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Soudan Underground Mine State Park 

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Soudan Underground Mine State Park is located in the Iron Range region of northern Minnesota near Tower and Ely.

Soudan Underground Mine State Park

How to Get to Soudan Underground Mine State Park: Drive 2 miles east of Tower on U.S. Highway 169 to the park entrance.

Park Highlights:

  • In 1884, the Minnesota Iron Company established the Soudan Mine, which eventually became one of the world’s largest iron producers. A rich vein of ore was discovered near Lake Vermillion, which led to the establishment of the town of Ely nearby. 
  •  The mine closed in 1962 and has now been named a National Historic Landmark. The mine structures and buildings remain intact. In 1963, 1,322 acres that include the mine, as well as donated surrounding land, was designated as a state park

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Soudan Underground Mine State Park’s Natural Attractions: The northwoods setting, and nearby Lake Vermillion, makes this one of the most beautiful areas of the state. Just a few miles away is one of the state’s best travel destinations, the North Shore of Lake Superior. The park and surrounding area provides habitat for deer, bears, wolves, loons, hawks, owls, and many species of songbirds.

Things to Do in Soudan Underground Mine State Park:  Several tours of the mine are available. For the Historic Underground Mine Tour, you will be lowered in a “cage” for ½ mile to “Level 27.” You will then transfer to a railcar and descend for another ¾ mile to learn about mine operations. Another tour is of the University of Minnesota’s High Energy Physics Lab. There is a charge for the tours. Wear warm clothes for both tours.

You can explore the park buildings and exhibits at no charge. The Visitor Center offers a movie about the history of the mine. There are 5 miles of hiking trails that will take you into some of the surrounding northern Minnesota scenery.

Camping in Soudan Underground Mine State Park: There is no campground in this park; however, you have two options nearby. One is adjacent Lake Vermillion State Park. Another great place to camp is the privately owned McKinley Park Campground, also located on Lake Vermillion. 

“Although we tried over the last 15 years to show that the next, big project should be at Soudan, we have not been successful,” said physicist Marvin Marshak, the U professor who spurred the lab’s creation in the early 1980s. “Science moves on.”

Summer tours of the mine at the Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park, Minnesota’s first iron ore mine, will continue. But tours of the physics lab — which Popular Science magazine once named the No. 1 nerd road trip — will wrap up this fall as the detector is broken down.

Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 9/18/18

Download our Minnesota State Parks E-book to take with you on your travels: Minnesota State Parks: From Afton to Zippel Bay

Lake Vermilion State Park - How to Get to Lake Vermilion State ParkDrive 2 miles east of Tower and follow the signs to the Soudan Underground Mine State Park entrance. The park is on the eastern shores of Lake Vermilion, adjacent to Soudan Underground Mine State Park, and just south of the Superior National Forest and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Soudan Underground Mine State Park

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More Attractions in This Region: Visit Ely. This “gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness” has much to offer. Tour the International Wolf Center and the North American Bear Center. The Dorothy Molter Museum chronicles the life of an amazing woman who spent most of her life living self-sufficiently in the wilderness.

Other State Parks in This Region of Minnesota: Lake Vermillion State Park > Bear Head Lake State Park.


1302 McKinley Park Road
Soudan, MN 55782

Mailing address:
PO Box 335
1379 Stuntz Bay Road
Soudan, MN 55782

Phone: 218-753-2245

Email: SoudanMine.StatePark@state.mn.us 

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