Frequently Asked Questions About Ely, MN (2024)

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  • 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.

  • The Ely area has a variety of accommodations includingresorts,motels,, andcampgrounds.

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

  • 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.

  • The average highs (degrees Fahrenheit) are:

    January: 5.1
    February: 20.4
    March: 32.7
    April: 53.9
    May: 69.6
    June: 71.7
    July: 79.2
    August: 72.0
    September: 63.2
    October: 53.1
    November: 38.3
    December: 12.6
  • The major attractions in the Ely area include theBoundary 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,Sisu Heritage Homestead Tours, Tower/Soudan Underground Mine, and the downtown business district.

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

  • 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.

  • 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 uniquediningexperiences andshoppingopportunities. The professionalservicesoffered in the area are second to none.

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

  • The walleye, bass and lake trout fishing season opens two weekends prior to the “observed” Memorial Day. Check ourcalendar of eventsfor the specific date.

  • 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.

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

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

  • Cash machines are readily available throughout town.

  • 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.

  • Ice-out usually occurs toward the end of April.

  • Ely areaoutfitterscan supply you with detailed maps of the BWCAW.

  • Fall colors usually peak mid to late September.

  • Ely is home to a wide variety ofwildlife. 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.

  • Wildlifeis 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.

  • 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.

  • Yes, there are twogolf coursesin 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.

  • 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:

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


    They visited, then they came back! The Ely area has many talented artists, writers, photographers, and adventurers who have adopted Ely as their home – or at least – home away from home.Read More


      Whether canoeing the BWCAW, staying at an area resort or just sightseeing in our northeastern Minnesota wonderland, you are bound to see some of the wide variety of wild animals that call this area home. Besides the ducks, geese, songbirds,...Read More

      Frequently Asked Questions About Ely, MN (2024)


      What is Ely, MN known for? ›

      Located on the Vermilion iron range, Ely once had several iron ore mines. It is an entry point for campers and canoers into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Canada's Quetico Provincial Park wilderness area. The International Wolf Center and the North American Bear Center are nearby.

      Is Ely, MN a good place to live? ›

      Living in Ely offers residents a sparse suburban feel and most residents own their homes. In Ely there are a lot of bars and restaurants. Many young professionals and retirees live in Ely and residents tend to lean conservative. The public schools in Ely are above average.

      Can you see the northern lights in Ely? ›

      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. What is a housekeeping cabin? A housekeeping cabin includes cooking facilities and bedding.

      How do you pronounce Ely, MN? ›

      Most not “in the know” do pronounce it EE-lie on their initial try for some reason.

      What is special about Ely? ›

      Visitors can explore the ancient buildings and medieval gateways, the Cathedral Close (the largest collection of domestic monastic buildings in the country) or Oliver Cromwell's House, which is open all year round with exhibitions, period rooms and a haunted room.

      Is Ely a nice area to live? ›

      However, Ely can be a fantastic place to live, work and study. With a plethora of attractions and good transport links to other parts of Cambridge and the entire UK, Ely is a great location with many residential hubs. When it comes to the cost of living, you can expect average house prices to be around £366,000 in Ely.

      What is the quality of life in Ely? ›

      The city of Ely has been named amongst The Sunday Times' Best Places to Live list after being praised for its “friendliness and historic atmosphere”. Expert judges have put together a list of the top eight locations to live across the East of England, looking at schools, air quality and green spaces.

      Why should I live in Ely? ›

      Ely has excellent connectivity, both by road and rail. With its own train station, residents can effortlessly journey to major cities like London, Cambridge and Norwich. Plus, the A10 road seamlessly links to Cambridge and the M11 motorway, meaning drivers can make the most of regular commutes and weekend getaways.

      What is the most expensive place to live in Minnesota? ›

      and Go Banking Rates, Yahoo Finance compiled a list of the most expensive cities to live in each state. Per the list, the most expensive place to live in all of Minnesota is (you guessed it!) Minneapolis. The cost of living in Minneapolis is 3.2% more expensive than national average housing costs.

      What is the best time to see the Northern Lights in Minnesota? ›

      May, June, and July are not optimal for planning a trip to see the northern lights. As for clouds, November through March are your cloudiest months, and this leaves April, August, September, and October as the best months to view the aurora borealis.

      Where is the only place you can see the Northern Lights? ›

      Fairbanks, Alaska

      Fairbanks is by far one of the best places in the world to view the northern lights, as it's located directly under the auroral oval. This ring-shaped zone sits around the Earth's geomagnetic North Pole and is generally associated with the most vibrant aurora sightings.

      What time is Northern Lights most visible? ›

      November through to February offer the darkest skies and longer evenings for maximum sky-gazing. The strongest lights tend to appear between 9pm and 2am, though the best sightings often occur between 11pm and midnight.

      What is Ely Minnesota famous for? ›

      Ely is the gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). Ely was also the Coolest Small Town in the USA in 2010!

      How far is Ely, MN from the Canadian border? ›

      From Ely, travel North and East on Hwy. 169 (becomes Fernberg Trail) approximately 16 1/2 miles.

      What is the most mispronounced town in Minnesota? ›

      WAYZATA! That's right, the city 15 miles west of the Twin Cities is the Most Mispronounced Town in the entire country, according to this list compiled by BestLife. Here's how they describe the way most outsiders pronounce it: There is a right and wrong way to say Wayzata.

      Why is Ely Cathedral famous? ›

      It is celebrated for its beauty and its history, and it is a major tourist attraction. The cathedral sails above the marshes of the Isle of Ely, named for the eels in the surrounding fenland. Before the fens were drained in the 17th century, the isle was almost inapproachable.

      What are the demographics of Ely MN? ›

      The 5 largest ethnic groups in Ely, MN are White (Non-Hispanic) (93.4%), Two+ (Non-Hispanic) (1.84%), Black or African American (Non-Hispanic) (1.38%), Two+ (Hispanic) (1.19%), and American Indian & Alaska Native (Non-Hispanic) (1.16%).

      How long to spend in Ely? ›

      As the second smallest city in England, it is compact enough to explore on foot, but large enough to fill a full day and more. Close to Cambridge and Newmarket and within easy reach of the Suffolk and North Norfolk coast, Ely is your perfect base for exploring this beautiful area.

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