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Bear Head Lake State Park, Ely

#5 of 8 in Parks in Ely
Water Body · Hidden Gem · State Park
Bear Head Lake State Park is a state park of Minnesota, United States, providing ready access to outdoor recreation in the Boundary Waters region. It boasts scenery similar to the nearby Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, with the added conveniences of road access, modern facilities, and motorboating. The most popular visitor activities are boating, fishing, swimming, and hiking. The park entirely surrounds 670-acre (270 ha) Bear Head Lake and three other fishing lakes. It was established in 1961 in Saint Louis County near Ely, Minnesota. The park also contains the woodlands surrounding the lakes, which gives an entire total of about 5,540 acres. The park also shares a large border with Bear Island State Forest.

In September 2010, Bear Head Lake State Park was voted "America's Favorite Park" in a major online poll. The little-known park, not even among Minnesota's most popular, won in a surprise landslide, capturing 28% of the more than 5.7 million votes. The strong showing was credited to the online fan community of mother and cub black bears, featured on a popular webcam, whose territory included the park.
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Bear Head Lake State Park reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
126 reviews
  • We stayed at one of the heated cabins. How horrible. First, the road into the park was lined with huge trees and rocks, very dangerous, IMO. When we got to the cabin, the thermostat was set at 50 but....  more »
  • We went here during Covid, Trail Center not open and I think the bathroom was inside there. We did the kind of main hike from trail center to Norberg Lake and then back along Black Bear Lake. It was....  more »
  • We've been to 20 State parks, and this is the best. Great hiking. The canoe, kayak, and paddle board rentals are cheap and a lot of fun. Excellent hiking too.
  • Beautiful state park, stayed in a camper cabin & guesthouse here. Both are well maintained. Saw a bear, deer & a fawn and snapping turtles during our stay. There were way too many bugs, but we were there in July so I guess that’s expected.

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