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Bear Head Lake State Park

Secluded in the Northwoods, this park contains pristine lakes; it is home to black bears, nesting eagles, wolves and moose. Stands of white and red pine trees tower over the birch, aspen and fir trees. Located just south of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, the park shares a similar wilderness quality. Explore miles of shoreline by canoe. Swim at the beach, picnic in the shelter building, or fish for walleye, bass, crappies or trout. Trails in the park link-up with the Taconite State Trail and offer snowmobilers, skiers and hikers plenty to enjoy. Rent a three-bedroom guest house or camper cabin any season of the year.

Tell me more about this park's wildlife, history, geology and landscape.

Visitor Alert

New park phone number! 218-235-2520

2016 Reservations changes

  • All campsites at this park are reservable.
  • Same-day reservations are now available.
  • If you need help making a reservation, call 866-857-2757.
  • For more details, read the FAQ.

Taconite State Trail Master Plan

A new master plan is under development for the Taconite State Trail, which passes through the park.

(Updated May 4, 2016)

Park Notes

Be fascinated. Check out the naturalist programs and other activities scheduled at the park.

Things to see and do at the park:

Need ideas? Here's park staff's list of top stops at the park!

State Forest Campgrounds:

Bear Head Lake State Park also manages the Woodenfrog, Ash River and Wakemup Bay campgrounds inside the Kabetogama State Forest. For information on these units, please contact the Bear Head Lake State Park office at (218) 235-2520.

Virtual Tour:

Take a virtual tour. It's a great tool to help you plan your next trip to the park! Panoramic tour | Snapshot tour

There's also a short videoThis link leads to a video. of scenes from the park.

Gift Card:

Purchase a Minnesota State Parks Gift Card.

Don't move firewood!

Burning non-local firewood can spread invasive species, and it's against Minnesota state law. Learn more. Always buy your firewood at the park, or from an approved local vendor. Find firewood vendors for this park.


Bird Checklist This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it. at Bear Head Lake State Park.

Park Highlights

tree Camping

tree Fishing

tree Great Hiking Trails

tree Wilderness Atmosphere

tree Wildlife

tree 23 Miles of Lakeshore


Best time to contact the park:

June - August:

Daily, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.


Daily, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

October - Memorial Day weekend:

Intermittently between 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.


9301 Bear Head State Park Road
Ely, MN 55731

tel: 218-235-2520

email: bearhead.statepark@state.mn.us

Getting There

Take MN Highway 169 to County Highway 128. Follow this road south 7 miles to the park.