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
Adults (ages 13+):
Youth (ages 5-12):
Children (under 5):
Tickets are required for everyone, including children.
Underground mine 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.
First come, first served tickets are available for underground mine 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.
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.
- Educational and Group Tours
Educational and group tours of the underground mine 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. $13/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 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.
- 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.
- Introduction: Listen (0:59) or read
- Dry House: Listen (2:24) or read
- Tower Mine Pit: Listen (2:56) or read
- Man Cage and Ore Skip: Listen (1:02) or read
- Headframe and No. 8: Listen (2:50) or read
- Rescue Room: Listen (1:01) or read
- Security Shack: Listen (0:39) or read
- Underground Implements: Listen (2:13) or read
- Drill Shop: Listen (2:13) or read
- Crusher House: Listen (2:41) or read
- Trestle and Stock Pile: Listen (2:26) or read
- Engine House: Listen (5:01) or read
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
- Organized Group Tours: Tours are open to groups year-round.
Listen (1:20) or read
- Tour Accessibility: All the mine tours are ADA accessible.
Listen (2:16) or read
- Tour Logistics: Some tips to make your tour at the park enjoyable.
Listen (2:31) or read
Click for RSS feed of the whole seriesor paste this URL into your podcast software:
- How to Get to the Mine
Soudan Underground Mine is located in northeastern 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
- Contact the Mine
Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park
P.O. Box 335
1379 Stuntz Bay Road
Soudan, MN 55782