Explore the most popular trails near Ely with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.



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Ely, Minnesota Map

Excellent escape into the wilds of northern Minnesota. Great campsites for small tents. I recommend a freestanding tent as some of the sites have little area to set spikes as they are located on rock facia. Bring good hiking shoes too as some of the portages can be rugged and mucky. Nothing more ironic than getting foot blisters on a canoe trip.

1 month ago

Great trail for day or weekend hike. Great rocky overlooks on both sides of angleworm lake. # of hikers can be moderate to heavy on early fall weekends to view beautiful fall colors.

2 months ago

Great trail. Completed the loop counter-clockwise and camped for a night at the Whiskey Jack campsite. The trail was not very difficult to follow and was moderate to hard in difficulty. I will definitely hike this trail again.

Nice family hike with great views of the lakes, pines and Forrest

on Big Island Trail

4 months ago

Beautiful area - but I’m not sure I would rate the trail as kid friendly. There were a couple of fairly steep, rocky parts of the path that were hard for my kids to navigate. The beach and playground are great!

5 months ago

Awesome trail loop! My daughter and I loved crossing the beavers dam. Yes it is part of the trail and plan on getting your feet wet. Went on May 19th of 2018 and bugs were almost non existent and no ticks. Weather was perfect also. Trail could use some better signage. Totally recommend a compass and good paper map. Met two people who thought the gps on their phone would work back there but they ended up going back. Lots of ups and downs so plan on a work out. Beautiful place look forward to going back.

on Bass and Dry Lake Loop

9 months ago

my first official trail. we did it in the winter. clearly defined due to snow tracks. suggest ice cleats for your shoes/boots in winter. great scenery. want to do this again in summer.

Monday, September 18, 2017

It was more than just some Moderat trail it was actually pretty good

Saturday, August 19, 2017

This started and ended a great hike, however you will notice we had some troubles near the area we ate our lunch. The trail was lost and we could either go up or down. According to the map on All Trails we went down toward the water and almost turned back as we could no longer stay on the route. We turned around frustrated and then noticed up above were some fallen trees that covered the trail. The rangers have not cleared the path lately. This was tough and I would guess some have lost their way at this area. I am a seasoned hiker, this was tricky. Be careful if you decide to go all the way around dry lake especially on the west side of Dry Lake. For intermediate hikers not beginners. Roots, rocks, mud, slabs of rock, trees fallen. We did see 2 deer, gardener snake, chipmunks and birds.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Completed the bass lake loop with my 68yr old father. Took our time but loved the hike!

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Excellent trail with a variety of flora. Good vantage points throughout. We took the outer route which was just over 6 miles...just under 3 hours. Easy to follow but challenging enough to keep us interested. We plan on doing it again on our next trip to the north shore area!

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Great variety of terrain and scenery.

Monday, June 12, 2017

nice trail. went counter clockwise around bass lake and cut back through dry falls.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Great trail with good mix of terrain. Hiked the Dry lake loop with the pup. Lots of blow downs but well maintained.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

This is an excellent hike, one of the best in the area. Its closer to 6.2 miles.

Friday, December 23, 2016

The best weekend hike in the BWCA. Check the amount of permits out the weekend you go. It's best done counter clockwise. If you get there and see cars in the lot you may want to do it in the clockwise direction. The best sites are on found going counter clockwise, which is the way most people do it. You have three choices that way.

