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Bear Island State Forest


St. Louis, Lake


Acres: 157,814

State Forest Map

Motor Vehicle/OHV Classification: Limited

Approved Firewood Vendors

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•Bear Island State Forest is adjacent to the Superior National Forest and Boundary Waters Canoe Area and surrounded by the towns of Ely, Babbitt, Tower, and Soudan.

• Bear Island State Forest is home to Bear Island Lake, a large, sprawling lake sandwiched between the Vermilion and Mesabi ranges. The lake is full of arms, points, and islands, not to mention a healthy supply of walleyes. The 2,351-acre lake has three accesses, two at the northeastern corner and one on the southwestern shore.

•The forest is largely white and red pine, balsam fir, white spruce, and aspen-birch with rolling topography. Several small lakes dot the landscape along scenic trails.

More about this forest

Visitor Alert:

OHV Riding Restrictions During Deer Hunting Season

  • Use of off-highway vehicles (OHVs) on state forest OHV trails and state forest trails during firearms deer season is allowed only for deer-hunting purposes, and only within permitted times. More information

Bear Island State Forest at a glance...



Canoe / Kayak



Picnic Area

Picnic Shelters


Cross-Country Skiing


10 Miles Mountain Biking

15 Miles Snowmobiling

Attention Trail Users:

Most roads and trails are open to mountain bikes unless posted.

Temp Forest Road / OHV Closures

Special features

• Taconite State Trail
• Bear Head Lake State Park
• Soudan Underground Mine State Park