The Soudan Underground Mine State Park is one of many unique and fascinating attractions you will find in the Lake Vermilion area. You can tour 2 sites underground here, as well as above ground exhibits. And as a bonus…you don’t even need a Minnesota State Park sticker to get in!
The first underground site is the historic tour. This year marks the 125th anniversary of the first shipment of iron ore from the Soudan Mine. When the mine ceased operation in 1962, US Steel donated the property to the State of Minnesota for education purposes. On the tour, after a brief introduction, you will put on your hard hat for a ride in the “cage” to the 27th level. Once you have descended 2,371 feet, you will board a rail car to be transported to the last and deepest area mined. The 90 minute tour will take you back to the glory days of iron ore mining on the Vermilion Iron Range. Another bonus for a warm day – it remains a steady 50°F underground. Don’t forget a jacket or sweater!
The second underground tour is of a high energy physics lab. I can’t explain it very well (physics was never my strong suit) but the tour guides can! Basically, scientists from around the world have been working at the Soudan Mine for 25 years trying to answer questions about the universe, such as: Is matter completely stable? What is the nature of the fundamental forces? Can we identify Dark Matter? Learn about the neutrino beam from Fermilab…see the MINOS (Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search) detector…learn about CDMS (Cyrogenic Dark Matter Search) and its continued search for WIMP (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles).
For those less adventurous souls, you can still see lots above ground, such as the dry house, drill shop, crusher house, engine house, and an open mine pit, or enjoy nature on the hiking trails and picnic area.
The Soudan Underground Mine State Park will also be hosting several programs this season, including “Geocaching 101” and “Batty About Bats”. For dates, times, and information on these and other programs, see the calendar of events under the “Things to See & Do” section of our website.
And for more information about visiting the mine, see “Attractions”, also under the “Things to See & Do” section.