Dogsledding in Ely

How to Make the Most of Winter in Northeast Minnesota

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Dogsledding in Ely
Northeast Minnesota // Article

How to Make the Most of Winter in Northeast Minnesota

By Minnesota Arrowhead Committee

Northeastern Minnesota offers the most ways to win with winter, from snowshoeing, skiing and snowmobiling to dogsledding, great events and fat biking. When the northern lights shine, we even have the best winter views. Read on and make plans to make the most this winter.

Two campers bring supplies into the Boundary Waters by sled

Bring your winter camping supplies into the Boundary Waters by sled / Cheri Beatty


Ely is your perfect Northwoods winter getaway! Spend the day ice fishing on crystal-clear lakes, experience the thrill of dogsledding, ski or snowshoe through towering pine forests, and take in the magic of the Northern Lights in the BWCA — the World’s Largest Dark Sky Sanctuary. Surrounded by millions of acres of pristine wilderness, Ely is your gateway to adventure.

The Northern Lights in Rainy Lake

Witnessing the Northern Lights in Rainy Lake  / Ben Sunne

Rainy Lake

While Rainy Lake summers are worth bragging about, Rainy Lake winters can be just as wonderful. From ice-fishing, cross-country skiing and a guided snowmobile trip to the Icebox Days Festival, Rainy Lake has winter activities the whole family will enjoy. The Northern Lights are most commonly witnessed in the late fall or winter. If you haven’t experienced Mother Nature’s incredible light show, head up to Rainy Lake this winter.

An aerial shot of Bentleyville in Proctor, Minnesota

An aerial shot of Bentleyville in Proctor, Minnesota 


Proctor, Minnesota is perched on top of a hill that overlooks Duluth, Canal Park and BENTLEYVILLE! We are proud to sponsor this enchanting holiday experience. Bentleyville has become a family tradition and is incredibly popular with nearly 300,000 people every year from all over the U.S. If you have been here before, you know the long lines and traffic. We offer our hotel guests free shuttle service to Bentleyville. It may seem early to make plans, but it definitely is not. Book Your Hotel Rooms Now!

Snowshoeing in Grand Rapids

Snowshoeing in Grand Rapids  / Visit Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids 

Grand Rapids, Minnesota is a place to come for low snow or no snow winter outdoor recreation opportunities, craft breweries, indoor attractions, and cozy lodging. Northern Minnesota is the perfect winter destination to rest and relax in nature. There are a variety of places to eat and drink, boutique style shops, public art and historic sites. Come find your ideal balance in Minnesota’s nature this winter.

Crane Lake collage

Visit Crane Lake 

Crane Lake 

Start your next winter adventure in Crane Lake, where the endless waterways become a frozen playground of winter trails for all your outdoor activities. Whether you hit the trails on cross country skis or snowshoes or prefer a faster ride, we have it all! Just don’t end your winter getaway without dropping a line through the ice for that trophy fish!

Fat biking in Lake County

Fat biking in Lake County 

Lake County 

Find winter wonder while rolling along groomed tracks at destinations like Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, with 8.7 miles of groomed trail, and the Donald D. Ferguson Demonstration Forest near Two Harbors. Its two-mile intermediate Paradise Trail offers tight, twisty turns with short, punchy climbs and natural features in a forested Shangri-La. No gear? Fortunately, you can rent fat tire bikes at SpokeNGear in Two Harbors.

Lake Vermilion in the winter

Lake Vermilion in the winter  / Lake Vermilion Resorts

Lake Vermilion 

The arrival of winter brings new life to the Lake Vermilion area. Those looking for an escape to the north country, Lake Vermilion is connected to one of the longest snowmobile trail systems in the state with hundreds of groomed trails right out the back door of their favorite winter destination resort. There are several resorts that offer year-round lodging, and snowmobile rentals are available.

Giants Ridge in the Mesabi Iron Range

Giants Ridge in the Mesabi Iron Range 

The Iron Range

The Midwest’s most family-friendly ski resort is just three hours from the Twin Cities at Giants Ridge, on Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range. A new high-speed lift and chalet, plus 35 alpine runs, two terrain parks and snow tubing make for a high-quality experience. But affordable lift tickets, lessons, rentals and nearby lodging, dining and more make it the perfect option for groups and families this winter. Follow your own compass and discover The Range.

A cross-country skier in Cook County

Visit Cook County 

Cook County

Ready, set, experience an unforgettable winter trip to Cook County, Minnesota! Every year, the winter weather drops well over 100” of snow onto our little corner of the state. Whether you love soaring down the snowy slopes at Lutsen Mountains or gliding through the frost-covered forests on over 400 kilometers of groomed cross-country ski trails your adventure is waiting for you in Cook County. Plan your trip here today!

Minnesota Arrowhead Committee

Minnesota Arrowhead Committee is a coalition of travel/tourism and commerce organizations working together to promote the Arrowhead region of northeast Minnesota as a vacation destination.