Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Guided tours
No
Backcountry camping
Yes
Lodging
Yes
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Bear Head Lake State Park is located in northern Minnesota about 20 southeast of Ely, Minnesota. This beautiful northern forest park is over 4000 acres in size and has the feel of Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA). It has 23 miles of lakeshore. The forest in the park includes red and white pine, spruce, paper birch and fir in the upland areas; while tamarack, black spruce and white cedar grow in the lowlands. In 2010 Bear Head Lake State Park was voted America’s Favorite Park.

Outdoor recreational opportunities abound at this park. The park has over 14 miles of hiking trails including the Norberg Lake Trail. Fishing is a popular activity at the park and the park has two designated trout lakes. There is a wheelchair accessible pier in the park. Boats, canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards are available for rent. There is a picnic area and beach located on Bear Head Lake. There is also a picnic shelter that is available for rent at this location.

Winter activities include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. There are seven miles of groomed cross-country skiing trails in the park. Snowshoes are available for rent and can be used anywhere in the park except for on the groomed trails. There are four and a half miles of snowmobile trails in the park including a spur trail to the Taconite State Trail.

There is a campground in the park with a total of 73 drive-in sites, of which 45 have electric hook ups with 30-amp service. In addition to the main campground, there are four backpack sites, two canoe-in sites, and one group site. The park also offers five camper cabins for rent and a guesthouse that sleeps ten is available year-round.

A link to the Minnesota DNR website for Bear Head Lake State Park can be found here.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

State Park Fee

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Beautiful north woods park with lakes.

Cons

Insects can be a nuisance in the early summer.

Features

ADA accessible
Boat ramp(s)
Backcountry camping
Wildlife
Lodging
Family friendly
Flushing toilets
Rental facilities
Shelters
Fishing
Dump stations
Picnic tables
Near lake or river
Potable water
Covered picnic areas

Location

Nearby Adventures

Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park, Minnesota

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