a birch bark dwelling and tipi on the grounds, and a path that leads the visitor to the remains of an 1866 gold mine. The tour takes about an hour not counting visits to the outdoor exhibits. Open Tuesday - Saturday, 10 AM - 5 PM Closed all major holidays Adults, $5 Children 4-12, $3 Seniors, $3 Family of 4 or More, $15 Children 3 & under and Bois Forte Band Members, Free 1500 Bois Forte Rd, Tower (located next to Fortune Bay Resort Casino) 218-753-6017

    Web Site
  • Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

     Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

    One million acres of pristine preserved wilderness waiting to fulfill the Voyageur in you. The BWCAW offers over 1,200 miles of canoe trails, breathtaking views, and all the quiet solace you can handle. The Trout Lake chain is accessible directly from Lake Vermilion. A motorized portage is available to transport your boat for a fee, or you can portage your canoe or hike into the wilderness. Permits are required year-round. Fees are charged for overnight visits from May 1 through September 30. User fees (per person per trip for your entire stay) for 2013 are: Adults, $16; Youth, $8 Seasonal Adult, $64; Youth, $32

    Web Site
  • Fortune Bay Casino

     Fortune Bay Casino

    Owned and operated by the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, Fortune Bay offers 2 floors of gaming excitement, as well as blackjack and other table games. Concerts and/or special events monthly. Gaming casino open 24 hours,7 days a week. (A short drive from all Lake Vermilion resorts.) 1430 Bois Forte Rd Tower 800-992-PLAY

    Web Site
  • Lake Vermilion State Park

     Lake Vermilion State Park

    Development at Minnesota's newest state park will continue this summer. There is a boat access picnic area with dock available, plus several hiking trails. More information will be added as it is available.

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  • Mailboat Excursions

    See over 80 miles of scenic Lake Vermilion as you ride along on the unique mailboat, which delivers mail to island residents six days a week. Leaves Aronson's Marina at 9:00 AM, Monday-Saturday, June 1- Labor Day. Reservations are recommended. Adults, $18; Children 12 & under, $10 Aronson Boat Works 6143 Pike Bay Drive, Tower 218-753-4190

    Web Site
  • Pier 77

     Pier 77

    Pier 77 Mini-Golf is a family owned business dedicated to family fun. Have fun golfing the spectacular mini-golf course with unique northwoods themes and enjoy your choice of refreshments in the clubhouse. Nestled in the northwoods by the shores of Lake Vermilion, Pier 77 contains the essentials for an afternoon of mini-golfing: 18 holes, followed by a fresh-brewed cup of coffee, soft-serve ice cream, malts, and wi-fi access. Adult, $6.95 Child 3-12, $5.95 Groups of 10 or more, call in advance for special rate. Mid-May - September, Mon - Sat,9 AM to Dusk and Sun, 11 AM to 5 PM 4066 Country Rd 77, Tower 218-753-6004

    Web Site
  • Soudan Underground Mine State Park

     Soudan Underground Mine State Park

    Take a 2,400 ft deep ride underground to a waiting rail car tour; explore hiking trails, an engine house, drill shop, and other displays above ground; or even catch a glimpse of wildlife native to this 1,300 acre park. For the mine tour, visitors don hard hats and enter a "cage" for the descent into the mine. The 1 1/2 hour mine tour will take you half a mile down into the earth. Once underground you will be treated to a 3/4 mile trail ride to the last and deepest area mined. The mine is 51 degrees F year-around, so remember to bring a warm jacket or sweater and sturdy shoes. Also home to a high-energy physics lab, where tours are offered. The Soudan Underground Laboratory is the leading deep underground science and engineering laboratory in the United States today. Scientists from around the world have been working at Soudan for 25 years trying to answer basic questions about the Universe in which we live: Is matter completely stable? What is the nature of the fundamental forces? Can we identify the Dark Matter that seems to permeate our Universe? Tours meet at the visitors center. Open daily, Memorial weekend through Labor Day, with tours hourly from 10 AM - 4 PM. Limited hours after Labor Day (see website). No state park sticker required. Ages 13 - adult, $12 Ages 5-12, $7 Children 5 and under, Free 1302 McKinley Park Rd, Soudan 218-753-2245

    Web Site
  • Tower Train & Depot Museum

     Tower Train & Depot Museum

    This center includes a museum in the historic train depot, a steam locomotive, a railway passenger car, caboose, and a two-room homesteaders log cabin. The Depot, built in 1915, has been kept in near original condition. It houses a museum with hundreds of artifacts and photos. Also on-site is a monument to President McKinley, picnic area, restrooms, and visitor information center. Open daily, Memorial Day - Labor Day, 9 AM - 5 PM No admission, donations accepted Operated by the Tower-Soudan Historical Society 404 Pine Street, Tower 218-753-5021

