Iron Range is a region in in Northeastern Minnesota. The region is characterized by alternating rocky cliffs and dense forests, with rolling hills and ridges. The Range is home to one of the world's largest iron ore mining regions in the world. Today, the region finds itself very much alive and well producing over 75% of all domestic ore in the United States.
The Iron Range is an informal and unofficially designated region that makes up the northeastern section of Minnesota in the United States. It is a region with multiple distinct bands of iron ore. It's colloquially known through the rest of Minnesota as "The Range." The area has a recognizably Italian, Slavic, and Scandinavian heritage. A strong Midwestern Minnesota accent is present in the area, especially among the older part of the populace, hence the popular nickname, "Da Range".
Traveling by car is the most common method of getting to The Iron Range.
Take US 53 South from International Falls, or North from Duluth.
Duluth International Airport (IATA: DLH) (ICAO: KDLH), . Is about an hour away. Offering daily non-stop service to Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Detroit and Chicago. In addition service is offered occasionally and sometimes seasonally to Las Vegas, Phoenix and Orlando.
Airlines serving Duluth International Airport:
Airlines serving Range Regional Airport:
Driving is the best option for getting around the Iron Range.
Most regional highways are well-maintained if aged. Summer brings road construction, winter brings snow, and spring may bring road weight limits as the ground thaws. MN-DOT provides helpful information about conditions and road work.
Almost all of the local communities use some version of the grid system for their streets, with extensive use of numbered (2nd, 3rd, 4th Avenues West) streets for easy direction-finding. Inquire locally, most residents are happy to help provide directions.
As an important source of iron ore throughout the early 20th century, the Iron Range isn’t just scenic, it’s historically significant.
Surrounded by 320,000 acres of the Superior National Forest and 500 lakes and rivers, The Range is a special place to enjoy autumn’s kaleidoscope of colors. Traveling west in the morning or east in the evening provides the best photo opportunities. September 15 to October 15 is generally considered fall peak season for colors, but it will vary from year to year.
From secluded, rock-walled lakes to peaceful stretches of slow-moving rivers, the region offers excellent opportunities for shore or boat fishing. Crystal clear glacial lakes offer walleye, northern pike, bass, crappie and muskie. Beautiful reclaimed mine pit lakes are stocked with rainbow, brook and lake trout. Scenic flowing rivers host excellent walleye and northern pike populations, and miles of beautiful trout streams let anglers wade in and explore true wilderness trout fishing.
Guides are available on selected lakes, and area resorts rent fishing boats, pontoon boats and ice fishing houses.
From award-winning courses like The Legend and The Quarry at Giants Ridge® and The Wilderness at Fortune Bay, to public courses scattered throughout The Range, this region showcases some of the best golf in the Midwest.
With over 320,000 acres of the Superior National Forest and the glacial ridges of the Laurentian Divide, The Range is one of the most scenic hiking destinations in the Midwest. One of the areas most well known hiking trail, Arowhead State Trail, contains 135 miles of the regions 175 miles of hiking trails and pristine wilderness. Approximately 69 miles of the trail are also suitable for horseback riding and mountain biking in the summer, however there may be wet areas.
Skiing & Snowboarding
SKI Magazine named Giants Ridge® Golf & Ski Resort the number one Minnesota ski resort and one of the five best resorts in the Midwest. With ski-in and ski-out lodging, 34 downhill runs, 2 snowboarding terrain parks, plus more than 70 kilometers of cross country ski trails and three miles of snowshoe trails, it is easy to see why this Iron Range destination was voted atop other resorts in Minnesota.
The Iron Range is home to fine dining opportunities, homespun “mom and pop” cafes, unique ethnic restaurants, and great sports bars. Some of the most distinct dining options come from The Range's deep immigrant heritage, whose family recipes from over forty countries are an important and tasty part of the Iron Range legacy.
Dial 911 for emergencies.
In winter months, make sure to check the ice thickness before going out on a frozen lake or pond. Do not park your vehicle on a lake or pond unless it is deemed safe by the local DNR officers. Never walk on river ice. It may appear safe but may not be thick enough to support your weight, due to the river current flowing underneath. While driving be watchful for both whitetail deer and the local moose. Both are most active at dusk and dawn.
The rural area has a long history of a largely unionized workforce in the mining industry, the mainstay of the economy of the Iron Range. The area remains the greatest Democratic stronghold in Minnesota outside the urban centers of Minneapolis and St. Paul.