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Bear Head Lake State Park, Ely

4.5
#5 of 7 in Parks in Ely
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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Bear Head Lake State Park Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
96 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • The trail center is a nice place to warm up in when you're riding snowmobile on the Taconite trail. It has a soap stone fireplace where a fire is always burning and big comfy chairs.  more »
  • Huge lake, only paddled the bay at the state park, nice and calm. Even caught a few fish not trying very hard. Canoes and kayaks available at the boat ramp. Nice campgrounds.  more »
  • We are so lucky to have beautiful state parks and this is one of them. We were here at peak leaf showing. The park has lots to offer. You need to plan ahead. Cabins rent out a year ahead. The lake is ...  more »
Google
  • The best camping place I've been so far!! Beautiful! The campsites are close but you still have 100% privacy because they are circled in tall trees and bushes. There are tons of docks for fishing and most are zero entry so my small dogs could walk in for a quick swim. Tons of well kept trails for hiking. Sunsets were gorgeous.
  • A few years back I took my nephew camping here. We paddled into one of the canoe-in campsites for a few nights, which was a great way to get a Boundary Waters experience with none of dreaded portaging. Plus there is decent enough fishing in Bear Head Lake and a sand beach for swimming. The only downside is it a bit of a drive from Minneapolis.
  • Perfect little park in the northland. Hiking, paddling, skiing, snowmobiling in winter. The Trail Center is top notch!
  • My favorite Minnesota State Park is located between Tower and Ely MN. It is 8 miles south of highway 169. Very quiet, serene. And relaxing. Spend time hiking, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, or just being...and, enjoy the wildlife while enjoying your time here. Live, love, love this park!
  • Great park. Nice backpack sites with a bear box. Someone was even nice enough to leave a container for getting water from the lake, a bug candle, kindling, and some extra tarps. The backpack sites are in a quiet part of the park. The hiking is similar to the BWCA, with some hills and rugged stretches.

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Where to stay in Ely

Most of the accommodations in Ely cluster along Sheridan Street. The important thoroughfare is also home to cafes, outdoor equipment stores, supermarkets, and restaurants, so a stay there puts you right in the thick of things. Choose between the various motels and inns located along this stretch, with some offering standalone bungalow lodgings, others onsite spas, and all of them an enviable position in the heart of town. Pioneer Road swings out of town and follows the edge of the lake, offering access to larger, more upscale resorts.
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