Winter Activities and Attractions
Ely is a great place to experience a winter wonderland, either by snowmobile or on many cross country ski trails.
The Ely area is northern Minnesota's premier snowmobile hub. The Taconite Trail is the main thoroughfare in and out of Ely in the winter. Stretching 170 miles between Ely and Grand Rapids to the southwest, many spur routes will take you just about anywhere you want to go. The Tomahawk Trail, heading to the east, has 86 miles of varied terrain which the avid snowmobiler can use to connect up with hundreds of miles more of groomed trails, including the North Shore and Yukon Trails. The trail works closely with natural terrain and is one of the most scenic trails in the state. The tree cover that surrounds the trail edges, the lack of traffic and development allows you to have an uninhabited experience. You can also check the trail conditions online.
Snowmobile Safety Training
(Note: A snowmobile safety training certificate is required for anyone born after 12/31/76.)
Cross Country Skiing
Ely's many wooded, wilderness paths feature six local groomed trails, or you can break your own trails and include any of the hundreds of lakes in the area. Several of the local trails include terrain inside the BWCAW - the South Farm Lake, Angleworm and North Arm Trails are the most notable of these. You can check the trail conditions online.
While the lakes may be covered with ice and snow, plenty of fish are waiting to grab hold of one of you fishing lures. This is the best time of the year to go after trout, as they're at depths that can be reached with "standard" equipment. Walleye, northern and crappie fishing can be equally as exciting and productive. Many of the lakes that are too difficult to get into in the summer are now easily reached by snowmobile, showshoes, cross-country skis or dog team. You can break your own trail or travel on any number of well-groomed or packed routes. Your fishing trip can be as comfortable or as rugged as you like. Many people combine winter camping with an extended trip into their favorite lake. Others prefer day trips in the comfort of a heated fish house.
For a breath-taking winter adventure, nothing compares to driving a dog team. Mush from a cozy northwoods lodge or head out on a camping trip. Enjoy the winter scenery of the lakes and trails on the back of a dogsled. Run a team of sled dogs to a remote yurt or cabin, or access remote ice-fishing lakes to experience winter solitude at its best. Enjoy dog mushing for a day or plan a week-long adventure. You don't need previous experience. The guides in Ely will teach you everything you need to known from harnessing dogs to maneuvering your sled. They have invested many hours into training their dogs so that you can be assured of a high-quality, enjoyable trip.
Dog Sled Trips
Ragnar Fun Run
A snowmobile rally held in Ely and surrounding coummunities. Travel by car or snowmobile to the towns of Babbitt, Tower, and Ely and increase your chances of winning over 200 prizes. All money raised goes to support Snowmobile Trails in Ely, Babbitt and Tower.
Ely Winter Festival
The Ely Winter Festival is Ely's annual winter celebration highlighting the unique culture, art, history and traditions of what living in Ely has and continues to offer. The main attraction of the festival is the Snow Sculpture Symposium featuring carvings by local, state and international artists. Other events which celebrate winter is the Annual Spaghetti Dinner, Downtown Merchant's Art Walk, Kwazy Wabbit Pool Tournament, SnowBall, and the Craft Fair.