    Web Site
  • Chisholm - Minnesota Discovery Center

    Chisholm - Minnesota Discovery Center

    Minnesota Discovery Center is the state's largest museum complex outside of the Twin Cities metro area. The museum is a 33,000-square-foot facility that houses artifacts, examines mining methods, explores regional geology, and hosts traveling exhibits that help illuminate the spirit and sensibilities of Iron Range pioneers and their descendants. Also on site: a trolley, mini-golf, groomed walking trails, heritage park, Civilian Conservation Corps history center, and much more. Summer: Tuesday - Saturday, 10 AM - 7 PM and Sun, 1-5 PM Winter: Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat 10 AM - 5 PM; Thurs 10 AM - 9 PM Adults, $5 Students 3-17, $3 Children under 2, Free 1005 Discovery Drive, Chisholm, MN 55719

    Web Site
  • Chisholm - Minnesota Discovery Center Research Library and Archives

    Chisholm - Minnesota Discovery Center Research Library and Archives

    Identifies and collects records that preserve the history of the Iron Range. The research center is popular with genealogists, both amateur and professional, and has established itself as one of the best destinations in the upper Midwest for genealogical research. Library and reading room open Tuesday - Saturday, 10 AM - 5 PM. Free admission. 1005 Discovery Drive, Chisholm, MN 55719

    Web Site
  • Chisholm - Minnesota Museum of Mining

    Chisholm - Minnesota Museum of Mining

    The Minnesota Museum of Mining gives visitors an opportunity to actually climb aboard equipment used to mine the Mesabi Range's rich iron ore. A castle built in 1933 out of stone is the entrance to this showcase of mining history. Climb aboard mining trucks, see a 1907 steam locomotive, or tour replicas of an underground mine and mining town. Trucks displayed at the museum range from a 1930s White dump truck with a two-ton capacity to an oversized 120-ton WABCO Electrohaul. Imagine as you sit in the driver's seat becoming the operator of one of the fastest steam shovels ever made, a rare 1910 Atlantic Steam Shovel. Only six of these shovels were built and they were the prototype of the shovels used to dig the Panama Canal and remove the soil overburden on the Mesabi Range. View a working diorama of the Great North Railroad, created by F. Lee Jaques, or displays illustrating the lifestyle of the early Mesabi Range. Visitors can walk down into a simulated underground mine drift. Catch a glimpse of a steam-driven diamond drill still in working condition, or visit an authentic log cabin with Finnish sauna. The museum is a great place to experience life in the mining era. Open daily, Memorial Day - Labor Day, Mon - Sat, 9 AM - 5 PM; Sun 1 - 5 PM Adults, $5 Students 6-17, $3 Seniors, $4.50 Children under 6, Free. 701 West Lake St, Chisholm, MN 55719

    Web Site
  • Cook - Comet Theater

    Cook - Comet Theater

    Established in 1939 the Comet Theater is the longest continuous running movie screen in the state of Minnesota. Live music and theater are also offered from time to time throughout the year. Located in downtown Cook. See the website for current show information. 218-666-5814

    Web Site
  • Cook - LaCroix Visitor Center/Pond & Interpretive Center

    Cook - LaCroix Visitor Center/Pond & Interpretive Center

    "Where prairie meets wetland" Interpretative signs along a short loop trail tell of the Anishinaabeg and their respect for the earth. Small openings like this are reminiscent of those that early settlers in the area created around potholes on their farmsteads. Frogs, turtles, and various birds, included killdeer, red winged blackbirds and ducks may be viewed here, along with many varieties of grasses and wildflowers. LaCroix Ranger Station/Lake Vermilion Visitor Center 320 Hwy 53 N, Cook 218-666-0020

    Web Site
  • Cook - Northwoods Friends of the Arts Gallery

    Cook - Northwoods Friends of the Arts Gallery

    Stop in the gallery to see the lovely visual artwork produced by members and watch artists demonstrating their work; immerse yourself in this creative atmosphere up north! Summer Hours Wednesday through Friday 10 AM to 4 PM Saturday 9 AM to 1 PM Winter Hours Thurday and Friday, 10 AM - 4 PM Saturday 10 AM - 1 PM 210 River Street, Cook (Beside Dreamweaver Salon & Day Spa)

    Web Site
  • Cook's Country Connection

    Cook's Country Connection

    Petting farm, seminars and events, and gift shop set on an historic farm site just outside of Cook, MN. Open 10 AM - 4 PM, Thursday-Saturday, May-October Admission is $6 +tax/person, under 2 free

    Web Site
  • Discovery Auto Tour Scenic Drives

    Discovery Auto Tour Scenic Drives

    Self-guided tour includes 2 routes through the Superior National Forest. The tours provide an easy way to explore the natural and cultural history of the Forest and the many recreation opportunities along the way. Tour books are available for a nominal fee at the LaCroix Visitor Center in Cook, and the US Forest Service office in Ely. The website includes a link to a map of the tours.

