Frequently Asked Questions About Ely, MN

How do I get to Ely, MN?

Roads leading into Ely include Highway 169, Highway 1 and County Road 116 (Echo Trail). Ely is located approximately 110 miles north of Duluth, 102 miles east of International Falls, and 255 miles north of Minneapolis / St. Paul.

Northwest Airlines flies into Duluth and Hibbing. American Airlines flies into Duluth direct from Chicago. Rental cars are available at each of the airports. Many of our outfitters and lodging facilities provide ground transportation from the Ely, Duluth and Hibbing airports for their customers.

Private planes can utilize the Ely Municipal Airport which has a 5,600′ paved runway with VOR/DME, TACAN, PAPI lights, strobe lights, lighted runway, and charter and jet capabilities. There is a passenger terminal, cargo buildings, tiedowns, airframe, power plant, and a repair hangar.

What types of accommodations are available in the Ely area?

The Ely area has a variety of accommodations including resorts, motels, bed & breakfasts, and campgrounds.

Do cell phones work in the Ely area?

Cell phones do work in the Ely area, but you should check your roaming requirements.

What type of medical facilities are available?

The Duluth Clinic-Ely is part of the Essentia Health System. The clinic offers laboratory and x-ray services. Currently six family practice physicians are on the staff.

The Ely Bloomenson Community Hospital is a 25 bed hospital with a cardiac unit and 24 hour ambulance services.

Also available are four dentists, two optometrists and two pharmacies.

What are the average temperatures in Ely?

The average highs (degrees Fahrenheit) are:


What are the major attractions in the Ely area?

The major attractions in the Ely area include the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), the International Wolf Center, North American Bear Center, Dorothy Molter Museum, Ely Arts & Heritage Center at Pioneer Mine,Vermilion Interpretive Center, Ely & Babbitt Golf Courses, Sisu Heritage Homestead Tours, Tower/Soudan Underground Mine, and the downtown business district.

Are there any trails in the area?

The Ely area provides unique opportunities for those seeking hiking, skiing and snowmobile experiences. The hiking and ski trail system provides many different types of experiences from short trips to a day long trip to an extended wilderness trek. Hundreds of miles of snowmobiling trails are in the Ely area. The two main snowmobile trails are the 180 mile Taconite Trail and the 90 mile Tomahawk Trial.

Do I need a permit for day trips into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness?

Yes, anytime you enter the BWCAW you need a permit. For non-motorized day trips such as hiking and canoeing a self-issuing permit system is used. The self-issuing permit forms are available at the main BWCAW entry points. No reservation is required. A quota permit is needed for all overnight use and day motor use.

What type of services are available in the community?

Ely is a full-service community. Here you will experience the best of both worlds – the relaxed atmosphere of smaller-town living yet all the advantages of big-city living. Ely offers unique dining experiences and shopping opportunities. The professional services offered in the area are second to none.

Are there any scenic driving routes in the Ely area?

The most popular routes include the 20 mile long Fernberg Road, the 53 mile long Echo Trail and State Highway #1.

When is the fishing opener?

The walleye, bass and lake trout fishing season opens two weekends prior to the “observed” Memorial Day. Check our calendar of events for the specific date.

What are the area’s major events?

The major area events include the Blueberry Art Festival, Fall Harvest Moon Festival, the Ely Winter Festival, the Embarrass Region Fair, the Wolf Track Classic Dog Sled Race.

Is there a dump station available for Recreational Vehicles?

Yes, the dump station is located at the Ely Chamber of Commerce parking lot.

Are motors allowed on any of the area lakes?

There are no motor restrictions on any of the lakes outside of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Are there any cash machines available in the area?

Cash machines are readily available throughout town.

Do I need to license my canoe?

All motorized and non-motorized watercraft, including canoes, must be licensed by the Department of Natural Resources. An exception to this includes watercraft currently registered in another state and not kept in Minnesota for more than 90 consecutive days. If your watercraft is not registered you may do so in person at the deputy registrar of motor vehicles in Ely during regular business hours or you may contact the DNR License Bureau in St. Paul at 1-888-MINNDNR.

When is ice-out?

Ice-out usually occurs toward the end of April.

Where do I get detailed maps on the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness?

Ely area outfitters can supply you with detailed maps of the BWCAW.

What is the peak time for fall colors?

Fall colors usually peak mid to late September.

What type of wildlife might I see in Ely?

Ely is home to a wide variety of wildlife. Everyday species include ducks, geese, songbirds, chipmunks, squirrels, seagulls, etc. The area also boasts large populations of bald eagles, osprey and ruffed grouse. The most common of the big-game animals is the white-tail deer, but there are frequent sightings of the black bear, moose, and wolf.

Where can I go to view wildlife?

Wildlife is prevalent throughout the Ely area. You are bound to see a wide variety of wildlife whether canoeing the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, relaxing at a lodging facility, or just sightseeing. You have a good chance of seeing wildlife while driving scenic Highway 1, the Fernberg Road, and the Echo Trail. Wildlife can also be spotted while boating, canoeing, and hiking. Usually the best time of the day to view wildlife is sunrise or near sunset.

What types of Churches are in the Ely area?

The Ely area is represented by many religious denominations and churches including, but not limited to, Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopal, Baptist, and Jehovah Witness.

Is golfing available in the Ely area?

Yes, there are two golf courses in the Ely area. The Ely Golf Course is a 9-hole, 3,245 yard, par 36 course. The Babbitt Golf Course is also a 9-hole course, par 35 and 3,316 yard course.

When can I view the Northern Lights?

The northern lights can be seen throughout the year, but are more prevalent in the fall and winter. The best place to view them is from waters edge on any of the many lakes in the area.

More information available here:

What is a housekeeping cabin?

A housekeeping cabin includes cooking facilities and bedding. Customers usually must furnish their own towels.

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