Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park

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  from Explore MN Tourism


Soudan Underground Mine Tours

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Photos of the Soudan Underground Mine at Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park. This slideshow requires the latest version of Adobe Flash Player.

 

Minnesota's first iron ore mine—the Soudan Mine—opened in 1882. Operations went underground by 1892 since the ore body continued deep into the ground.

The mine's value was in the special kind of ore it produced. The ore's high oxygen content was used to make high-quality steel in open-hearth furnaces.

When technology changed, the ore from the mine was no longer needed. Low-cost ores of the Mesabi Range took over, and Soudan Mine closed in 1962.

Today, you can explore the last level that the miners worked.

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Schedule, Rates, and Reservations

Rates

Adults (ages 13+):
Youth (ages 5-12):
Children (under 5):

$12
$7
Free

Tickets are required for everyone, including children.

Tour Schedule

Underground mine and physics lab tours run daily from Memorial Day weekend through the end of September, and weekends in October through the annual Education Minnesota conference.

The rest of the year, tours are available only for prearranged educational or group tours.

Reservations

First come, first served tickets are available for underground mine and physics lab tours. Reservations may be made in advance, up until 11:30 a.m. on the day of the tour.

Reservations can be made online or by calling 866-857-2757.

Walk-in tours (non-reservable) may be available during July and August. Inquire at the park's ticket counter or call the park office for more information.

To reserve an educational or group tour, contact the park office at 218-300-7000.

 

Underground Mine Tour

Experience the life of the miner as you travel by cage 1/2 mile underground. Once underground, you'll ride the rails 3/4 mile to the last and deepest area that was mined. You'll learn firsthand why this mine was called the "Cadillac of Mines," and gain insight into the working conditions of the miners and their remarkable mining methods.

  • 1.5 hours for the tour.
  • Close space for the three-minute ride down into the mine and two narrow spiral staircases.
  • Tours run daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Memorial Day weekend through the end of September, and weekends in October through the annual Education Minnesota conference.

Reserve online or by calling 866-857-2757.

 

Physics Lab Tour

Experience the excitement of particle physics in action! Follow the path of physicists from around the world as you travel by cage 1/2 mile underground, to a high-tech lab where physicists and engineers from around the world are trying to answer questions about how the universe works. Help search for missing particles called dark matter, and discover how these elusive particles are being studied in the MINOS and CDMSII experiments.

Learn more about the physics lab.

  • 1.25 hours for the tour.
  • Tours run daily from Memorial Day weekend through the end of September, and weekends in October through the annual Education Minnesota conference. Contact the park for tour times.
  • In the winter and spring, physics lab tours are available only for group reservations. Contact the park office to make a group reservation.

Reserve online or by calling 866-857-2757.

 

Educational and Group Tours

Educational and group tours of both the underground mine and the physics lab are available year-round by reservation only. These tours must have a minimum of ten paying people per tour.

Contact the park office for more information or to make a group reservation.

  • Educational tours are for schools K-12. $5/person (10 person minimum).
  • Group tours are for Scouts, youth or college groups, and any other organized groups. $11/person (10 person minimum).
  • 15 day advanced reservation required.

 

About the Bats

Soudan Mine is home to one of Minnesota's largest bat hibernacula. It is estimated that between 10,000 and 15,000 bats use the mine for their winter home. The bats can be found throughout the mine in the winter. In late June and July they leave the mine to roost in the woods, where—like most bats in Minnesota—the females will have one pup. The bats return to the mine in late July and early August, when you can often see them at dusk as they leave the mine in search of food.

White-nose syndrome (WNS)—a disease caused by a fungus dangerous to bats—has been confirmed at the park. WNS is harmful and mostly fatal to hibernating bats, and has decimated bat populations in the eastern portions of the United States and Canada. It is transmitted primarily from bat to bat and is not known to pose a threat to humans, pets, livestock or other wildlife.

Public tours of the mine and physics lab are continuing. To help keep the fungus from spreading, visitors are required to walk across special mats designed to remove spores from footwear. Visitors also are advised not to visit other caves or mines with any clothing, footwear or gear they have used in areas where WNS or the associated fungus is present, because washing alone cannot sufficiently disinfect clothing.

Learn more about white-nose syndrome and what you can do to help slow its spread.

 

General Tour Information

  • The temperature of the mine is a constant 51° F. Dress warmly and wear sturdy shoes!
  • There are two narrow spiral staircases on the Underground Mine Tour, but all tours are ADA accessible. Call for details.
  • Close space for the three-minute ride down into the mine.
  • Yes, you may take photographs underground!
  • No bags or strollers are allowed underground.
  • Surface buildings are open for exploration.
  • The park has over seven miles of hiking trails.
  • Rocks and artifacts must be left in the mine.

Download the mine tours brochure This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.

 

Self-Guided Surface Audio Tour

Free downloads available anytime! Explore the above-ground buildings and features with this audio tour, or follow along with the written transcripts.

Audio Tour Map and Guide This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.

  1. Introduction: Listen (0:59) or read This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.
  2. Dry House: Listen (2:24) or read This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.
  3. Tower Mine Pit: Listen (2:56) or read This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.
  4. Man Cage and Ore Skip: Listen (1:02) or read This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.
  5. Headframe and No. 8: Listen (2:50) or read This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.
  6. Rescue Room: Listen (1:01) or read This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.
  7. Security Shack: Listen (0:39) or read This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.
  8. Underground Implements: Listen (2:13) or read This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.
  9. Drill Shop: Listen (2:13) or read This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.
  10. Crusher House: Listen (2:41) or read This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.
  11. Trestle and Stock Pile: Listen (2:26) or read This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.
  12. Engine House: Listen (5:01) or read This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.

More Audio about the Park

  • Bats! This park has a large bat population, but it's easy to avoid them.
    Listen (2:04) or read This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.
  • Tour Options: Learn about the three different tour options.
    Listen (1:58) or read This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.
  • Organized Group Tours: Tours are open to groups year-round.
    Listen
    (1:20) or read This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.
  • Tour Accessibility: All the mine tours are ADA accessible.
    Listen
    (2:16) or read This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.
  • Tour Logistics: Some tips to make your tour at the park enjoyable.
    Listen (2:31) or read This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.

Click for RSS feed of the whole seriesor paste this URL into your podcast software:
http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/destinations/state_parks/audio_tours/soudan.xml

How to Get to the Mine

location map

Soudan Underground Mine is located in notheastern Minnesota (St. Louis County) just off State Highway 169/1 in Soudan. Follow the signs when you get to Soudan.

Summer mine entrance: 1302 McKinley Park Road

Winter mine entrance: 1379 Stuntz Bay Road

Detail map of directions to Soudan Underground Mine.

 

Contact the Mine

Mailing address:

Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park
P.O. Box 335
1379 Stuntz Bay Road
Soudan, MN 55782

Tel. 218-300-7000

LakeVermilion-Soudan.StatePark@state.mn.us