Ely

It’s not officially on the North Shore. Instead, it’s wilderness lakes and Finnish saunas, boreal forest and loon call contests. As avid paddlers and BWCA travelers, we think of Ely as our favorite weekend getaway. And the scenic and curvy drive up from Highway 61 takes less than two hours. We’ll help you find enjoyable day trips by foot or by paddle, a few surprisingly sweet cross country ski trails, and funky small-town festivals.



Posts from Ely

New Trail Center at Bear Head State Park
October 14, 2014 by Andrew Slade

New Trail Center at Bear Head State Park

Nestled in a forest near the beach on scenic and wild Bear Head Lake, the new building is bright and welcoming. Running water, an indoor fireplace and comfort are available before and after your adventures. … read more


Get your summer festival on
July 8, 2014 by Andrew Slade

Get your summer festival on

Freshly popped kettle corn, a new handmade piece of art, a cold lemonade—it's time for summer festivals. Find a complete list of 2014 Best North Shore festivals here … read more


On the trail of the Pagami Creek Fire
June 11, 2014 by Sally Rauschenfels

On the trail of the Pagami Creek Fire

We paddled toward the burned southern shore of Lake One in search of the famous Pagami Creek Fire. Three years after the famous fire burned here, we headed out for a day of discovery. … read more


Hike the lovely Dry Lake Trail in Ely
September 18, 2013 by Andrew Slade

Hike the lovely Dry Lake Trail in Ely

The 3-mile Dry Lake Trail just north of Ely packs lots scenery per mile and has the additional bonus of few hikers on the trail. It's a lovely and easy day hike. … read more


Hiking Ely’s Secret-Blackstone trail
September 4, 2012 by Andrew Slade

Hiking Ely’s Secret-Blackstone trail

The Secret-Blackstone trail winds around three lakes strung in the hilly country between Moose Lake and Snowbank Lake east of Ely, two popular BWCA entry points off the Fernberg Road. … read more


Freakish early spring in the North Woods
March 25, 2012 by Andrew Slade

Freakish early spring in the North Woods

It's March, and the frogs are calling outside Ely. The ice is off all but the biggest lakes. Nearly every sign of spring is coming a full month early. It's as if winter never happened, which is sort of true. … read more


"Not even eaten at all."
December 23, 2011 by Andrew Slade

"Not even eaten at all."

This bit of news from the Duluth News Tribune on February 10, 1898 sure was a relief to read. We're headed up to Ely over the holidays and would have hated to come across Mr. Cameron's remains. … read more


Sig’s shack
September 8, 2011 by Andrew Slade

Sig’s shack

I had the rare opportunity last week to visit Sigurd Olson's writing shack. Much to my surprise, it was not at the famed Listening Point, but right in town in Ely. My brother George and his partner had met Listening Point Foundation's executive director, Alanne Dore, and she invited them to see the shack. I tagged along, and was really glad I did. The shack looks like Sig had just left. I was stunned to see that the last thing he ever typed was still in the typewriter: A New Adventure is coming up and I'm sure it will be a good one. Perhaps subconsciously … read more


German Expressionism hits the North Woods
February 26, 2011 by Andrew Slade

German Expressionism hits the North Woods

Seen on a well-used National Forest outhouse at a ski trailhead in Ely:  This well-weathered man reminded me of the woodblock prints of the German Expressionist, like this one from Max Kaus. When we arrived in Ely for our winter break, the woods were full of snow, but it was a crusty, angular, and shall we say depressing snow. Like the angular cuts in those woodblocks. Actually, there was a lot of German expressionism during our week up in the Ely woods.Like my older son, in his first year of German, teaching his younger brother how to insult someone in that … read more


Chasing winter, you just might lose the race
February 22, 2011 by Andrew Slade

Chasing winter, you just might lose the race

The other day, my family ended up at a restaurant having arrived in two different cars. When it was time to head home, one son rode with me, the other with Sally. My co-pilot son, as soon as we were out of earshot, told me to get going and beat them home. Unfortunately, they had a way faster path out of the parking ramp and would be unbeatable. Wouldn't you know it, when we arrived at the one possible optional turn on the way back, they were right in front of us at the stoplight. They went one way and … read more