    Web Site
  • Elbow Lake - The Edge

    Elbow Lake - The Edge

    18 holes and 460 feet of mini golf madness. Located on Elbow Lake at Elbow Lake Lodge. $5/person/game 3975 Kennedy Road, Cook 800-441-1620

  • Ely - Dorothy Molter Museum

    Ely - Dorothy Molter Museum

    Dorothy Molter was the last resident of the Boundary Water Canoe Area. Drawing on her days as a nurse in Chicago, Dorothy "treated" her BWCAW visitors with first aid and a homemade root beer-as many as 12,000 bottles a year! Come see how this remarkable woman lived. You may even find her root beer recipe in the gift shop! Open Memorial Day - Labor Day + weekends in Sept. and the first 3 Saturdays in Oct. Mon - Sat, 10 AM - 5:30 PM, Sundays noon -5:30 PM Adults, $6 Seniors, AAA and Active Military, $5 Children 6-17, $4 Children 5 and under, Free 2002 Sheridan St, Ely 218-365-4451

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  • Ely - International Wolf Center

    Ely - International Wolf Center

    Come for a day, or stay for a week! You can tour the award winning "Wolves and Humans" exhibit, browse through the "Wolf Den" gift shop, and of course observe our five resident wolves in action. Ask about our educational studies and adventure vacations. 5 "wolf watch" cams are available on their website. Open year round. See the website for current hours and daily program schedule. Adults, $8.50 Seniors, $7.50 Children 3-12, $4.50 Childen under 3 and Members, Free Group discount also available 1396 Hwy 169, Ely 218-365-4695

    Web Site
  • Ely - North American Bear Center

    Ely - North American Bear Center

    Live bears in a 2-acre forested enclosure with pond and waterfalls may be observed through windows or from the outdoor observation deck. Hands-on activity and education area, video clips reveal intimate details of wild bear life in the woods, theatre features the best in bear films, gift shop. Web cams are available on their website. Open year round, check the website for current days/hours and program information. Adults and teens, $8.50 Seniors 65+, $7.50 Children 3-12, $4.50 Children under 3 and Members, Free 1926 Hwy 169, Ely

    Web Site
  • Ely-Winton History Museum

    Ely-Winton History Museum

    Located in the Fine Arts Building of the Vermilion Community College, the museum houses exhibits dating back 12,000 years. Learn about Ojibwe culture, early logging, mining and fur trading, and a North Pole expedition. Open Tues - Fri, 12 - 4 PM Adults, $3 Youth 6-15, $1 Children 5 and under, Free 1900 E Camp Street, Ely

    Web Site
  • Embarrass - Sisu Pioneer Homestead Tours

    Embarrass - Sisu Pioneer Homestead Tours

    This three-hour long, caravan-style circle tour covers 15 miles of pioneer log structures, artifacts and implements dating back to the early 1900's. The tour includes a stop at the Sisu Tori gift shop and the Finnish Heritage Homestead. Memorial Day through Labor Day, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 1 PM. Adults, $6 Seniors, $5 Children 12 and under, Free Large Groups, $5 Begin from Visitor Center located at the intersection of Hwy 135 & County Rd 21, Embarrass

    Web Site
  • Eveleth - Leonidas Overlook

    Eveleth - Leonidas Overlook

    Named for Leonidas Merritt, one of seven brothers who discovered the Mesabi Iron Range, the Leonidas Mine began production in 1908, shipping nearly 19 million tons of ore before its closure in 1978. The overlook was created by mining overburden (surface materials that covered the ore body). From here, visitors will see former mine sites, as well as the active mine, UTac, in Eveleth. This is the largest man-made point on the Iron Range. You will be able to view over 15 miles of breathtaking scenery from here. The water towers of several communities are also visible from here, as well as the Laurentian Divide, visible on the horizon as a low range of hills. (Water on the north side of the Laurentian Divide flows to the Hudson Bay, while that on the south finds its way to Lake Superior or the Gulf of Mexico.) Closed in winter Admission is free Hwy 101, Eveleth

