- The International Wolf Center – a must stop! 1.800.ely wolf or www.wolf.org
- The North American Bear Center – www.bear.org
- The Dorothy Molter Center (the “rootbeer lady” of the BWCA) 218.365.4451
- The Soudan Underground Mine – 1/2 mile deep! 218.753.2245
- Vince Shute Bear Sanctuary – Bears, bears, and more bears! 800.357.9255
- Ely’s History Interpretative Center – displays of early life in the mining and logging of this region. 218.365.3226
- Guided day trip to the Indian pictographs – Gateway North Outfitters, 800-280-2359
- Guided fishing adventure – check with Blue Heron for options
Or try these activities:
- a pontoon boat tour of historic Burntside Lake 218.365.5445
- rent a kayak or rent a bicycle at Piragis 800.223.6565 piragis.com or at Red Rock Outfitting 800.280.1078
- plan time for Ely’s unique shops – handicrafts abound
- Golf – 9 challenging holes in Ely, 218.365.5932….. 9 holes in Babbitt 218.827.2603, and a championship 18 hole course at Giants Ridge 218.865.4143 or The Wilderness at Fortune Bay 800-992-4680 www.thewildernessgolf.com
- “Iron World” The Iron Range Cultural Center & Amusement Park. Features the history of iron mining in our area and the people of different cultures that worked them. 800.372.6437
- Hull Rust Mine the largest working open pit iron mine in the world…. maybe. 218.262.4900
- the town of Embarrass’s Visitors & Sisu (Finnish) Heritage Tour Center Old Finnish Home & Barn tours www.embarrass.org
- Best of all, Northern Lights (when “She” provides, and the clouds allow)
- The Milky way – free of light pollution, simply awesome…or the Call of the Loons… & the Howl of the Wolves are FREE
The ice is usually out by early May – but it is not terribly unusual for mid May canoe trips to be held up because the lakes aren’t open yet. As the snow softens cars often slide off roads so we keep tow ropes handy. Hearing the final hour of ice-out is enchanting: the candled ice sings like fair bells. Spring is a wonderful time here if a) you are willing to tolerate mud – we switch from mukluks and pack boots to knee high rubber barnboots- and b) love to walk. Because all the grass is beaten down and there are no leaves to obstruct the view one can see the ‘bones’ of the land. The Spring birds start in April, the trees look like easter egg trees with all their bright mating colors. There is such joy in finding the first sprig of green, and soon the first blossom. When the trees first leaf out the noise is horrendous – we are used to the silence of winter and all those trees make a mighty roar in the spring winds.
Just five canoe lengths from our dock you cross the line to the fabled BWCAW.
Paddle about 100 yards and around the corner into South Farm Lake and the silence goes from quiet to awesome!
Blue Heron is ideal for easy-to-access experiences of the incredible beauty and silence of the BWCAW. You can paddle 2 hrs around South Farm Lake or head up the Kawishiwi (both in BWCAW) for a day trip and maybe even keep going till you reach the Gunflint Trail! There are several easy portages within a day that take you deep into the canoe wilderness.
Try stopping at a wonderful rocky ledge to view the omnipresent eagles who take their prey to an rocky island just off shore. Spy on the loons who “own “ that territory, observe the beaver at their houses and keep an eye out for the occasional moose noshing along the shore.
Blue Heron includes the use of a canoe in your room rate and supplies life jackets and paddles as well as maps and permits -and refreshers in paddling if you wish. And you’ll be urged to take a map (free) and keep checking it! Oh yes, and we’ll remind you to take drinking water. Don’t forget your hat!
There are something like 4 day trips in the contiguous lakes – enough to keep you busy for a while. But we’ll also be glad to arrange for an experienced guide to take you out to other lakes, visit the Indian pictographs, see historic waters. Or a fishing guide. The more time you give us to make these arrangements the more likely you are to get the day/person you’d like. Many guides are fully booked soon after the beginning of the season.
You can combine canoeing and fishing as well – The wild rice patch just off our shore is a haven for bass, northern pike & bluegills. You can get some action right off the dock – great for kids of all sizes.
And of course swimming: Many islands offer inviting shallows to stop for a quick dip or laze away the afternoon. You just might share those shallows with a playful otter.
Our area abounds in unique hiking trails. Blue Heron supplies trail maps and experienced advice. We will also tell you what’s in bloom each month and what birds are about. Here too, bring a water bottle and a hat!
Bird watching is a favorite occupation at Blue Heron. No matter the season there’s always action at our feeders – and lots of books to help you identify what you see. Right on Blue Heron’s 10 acres there are two nests of pileated woodpeckers and 2 active wood duck houses. The blue heron frequently puts in appearances in the early morning and late afternoon as he/she makes its rounds. The Yellow Bellied Sapsucker may wake you in the morning proclaiming his territory on the metal roof of the wood shed. Warblers, Finches, Grosbeaks, Jays, White Throated Sparrow, Red Winged Blackbird, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Woodpeckers, Veery,Thrushes, Verio, I loose track of them all.
Don’t forget berry picking.. wild strawberries in early July, raspberries later and blueberries in August. Just stroll down the driveway and you’ll come back with a cupful. While you are out pick a bouquet of wild flowers.
Be sure to leave time for sitting on the deck at Blue Heron, or by the beach, delve into our collection of books about the North Country. Plan to spend an evening around the campfire here – we usually have marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate bars on hand.
We are blessed with lots of maple trees right on the property here so it is an incredible sight. The birds are flocking and their seasonal exchange goes on.
You can experience the “other” BWCA… no portages & no mosquitoes by dog sled, snow shoe or cross country ski
Cross Country Skiing
Cross Country Ski into the wilderness on un-groomed trails & lakes, user groomed trails & of course, miles of machined groomed trails just outside the wilderness of the BWCA
Or if you want to use alternate transportation how about Snow Shoeing into the wilderness right outside our door. By using our complimentary snow shoes or your own “shoes” on our wilderness trails & lakes you will see & hear a different BWCA wilderness.
We will help you set up a day of great snowshoeing! Just ask!
Each winter Blue Heron joins forces with several dogsled outfitters to put you in the drivers seat of your own dog sled.
Imagine… A Winter White World where only the words you really need are “mush” and “whoa” and fuel economy is measured in Milk-Bones per mile.
Here’s how we work together each doing what we do best. The outfitter provides dogs, sleds and a guide. You experience the thrill of mushing each day and Blue Heron provides relaxing, at-ease evenings, excellent food and comfortable lodging.
We’re less than an hour away from Giant’s Ridge downhill ski center, only two hours from Spirit Mountain in Duluth & less than three hours away from Lutsen Ski Resort.