paddle sports
Monday, November 28, 2016

This is a primary canoe route into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). This is part of the Superior National Forest an is administered by the United States Forest Service (USFS). Permits are available from USFS and camping is at designated sites. The two portages involved are well used. Limited motor use is allowed up into Pipestone Bay of Basswood. Portages are able to accomodate up to 16 ft boats on portage wheels and thus very easy to follow and always clear. The route starts at the USFS campground/boat landing on Fall Lake. Once you pass Mile Island on Fall Lake, you are in the BWCA. The first portage is where Fall Lake out flows into Newton Lake. The outflow is actually a low head dam. It is under water and you won't normally see it. It is a hazard. Stay clear. Strong currents are present. Follow Newton to it's outflow which is a rapids that enters Pipestone Bay. Steep hill (for those pulling boats, it is known as Heart Attack Hill) as portage drops into Pipestone. NO MOTOR line starts part way up Pipestone. This puts you in position to access the Basswood River several nice water falls an rapids. Beware of current. Basswood River is border between US and Canada. Canadian side is Quetico Provincial Park. You need seperate permits to enter Quetico Park and must clear customs. There is a Canadian custom's an Quetico Ranger station on the east end of Basswood. This is a headwaters for a watershed that ends in Hudson Bay! It is an easy route but use caution near rapids and falls. They have been deadly. They can suck unsuspecting people into danger before you know your in trouble.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Just got back from a completing the loop in 3 days/2 nights. Great trail. Easily followed except for a few areas. Note that the Swamp crossing on the east side of angleworm lake is litterally a beaver dam crossing. NOT a bridge of any sort. It must have washed out or something. We took a 45 min detour because we didnt think the dam was the crossing. Beautiful trail, lots of ups and downs. Little bit of everything. In my opinion the West side of the lake was a nicer/ more scenic hike. We stayed at whiskey jack campsite and the west angleworm camp that is just across the lake from another campsite. Whiskey Jacks site was great, poor fishing, and a bit chilly due to facing north. Angleworm west was a awesome site. water was a little bit away from camp but not bad. Caught an eater northern angleworm.

Friday, November 04, 2016

I have competed this trail 3 times and have just done a in and back for a short weekend twice. This is a trail that can be somewhat challenging with the ups and down, but the views and changes in scenery are amazing. The campsites are all very nice, if you get the chance, plan to stay at the Whisky Jack campsite. I would stay away from the one at the end of Home Lake, just because it is off the water and in the wood where the bugs are a little heavy. The trail is well worn and there is very little chance of getting off trial. On the weekends in the summer you can see a little traffic on that lake, so if you are into the solitude aspect, I would suggest going on a weekday. I will continue to go back to this trail just because it is a great hike and easily done in a weekend.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

It was a great hike in the first week of October. Spent 2 nights there. Beautiful reflection during sunrise and sunset. We camped right on the lake. Most part pretty easy to follow the trail. Only a couple spots are a bit confusing. Overall, a great 2-3 day causal hike.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Wonderful hike! We didn't have much time and so hiked to Dry Falls, enjoying the views along the way. We saw loads of birds, and we enjoyed the trail itself with the moderately challenging terrain and forest setting. My husband actually said that this was his favorite trail in Minnesota!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A perfect trail run followed by swim at the falls! Big storm in late July but all clear now thanks to the forest service.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Great trail with nice views. Nice stop along the trail with waterfalls and a stream to relax and cool off.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

We hike to Dry Falls every year with kids from 1-10. It is challenging and fun. Bring snacks and swim suits!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Moderately difficult climbing in certain areas, but our 10 year old breezed through it. Save yourself daylight to get back!

Sunday, May 08, 2016

This is a great weekend hike! Had fun crossing the beaver damn on the southeast side.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Nice trail. Not as well marked as I expected so don't go late in the day and risk it getting dark. Rocky terrain and the lake is really beautiful.

paddle sports
Thursday, June 18, 2015

I've been there a few times, it's amazing if you're looking for solitude and very few amenities. It's vast and gorgeous wilderness. Where to start... seek an outfitter to help plan your first trip/ route.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Very fun and relaxing hike. Be careful to not do this in the dark if you aren't familiar.

paddle sports
Friday, April 19, 2013

I spent almost two weeks, canoeing, hiking and camping. I met two bears, lots of chipmunks, squirrels, birds and mosquitoes. Oh yes, all the jokes about mosquitoes being the Minnesota state bird are well earned. The wild blueberries were in season when I was there so I had plenty of fresh fruit to go with my dehydrated camping foods.

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