  • Eveleth - United States Hockey Hall of Fame

    Eveleth - United States Hockey Hall of Fame

    Located in "The Capital of American Hockey," the Hockey Hall of Fame houses exhibits honoring everything from the sport's early origins to Olympic winners and "Wall of Fame" inductees. Find official US Hockey Hall of Fame merchandise in the gift shop. Includes a new Olympic Legacy exhibit and tribute to Herb Brooks. Open year round - check the website for current hours and exhibit information. Adults, $8 Seniors 55+ and Juniors, 13-17, $7 Children 6-12, $6 Children under 6, Free 801 Hat Trick Avenue, Eveleth

    Web Site
  • Hibbing - Paulucci Space Theatre

    Hibbing - Paulucci Space Theatre

    The Paulucci Space Theater runs one public show a month at this time, on the first Wednesday of each month Open year 'round, check the website for current hour and exhibit information. Age 5 and up, $3; Children 4 and under, Free. 1502 E 23rd Street, Hibbing

    Web Site
  • Orr - Vince Shute Bear Sanctuary

    Orr - Vince Shute Bear Sanctuary

    Thousands of visitors come to the VSWS every year to see the black bears that inhabit the area and learn about and view their behavior, habitat and life cycles. Around 80+ black bears visit the sanctuary each season, including large boars, sows with cubs, yearlings and sub-adults. From the bear viewing deck visitors can observe bears feeding, playing and interacting in the surrounding meadow and woods. Courtesy buses run every 15-20 minutes from the parking lot to the viewing platform and visitors will receive a short talk on the history of the sanctuary and the bears. On the viewing deck, visitors will be free to walk around and view the bears and other wildlife and take photographs. There will be volunteers on deck to answer any questions you may have about the bears. Also throughout the evening there will be talks about the bears and the sanctuary from experienced naturalists. Open Saturday, May 25 through Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013 (closed Memorial Day) Tuesday - Saturday, 5 - 8 PM Adults, $8; 6-17, $4; 5 and under, Free County Rd 514, Orr

    Web Site
  • Orr Bogwalk

    Orr Bogwalk

    The Orr Bog Walk's half-mile long boardwalk surface provides nature enthusiasts of all ages and abilities with easy access to a wide variety of wetland types -- including spruce bog, ash swamp, cattail marsh, and tamarack swamp. In the bog, look for the carnivorous pitcher plant. In the ash swamp, look for purple fringed orchids in July. Along the Pelican River, be on the lookout for otters, muskrats, eagles, osprey, pelicans, and a wide assortment of other wildlife. Open daily, year 'round Hwy 53, Orr (behind Visitor's Center) (218)757-3932

  • Vermilion River Whitewater Rafting Trip

    Vermilion River Whitewater Rafting Trip

    The Vermilion River drains the beautiful, and massive, Lake Vermilion supplying fun water levels for rafting all summer long. This 2 ½ hour trip begins by paddling along a small stream blanketed in water lilies into the open expanse of the Vermillion River. Here the river banks are covered in thick beds of wild rice. Soon, and after a quick swim if weather permits, the river narrows, the current quickens and the action begins. The swift, clear water cascades over the infamous drop known as Table Rock Falls. The action continues as the river courses through a small canyon chalked full of constant rapids with towering pines overhead. Most trips will run this canyon twice as the guides hike the rafts upstream (for round 2) as you enjoy the scenery. After the canyon the river opens up as continuous, fun rapids lead you to the takeout. $55 per person. 10 am and 2pm. Trips run Wednesday through Sunday. Mid June to September. This adventure is truly a mix of wilderness and whitewater, proving that there is indeed whitewater rafting in Minnesota. 218.451.3218

    Web Site
  • Virginia - Mineview in the Sky

    Virginia - Mineview in the Sky

    View the Rouchleau group of mines from this 20-story overlook. The 200-ft observation complex allows visitors to scan a three-mile long, 450 ft deep open pit. Nearby stands the "King of the Lode," a 240-ton mining truck, or check out the visitor information center. Open daily, Memorial Day through Sept 30, 9 AM - 6 PM No admission charge, donations accepted Hwy 53, Virginia (218)741-2717

  • Virginia Heritage Museum

    Virginia Heritage Museum

    Located in beautiful Olcott Park, the museum complex consists of the former park superintendent's residence, a Finnish log house and a depression-era tourist cabin. Permanent exhibits depict logging and lumbering industries, Virginia's fires of 1893 and 1900 and the interurban electric railway system (trolley). The museum houses the Virginia Area Historical Society's archival and artifact collections. Summer, Tues - Sat, Winter, Thurs - Sat, 11 AM - 4 PM Admission by donation 800 9th Ave N, Virginia (218)741-1136

    Web Site

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