Lake Vermilion - Soudan Underground Mine State Park1302 McKinley Park Rd
Soudan, MN 55782
Take U.S. Highway 169 towards Ely and follow the signs. Soudan is located 2 miles east of Tower, MN.Get Directions
Minnesota's newest state park combines the historic Soudan Underground Mine and the new 3,000 acre expansion on the east side of the park. The park's first campground, Vermilion Ridge Campground, opened in the fall of 2018.
The park's new campground offers 33 campsites for both tent and RV camping, Wi-Fi throughout the developed areas of the campground, modern shower buildings with a light carbon footprint, and three group camps with screened picnic shelters. There are also 5 hike in camp sites and 2 boat in camp sites on the property.
Visitors can connect to the Mesabi Bike Trail from inside the park, use the Armstrong Bay Day Use area for picnicking or the newly-constructed water access for fishing, or take in a tour of the historic Soudan Underground Mine during tour season.
The Soudan Mine offers three different tours which are described below:
Underground Mine Tour: Tour Minnesota's first iron mine. Don a hardhat and journey 2,341 feet via a cage to the 27th level, ride the rails back into the mine and listen to the stories of mining a century ago.
Walking Drift Tour: Visitors will search for geologic clues on a ¾ mile walk that follows the route miners took to work each day. They will also discover the tools that the miners used in their exploration for the iron ore. It will involve walking on uneven surfaces in a cold, dark and wet environment.
Secrets of the Deep: Science Tour -- Participants will learn about the major experiments that were conducted in the former physics lab. They will also see how scientists are using bacteria found in the mine as they search for a treatment for white nose syndrome (a fungus that is causing bats to die), an alternative energy source or a means for purifying water.
Before leaving the property, visitors need to make sure they explore the surface facilities, including the dry house, drill shop, crusher and engine house. They can also hike the trails through a hardwood conifer forest and past the famous Soudan Iron Formation.
Jackets and sturdy shoes recommended for the underground mine tour. There are two narrow spiral staircases on the Underground Mine Tour, but all tours are ADA accessible. Call for details.
The Lake Vermilion expansion of the park added another 3,000-plus acres and is currently under development as a next-generation state park. A new campground opened in the fall of 2017. There are also five reservable hike-in campsites. The Armstrong Bay Day Use Area is currently available for boat-in or drive-to picnics, and several boat-in campsites are also available on a first-come, first-served basis. Eight new camper cabins are being built and will be open sometime in the summer of 2020. A cabin on Blue Heron Island will also come on-line for rental during the summer of 2020.
Hours & DatesPhone reservations can be made by calling 866-857-2757 (TTY: 952-936-4008) Apr–Sep, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Daily; Oct–Mar, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon – Fri and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sat & Sun
A state park vehicle permit is NOT required when parking in the mine parking lot. Mine and Science tour prices are $15 (ages 13+), $10 (ages 5 - 12), and no charge for children under 5. Walking Drift tour prices are $20 for all participants (ages 10+). C
- Open in fall
On-Site Facilities & Services
- Located on a lake or river
- Hiking trail
- Lake/river access (boat ramp)
- Snowmobile trail (groomed)
Recycling is available on site for visitors -- cans and bottles. Current energy conservation efforts include regulated thermostats in the buildings, efficient light bulb replacement in the visitor center, and energy efficient furnaces and water heaters. S
- Eco-friendly landscape/facility design
- Eco-friendly purchasing practices
- Energy efficiency/conservation
- Waste reduction/reuse/recycling
- Water conservation/wastewater management plan
- Accessible to disabled
- Can accommodate groups of 45 or more
Number/Type of Campsites
- Number of tent or RV/trailer sites: 33
- Number of tent-only sites: 3
- Total number of campsites: 36
- 50 amp
- Camping accessible to disabled
- Flush toilets in campground
- Group camp facilities
- Hot showers in campground
- Pets allowed in campsite
- Pull-through sites
- Sanitary dump station
- Secluded campsites
- State Parks Campgrounds
Length of Stay
- Daily site rental
Meetings & Conferences
- Facility accommodates meetings for 30 or more
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
Based on 250 reviews
Mine closed up currently due to COVID. Lots of buildings, machinery, etc above ground to enjoy and great as a scenic overlook. We biked over on the trail from Tower. Worth about an hour of your time...
— Experiencemattn, September 15, 2020
I first visited the mine in the 1970's when I was about 10 years old. Since that time I have taken many out of state visitors. We all love it. I never get tired of it. Every guide I've had tells...
— Gail2281962, September 3, 2020
Above ground, there are some mine artifacts on display to enjoy. We decided to take the underground mine tour. The tour was education, fun, and great for all ages. The team working there makes sure...
— Elsavador, May 3, 2020
This was a great tour! Our guides were knowledgeable and fun and made the experience so enjoyable. Highly recommended for all ages!
— Nels0ns, November 23, 2019
We want to have a look at the fall foliage and decided to travel North. Without much prior planning visited Soudan underground mine. Turned out to be a sweet surprise. Definitely a different...
— Ramesh Kumar B, November 5, 2019