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Laurentian Recreation

With outstanding recreational facilities and vast expanses of natural beauty, the areas served by the Laurentian Chamber of Commerce are a must-see at any time of year.

Gorgeous lakes and skies, millions of acres of forests, easy access to wildlife and nature, a fascinating history and helpful hosts are part of what make this area of northeastern Minnesota so great.

Mesabi Trail

Two of the region’s state parks offer different perspectives of iron mining on the Iron Range. A visit to the Soudan Underground Mine State Park takes visitors on a half-mile trip into the earth via elevator and train to experience first-hand how it felt to be a miner who worked daily in an underground mine. Most iron mines in the area eventually converted their underground mines to strip mining operations, and the Hill Annex Mine State Park offers an excellent example of this “open pit” mining experience. The result of natural flooding from three local mines, Lake Ore-be-Gone in Gilbert is a haven for water-skiers, swimmers, fishers and scuba divers. With boat landings, docks, and picnic areas, there is much to enjoy.

The Iron Range is one of the most scenic hiking destinations in the Midwest. There are over 175 miles of hiking trails and untouched wilderness. Whether an avid hiker or a casual walker, there are trails to fulfill everyone’s adventures. Among things to see while traversing the trail are soaring eagles, river gorges, and three-hundred-year-old white pine trees. The area is home to 155 nesting birds and 40 species of wildlife, and it is not uncommon to sight a moose! Popular casual recreation trails include Bear Head Lake State Park, Big Aspen Recreation Area, McCarthy Beach State Park, Laurentian Divide, Lookout Mountain, Giants Ridge, and Carey Lake. The Mesabi Trail offers a variety of outdoor experiences from walking, hiking, biking, skating, skiing, snow-shoeing and in some areas snowmobiling. Traversing through 25 communities and currently spanning 70 miles, Eveleth, Gilbert, Mountain Iron, and Virginia all have direct and easy entry points. The trail also offers access to swimming, canoeing, camping and fishing.

For winter activities, curling, skiing, snowboarding, and snow-shoeing are readily available. The Midwest’s best-rated ski destination, Giants Ridge Golf and Ski Resort, is located here. With 34 alpine runs and exceptional facilities, it has everything one would need for winter fun. Another popular sport in Minnesota is snowmobiling, and the Iron Range offers more than 2,000 miles of excellent snowmobile trails. With an average snowfall of over 100 inches and an extensive amount of tree cover on the trails, the Iron Range’s paths open earlier in the season and stay open longer than most areas in Minnesota. Beyond a doubt, it is a snowmobiler’s dream come true!

Some of the Midwest’s best golfing is also located here. Golf Digest ranked The Quarry at Giants Ridge Golf & Ski Resort “The Number One Public Golf Course in Minnesota” and The Legend was ranked number four in Minnesota. Golfweek also ranked The Quarry number one in Minnesota. Giants Ridge was also named “One of the Top Six Golf Destinations in the World” by Golf World magazine. There are many courses to choose from in the area including Eveleth Municipal Golf Course, Hoyt Lakes Golf Course, Mesaba Country Club, The Legend at Giants Ridge, The Quarry at Giants Ridge, Virginia Golf Course, Wolfridge Golf Course and The Wilderness at Fortune Bay.

Fishing is another popular sport in the area. There are outstanding opportunities for both shore and boat fishing. Plentiful are walleye, bass, crappie, muskie, northern pike, and rainbow, brook and lake trout. Fishing guides are available at selected lakes and resorts.

In addition to the all of the above, movie theaters, bowling alleys, a casino and much more are located in or near the Laurentian Chamber area.

For more information, please visit www.ironrange.org/recreation.

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Town Square Publications
Giants Ridge
The Wilderness at Fortune Bay
Virginia Golf Course