Ely is located in the heart of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) and the arrowhead region of Minnesota and has a population of around 3,500 year round residents. The population grows during the busy summer months. Ely is only hours from Duluth, MN and the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Average temperatures for the area vary between the seasons with an average temp of 79.2 degrees in July and an average temp of 5.1 degrees in January.
Spring, summer, and fall bring lush and colorful vegetation to the Superior National Forest Area. During the summer season, the area attracts visitors from all over the world, and for good reason too. There are more than 1,500 miles of water trails in and around the BWCAW. Hiking and mountain biking are popular activities. Campgrounds and remote campsites attract people on all adventure levels. There is abundant wildlife, excellent fishing, and plentiful bird watching experiences. For residents of the area, those experiences can be enjoyed by simply opening their back doors. The fall paints a colorful mural on this edge of the Boreal Forest. The fall and winter brings the beauty of the Northern Lights.
Winter in the area is always exciting. With about 2-4 feet of snow on the ground for 5 months, the area has many winter activities to offer. Those activities include; snowmobiling, dog sledding, cross-country and downhill skiing, ice fishing, and winter camping. There are over 150 miles of snowmobile trails surrounding the Ely area as well as many miles of snowshoe and cross country ski trails.
Ely offers a medical center that is part of the St. Mary’s Duluth Clinic Health System, as well as a community hospital with advancing medical technology. Vermilion Community College has natural resource based career programs and is well connected with Minnesota’s college system. There are a variety of restaurants, a golf course, a miniature golf course, a bowling alley, a fitness center, community theatre, a hockey arena, community ice rink, baseball and football fields, tennis courts, and two city parks (beach, playground equipment) which host a variety of events. Major attractions include the BWCAW, the Dorothy Molter Museum, the North American Bear Center, the International Wolf Center, and the Ely-Winton Historical Museum.
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