(BPT) - If you think Ely is only about paddling through the BWCAW, camping under the stars on a balmy night, and sitting in front of the campfire doused in DEET, you've only got part of the story.

Winter is magical in Ely. If you've never been here when there's a foot (or much more!) of snow on the ground, make your reservations now, people. You don't know what you're missing. Ely does winter right. Here are some reasons to visit Ely this winter:

It's not crowded. Not that the BWCAW ever feels crowded, but in winter, the silence of the wilderness is like nothing you've ever experienced. It's like you are the only person in an unspoiled, beautiful world.

Northern lights. You can see them all year round, but in the winter, they really ramp up, putting on what looks like a heavenly laser light show. Sit outside in front of a fire pit drinking an adult beverage or hot chocolate and prepare to have your breath taken away.

Cross-country skiing. Don't get us wrong, cross country skiing is beautiful on a bright, crisp, blue day, but check out our blog about skiing at night in Ely, and you will rush right up here as soon as the first flake falls. There are few things on this earth more magical than skiing in the BWCAW on a midwinter night, with the sky full of stars lighting your way. Bonus: It gets dark early so you can be back to your lodge or tent in time for dinner.

Snow-shoeing. Ditto.

Cozy lodges. When you come in from skiing or snow shoeing, you can retreat to a cozy lodge or cabin with a blazing fireplace for a fine dinner. Can you imagine a better day than that? We can't. For ideas of places to stay, click here.

Dog sledding. This quintessential Northern adventure is the best. It's just the best. You will never forget your dog sledding experience as long as you live. The dogs love it, and their joy and excitement are tangible as they run along the trails. Learn how to mush or just ride on the sled, and you'll bask in the beauty of the north woods in style! Ely has more dog trip providers than any place in the world, so we've got you covered, with everything from gear to lessons to trips. Space fills up fast, so make your reservations early. Check out a few of the providers here.

Ice fishing. If it's winter in Minnesota, people are ice fishing. It's in our DNA. One great thing about doing it in Ely is, many of the lakes that aren't easily accessible in the summer are easily reached by snowmobile in the winter, so you'll get a whole new perspective on the wilderness.

If you haven't visited Ely in the winter, now's the time. We're waiting to welcome you to winter in the BWCAW.