The northern Minnesota town of Ely, an important gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, made a recent National Geographic Adventure list of nine towns around the world that offer access and support for outdoor “thrills.”
Ely joins Moab, Utah as the only North American town on the list. Other entries include Niseko, Japan; Cairns, Australia; and Manali, India. The article highlights Ely’s proximity to the public lands as a key qualification.
“Tucked on the edge of a lesser known but spectacular natural marvel in the U.S., Ely is within shouting distance of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, more than a million acres of wild terrain in Minnesota’s Superior National Forest,” the magazine reports.
It also notes the outdoor recreation opportunities that are less intensive than a wilderness canoe trip, but often go unnoticed.
“Kawishiwi Falls is a very short hike just outside of town,” says Jason Zabokrtsky, owner of Ely Outfitting Company and Boundary Waters Guide Service. “It’s a good opportunity to stretch your legs and capture a sunset.”
Amenities in the towns seemed to be as important to the editors as the outdoor adventures. Ely is recommended not only for the Boundary Waters, but also its cabins, food and drink, and places to buy provisions.