The Mesabi, from West to East


Hibbing is the largest of the Mesabi communities, and is the former home of music legend Bob Dylan, basketball great Kevin McHale, and baseball player Roger Maris. Birthplace of the renown transportation company Greyhound Bus Lines, Hibbing is also the location of one of the world’s largest open pit mines – the Hull Rust Mine View, accessible from the Mesabi Trail. Visit Hibbing’s outstanding parks, including Carey Lake with a public beach, boat launch, fishing piers and hiking trails, and be sure to explore historic downtown.

Hibbing City Hall (596x1024)

Brad DeBoom IronMan


Chisholm (pronounced Chiz-olm) is a community of around 5,000 that’s built, in part, around the lovely Longyear Lake. This historic hotspot hosts the Minnesota Museum of Mining, and the Museum of the Iron Range: Minnesota Discovery Center. A memorial to all branches of military veterans can be found here, along with the famous Bridge of Peace and the iconic Iron Man Statue. Chisholm is known as the site of festive events like the Chilly Open, Doc “Moonlight” Graham Days, and the St. Louis County Fair.


Just down the road from Chisholm, Buhl’s (pronounced Bewl’s) claim to fame is the “finest water in America,” bottled water from deep aquifers in this hard rock region. A small campground is just stone’s throw from the scenic and clean Stubler Beach, accessible on the Mesabi Trail.

Stubler Beach, Buhl

Minntac and Mountain Iron drone

Mountain Iron

Next up: Mountain Iron, birthplace of the Mesabi Iron Range iron ore industry, thanks to the Merritt family. Today, Mountain Iron flourishes with retail and new housing. West Two Rivers Campground is a municipal site with a beach, fishing docks, playground, pavilion and disc
golf course. Celebrate this city’s achievements at the annual Merritt Days celebration, held every August, with fun, games and music for everyone.


The Queen City of Virginia sits at the intersection of Highways 53 and 169, and as a result, is a retail and entertainment hub, with a variety of shopping, dining, and a great municipal golf course. Learn about this city’s logging and lumbering history at the Heritage Museum near historic Olcott Park and the Olcott Park Greenhouse. Virginia’s main drag is home to the Lyric Center for the Arts, a former opera house being lovingly restored to showcase area art and artists of all stripes. Queen City could also be called Bridge City, as a newly constructed 200-foot-tall bridge spans Rouchleau Mine Pit near the town’s entrance.

Bailey's Lake in Virginia, with downtown buildings.

Largest hockey stick in the land.


Eveleth is the home of hockey, as evidenced by the country’s largest hockey stick right in the middle of downtown, and the US Hockey Hall of Fame Museum along Hwy 53. This mecca to the sport is a must-see for all visitors, hockey fans or not! Also not-to-be-missed is Eveleth’s legendary Fourth of July celebration, the tallest manmade point in the area, Leonidas Overlook, and, for campers, Veteran’s Park Campground with swimming beach, fishing areas and wooded slots. The Mesabi Trail connects the city with the campground.


Site of a scuba hot-spot in the clear-watered Lake Ore-Be-Gone, the city of Gilbert has another claim to fame at the edge-of-town Iron Range Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area (AKA The OHV Park). This is a riders’ paradise for ATVs, Jeeps and OHMs, with scramble areas, mud pits, and trails of all difficulty levels. The Mesabi Trail runs alongside the reclaimed mine lake and the popular Sherwood Forest Campground, headquarters for the annual ScubaPalooza and Ride for a Cure Jeep event. A number of great restaurants and bars line the main drag.

Sherwood Forest Campground 1

Gazebo in Biwabik City Park


Biwabik is the Bavarian-themed town that greets visitors to Giants Ridge Resort with two award-winning golf courses and acclaimed ski area, plus trails, lakes, lodging and dining. With the Mesabi Trail connecting the community to Giants Ridge and Vermilion Trail Campground on Embarrass Lake, this scenic city is a destination any time of year. Visit during the Fourth of July for the popular Calthumpian Parade, and come back the first Saturday in December for Weihnachtsfest, with fireworks, delightful music and food, and sledding.


The friendly town of Aurora is just a hop, skip and jump from Giants Ridge. Stop for a bite at the cafe, restaurant or drive-in on main street. ATV trails connect Aurora to Biwabik and neighboring Hoyt Lakes, and offer a scenic wooded route to explore. Snowmobile trails lead from town to just about anywhere in the northeast part of the state; dedicated clubs take care of their trails! Look for events at the Sportsmans Club, with rifle and archery ranges. Each year, enjoy Patriotic Days in July, and Pumpkinfest the second Saturday in October, with food, games, wagon rides and pumpkins for all.

St. James Lake in Aurora has a multi-use trail around it.

Fisherman's Point Fishing Pier (1280x853)

Hoyt Lakes

The entry point for the Superior National Forest Scenic Byway, Hoyt Lakes is home to the lovely Fisherman’s Point campground and recreation area on Whitewater Lake, plus a beach on the adjacent Colby Lake. With hunter walking trails. ATV and snowmobile trails, fishing, and the fabulous Hoyt Lakes Water Carnival every year, the city is a fun place to be in any season! Take in sweeping views at Skibo Vista, and make plans for a motorcycle ride to Lake Superior on that Byway (Forest Highway 11). See the Iron Rangers junior league hockey team play while you’re there!


Deep in the pines along the Embarrass River lies a Finnish community of the same name. Embarrass is home to a people who treasure their heritage and the nature that surrounds them. Learn about their history on a Finnish Homestead Tour, and visit the Nelimark Homestead Museum for Finnish treats and to hear a few words spoken in that language. On a starry night here, you’ll understand why immigrant farmers made their home here more than a century ago. Enjoy this city’s hospitality at the annual Embarrass Region Fair, and the Ice Candle and Holiday Gathering.