When lakes freeze over and the snow begins to fall, Elyites explore the forests and lakes by ski, snowmobile, snowshoe, dog team, and fat bike.  Located conveniently on the outskirts of Ely, Hidden Valley Recreation Area (HVRA) offers incredible cross-country ski trails. Also close to town, Shagawa and Burntside lakes are accessible via ice roads, and you’ll see many ices houses dotting the frozen surface. The 165-mile Taconite State Trail, which runs from Grand Rapids to Ely and the 80-mile Tomahawk trail, which runs through the Superior National Forest, offer snowmobilers great routes with unparalleled scenic views of the North Country.

For the more adventurous, winter is also an excellent time to get out and camp. With the proper equipment, clothing, and know-how, folks can experience the northwoods in relative comfort. Best of all, there are no bugs! Numerous outfitters, educators, and guides are available to help less-experienced adventure seekers with advice and equipment.  For a truly unique experience, contact one of our local dogsled outfitters and explore scenic woods and lakes while driving your own team of dogs.

At the end of a long cold day, relax the Finnish way with a hot steamy sauna.

The Ely Winter Festival is a proud city tradition that brings warmth to the area in the coldest months, check out this video to take a peek at the event!


Check out this amazing Lynx strolling around in the backwoods of Ely!