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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Adults (ages 13+):
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.
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.
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.
Reserve online or by calling 866-857-2757.
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.
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.
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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
Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park
P.O. Box 335
1379 Stuntz Bay Road
Soudan, MN 55782