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Bear Head Lake State Park, Ely
(4.4/5 based on 85+ reviews on the web)
Bear Head Lake State Park is a state park of Minnesota, United States, providing ready access to outdoor recreation in the Boundary Waters region. It boasts scenery similar to the nearby Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, with the added conveniences of road access, modern facilities, and motorboating. The most popular visitor activities are boating, fishing, swimming, and hiking. The park entirely surrounds 670acre Bear Head Lake and three other fishing lakes. It was established in 1961 in Saint Louis County near Ely, Minnesota. The park also contains the woodlands surrounding the lakes, which gives an entire total of about 5,540 acres. The park also shares a large border with Bear Island State Forest.In September 2010, Bear Head Lake State Park was voted "America's Favorite Park" in a major online poll. The little-known park, not even among Minnesota's most popular, won in a surprise landslide, capturing 28% of the more than 5.7 million votes. The strong showing was credited to the online fan community of mother and cub black bears, featured on a popular webcam, whose territory included the park.GeographyBear Head Lake State Park is located in Saint Louis County, 19mi southwest of Ely; and 18mi east of Tower. The park is located 6 miles south of the junction of State Highway 169 (MN 169) and County Road 128 in Eagles Nest Township. The park entrance is located on County Road 128. Elevation ranges from 1450to. The Laurentian Divide crosses the southern end of the park.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • We visited the park in October and there were not many people. Very good sites. Easy to rent a boat and a trolling motor. You can change battery if needed during your rent period. Mature pine trees an...  more »
  • What a great place to visit for those who enjoy nature. It's a wilderness wooded area that encompasses a couple lakes with very well maintained roads and a trail head log building that looks like it s...  more »
  • Beautiful park and scenery, we had good weather and the bugs were mostly non-existent. The handicap toilet was out of order the whole Labor Day weekend and we had to wait to use the facilities many ti...  more »
Google
  • Absolutely beautiful. This park is truly stunning and I'd really love to go back soon. There are a few things that I would ding the park on though: We chose a backpacking campsite. The trails are not well really marked, and the distances on the map seem way off. The information on the DNR website said there wouldn't be a bear box at the backpacking campsites, and there was. It also said there were primitive/vault toilets by the camp sites and we never saw any. This park is SO worth the visit and the long, long, long hike over more stones than you can possibly imagine, but be advised: this is an intermediate backpacking site. Arrive early, know your campsite number and make sure to ask which forks in the road to take.
  • Beautiful park. One of my favorites. Great sites, still maintaining plenty of wilderness. The lake is beautiful, hiking trails varied and worthwhile. Definitely one of the best state parks I've been to.
  • Beautiful state park! Wonderful camping. Hiked, kayaked, swam, did an archery program, geocached... Watched amazing sunsets on the dock, like glass water reflects the trees and sky beautifully. Others saw mama moose and calf on the shore while kayaking. We saw loons, beaver, deer, osprey, heron, watched a huge snapping turtle eat a fish. Kids were thoroughly entertained watching red squirrel, chipmunk and deer mice at the campsite. Heard wolves howling in the evening and the next day saw scat on the trail in the area we heard them. Never have been to the bwca, but from pictures and what I hear from those who have been there, bear head lake has a very similar feel. Loved it! Will definitely return!
  • Bear Head is a great park for a long weekend. If you're staying any longer, you may need to venture out towards Ely to find more trails and lakes.
  • We absolutely love the peace and tranquility of this State Park. Plenty of places to hike and great canoeing on a small lake.