Published: October 2009Best Adventure Towns
Ely Ms

Ely, Minnesota

Plan a long weekend getaway with our Ely adventure guide, featuring great outdoor escapes, where to stay, and where to eat. Then chime in with your picks.

Photograph by Adam Benge, My Shot

Pop. 3,473
GPS: 47°54'N, 91°50'W

This North Woods burg, set within three-million-acre Superior National Forest, is the gateway to thousands of interconnected lakes within Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, a refuge for wolves, bears, eagles, and moose. It’s no wonder world-renowned naturalists like Will Steger and Lynn Rogers call Ely home.

Your Turn: Tell us about your favorite Ely adventures, restaurants, and hotels in the comments section below.

A bit of bait and maybe a handle of whiskey are all it takes to catch trout—and the northern lights—in a heated ice-fishing hut on Snowbank Lake ($60 a day; Mushers heed the call with Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge; overnight runs pass spruce bogs, pine stands, and frozen lakes ($775 for three nights; When the weather warms, there’s no better place to launch a canoe trip. Ply the quiet coves of nearby Shagwa Lake or strike out into Boundary Waters (rentals from $22 a day;

Many a Boundary Waters expedition begins with homemade cinnamon-raisin bread and stuffed hash browns at Brittons Cafe (218-365-3195).

Timber Trail Lodge and Resort is a cozy base along the Tomahawk snowmobile trail (cabins from $110; In town, A Stay Inn Ely has handcrafted white-pine-paneled rooms with a fieldstone fireplace in the common area (doubles from $60;

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