Winter Adventures

Low snow? Go birding in The Bog!

Birding? It’s one of our favorite winter pastimes. Of course, the Mesabi Iron Range is known for thousands of miles of  immaculate snowmobile trails, excellent Nordic skiing and  great family alpine skiing at Giants Ridge. But when winter won’t produce snow for our trails, we know we can still make for the woods. Snowshoeing, fat biking and plain old hiking are great ways to experience nature in the winter, but what do you know about birding? It’s possible to scout out some of North America’s favorite winter birds by car, in one of the best birding bogs around.

Birding is the best!

Sax-Zim Bog in the Meadowlands, Cotton and  Toivola area, is world renown as a birding destination. The unique ecosystem, along with friendly feeders, attracts a variety of bird life, from northern hawk owls, great grey owls, snowy owls and spruce grouse, to boreal chickadees and grey jays. In fact, winter – December through March – is the BEST time to go birding (no mosquitoes, for one thing!).

A warm welcome awaits

A new welcome center is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, with sightings of all manner of birds and even wilder creatures! Warm up, speak with knowledgeable volunteers, or just take in the beautiful scenery. If you’re up for it, join a birding nature hike or educational program, happening throughout the season. See more events in the bog here, or  View or download a map of the bog here. You’ll find out where the feeders are and how to explore the bog from the warmth of your car. Reach the bog from Highway 53 by heading west on Arkola Road in Cotton. Call or email the Iron Range Tourism for trip ideas: 800-777-8497 or

Photo by Jason Mandich

Photo by Jason Mandich


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