LAKE VERMILION – SOUDAN UNDERGROUND MINE STATE PARK
Lake Vermilion – Soudan Underground Mine State Park – No Mine Tours at This Time
This park, and the awesome tours within, is a must-see stop while visiting the Range. Just 24 miles from Virginia, the Underground Mine makes a great day trip from the area. Travel 1/2-mile underground in an elevator and board an ore car for a guided tour of the former mine. Tour guides do a fabulous job of educating and entertaining visitors. Dress warmly! It’s chilly down there.
Soudan Underground Mine is located near Highway 169, north of Virginia, just two miles east of Tower. Call the park at 218-300-7000 or visit the website, here.
Tours are offered daily starting Memorial Day Weekend and continuing through September, plus weekends in October through the Minnesota Educators Association weekend. Group tours are available year-round. Please call park office 218-753-2245 for 2018 tour dates. Admission is $15 for adults; $10 for ages 5-12; and free to children under 5. A state park permit is NOT required when parking in the mine main parking lot.
The Soudan Underground Mine was Minnesota’s first iron ore mine, sending its first shipment to the ore docks in Two Harbors in 1884 and continuing operation until 1962. Various buildings still stand at the site, and naturalist/interpretive programs are offered throughout the year.
Check back for 2021 Tour Times and Dates
The tour leads visitors through the world of underground mining. Visitors don hard hats and enter a “cage” for the descent into the mine. The 1 1/2-hour mine tour will take you half a mile down into the earth. Once underground you will be treated to a 3/4-mile train ride to the last and deepest area mined. The mine is 51 F year-around, so remember to bring a warm jacket or sweater and sturdy shoes. The park offers group tours to schools, colleges, organizations and businesses. Tours meet at the visitor center.
Walking Drift Tour
The tour explores how geologists found the iron ore buried deep in the Earth’s crust. Visitors will search for geologic clues on a ¾ mile walk that follows the route miners took to work each day. They will also discover the tools that the miners used in their exploration for the iron ore. It will involve walking on uneven surfaces in a cold, dark and wet environment. The tour is available for individuals 10 years of age and older. The tour offers a new look at the mine and a chance to gain new insight into its workings.
Secrets of the Deep: Science Tour
The tour takes the place of the physics lab tour that was offered in the past. The new science tour, which lasts 80 minutes, includes a cage ride to the 27th level of the mine, at which point visitors will enter the former physics lab. Participants will learn about the major experiments that were conducted in the lab. They will also see how scientists are using bacteria found in the mine as they search for a treatment for white nose syndrome (a fungus that is causing bats to die), an alternative energy source or a means for purifying water.