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“Beautiful Lake tucked away in the Northwoods of Minnesota”

Bear Head Lake State Park
Ranked #6 of 34 things to do in Ely
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The park's namesake 674-acre lake is a prime spot for eyeing wildlife.
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Beautiful Lake tucked away in the Northwoods of Minnesota”
Reviewed June 10, 2014

We visited this beautiful state park on the weekend of June 7 and 8, 2014 with my hubby and mother in law. We had booked a tent drive in campsite which was about 100 ft away from Bear Head Lake.
The Campgrounds are very well planned and laid out as each site is well separated from other with lots of woods in between. The weather was perfect for boating and kayaking-not too hot but pleasant n overcast. We saw lots of kids and families fishing and managing a good catch. The lake seemed to be full of trouts and snapping turtles.
We walked along the beach trail which takes you around the Bear Head Lake. The trail has benches and fishing piers all along it till the picnic shelter and beach area. This trail is an easy and small one.
Evening was a perfect set up with lake in view, a bonfire and great dinner under the stars. Next day morning, we decided to see the Norberg Lake which is to the north-east of the Bear Head Lake. Norberg lake is a much smaller lake but beautiful and serene , surrounded by vegetation all around. The water there was as clear as it could get..We walked on the trail around the lake and reach the East bay of Bear Head lake. This site had a group camping area which was very well laid out. The view of the east bay lake was way more better than the main Lake area. There were small islands in the middle with trees. We did 3 mile long Norberg Trail which actually takes you within the woods and gives you a view if the East bay to your left. It was one of the most naturally laid trails i have ever been to. It was safe as my mother in law who has had a knee surgery was able to complete with some rest breaks in between.
Only word of caution for everyone who would want to camp here is to be prepared to deal with lost of mosquitoes and bugs. The number of mosquitoes is so high that one point we decided to return the same day. However, with the application of bug spray and wearing lighter color clothes, the nuisance reduced to some extent.
Apart from this, everything else was memorable and scenic. I would definitely recommend the State Park for camping.

Visited June 2014
4 Thank Ahana L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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88 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Level 4 Contributor
23 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed May 29, 2014

We have been to several state parks in Minnesota, but for us, this one ranks as the BEST so far. WE LOVE IT! The campgrounds are meticulously well kept and every single person who works here is PROUD to work and live here and it shows! No matter what site you get, it will not be a bad site and all are very close to the water and fishing/boat access. This campground has EASY access to all of the lakes on it and has the most fishing (land) access I have ever seen. Literally, a small fishing "dock" every 20-50 feet or so. It is amazing. There are also 2 "hidden" lakes that require a bit of hiking, but are well worth it, especially if you are fishing for trout. Cub Lake has quite a few logs and weeds, but the other lake (escapes me on name - Nelson?) is awesome.

It is so beautiful, peaceful, and serene at this state park. There are all kinds of wildlife all around. At night you will hear several loons calling and may even see them, bald eagle, and beaver on the lake during the day.

There are so many things to do here too! Bring your bike along, be ready to hike/walk. You can fish to your heart's content from shore without a license and if you need equipment the office will lend it to you. You can also rent boats with small trolling motors by the 1/2 day or day. It is very, very reasonable and well worth the price. I believe you can also rent kayaks. In addition, there is a swimming beach! See, it has it all.

Sunsets here are spectacular. Last year I took at least 30 pictures solely of sunsets and had friends from all over remarking at how beautiful they were. Do not miss the sunsets.

This state park also has AMAZING water. There is an old time pump (get ready to WORK YOUR MUSCLES) that pumps fresh spring water. It is the best water I have ever tasted.

You will not regret driving to what feels like the edge of nowhere for this ultimate relaxing vacation. If it ends up being a rainy day (or 2) head into Ely and see the National Bear Center, International Wolf Center, Dorothy Molitor museum, or browse the shops lining the streets of Ely. Everyone is friendly and welcoming in town too and it is only about 17 miles away.

We've been 2x and this is now an annual destination for us. We are on our way for a week tomorrow and hope to be back again at the end of summer! LOVE THIS PLACE!

Visited September 2013
5 Thank Jen W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ely, Minnesota
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Far, but not too far away from it all!”
Reviewed November 25, 2013

Tucked away in the beautiful northwoods, the park is full of great skiing/hiking trails and nice campsites. Close enough to the Soudan Underground Mine or Ely attractions if it's a cool and rainy day, but there's plenty to do here anytime!

Visited February 2013
2 Thank MNTwinsFan333
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Loved our campsite”
Reviewed October 22, 2013

We camped in a tent & enjoyed having plenty of trees around to keep us secluded from the neighbors. We were close to the lake for a nice walk. Granted we were there in the fall, but the beach area looked very nice. We caught the fall colors coming to peak, so it was awesome.

Visited September 2013
2 Thank luv2travelfrommn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level 5 Contributor
67 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“among the very best”
Reviewed September 26, 2013

We camped at Bear Head State park for three days early September and couldn't have asked for more. These sites are private, level and well shaded. You are allowed to fish without a liscense if you are a Minnesota resident as it is totally on the state park grounds. There are plenty of hiking trails nearby as well as biking trails. Camping at its best!

Visited September 2013
2 Thank michaelnmarsha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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