Located in the heart of the Mesabi Range, the Quad Cities of Virginia, Mountain Iron, Eveleth and Gilbert, Minnesota, have long been recognized as leaders in promoting business prosperity in northern Minnesota, yet each community provides a distinctive taste of the region’s flourishing tourism industry (both historical and present), while offering small, hometown charm unique to their own community.
Virginia’s Olcott Park is the site of the Virginia Area Historical Society’s Heritage Museum which provides visitors with an authentic look at the historic logging days of the area. Olcott Park is also home to the much loved “Land of the Loon” festival, which attracts thousands of visitors each summer. Virginia’s rich mining history is celebrated at the Mineview in the Sky Overlook and the Oldtown-Finntown Overlook, both offering truly breathtaking views of some of the area’s deepest open pit mines. Virginia is a retail hub for the Iron Range, where popular, unique shopping venues area complemented by a wide variety of restaurants, lounges and entertainment. Virginia is also home to two lakes (within city limits), numerous parks and a recently-renovated 18-hole municipal golf course.
Mountain Iron is the birthplace of the iron mining industry here in northern Minnesota. It was here, in 1890, that Leonidas Merritt first discovered iron ore, launching the mining era that uncovered the magnificent wealth beneath the Mesabi Range. Situated at the crossroads of Highways 53 and 169, Mountain Iron is Minnesota’s third largest city in geographic size, covering 52 square miles and boasting six lakes within its limits. Visitors can get a birds-eye view of U.S. Steel Minnesota Ore Operations Minntac’s iron mining operations at either the Wacootah Overlook or the Minntac Mine Overlook. Mountain Iron’s West Two Rivers Campground also offers visitors a clean, well-kept campground, as well as swimming, fishing and kayaking/canoeing recreation.
Located along & adjacent to US Highway 53, this Iron Range community is home to the World’s Largest Hockey Stick, United States Hockey Hall of Fame and one of the area’s most breathtaking sites, the Leonidas Overlook Mineview. The overlook reflects more than a century of mining activity, dating back to 1901, when production first began along the Iron Range. The Fayal Pond Trail System will delight and refresh the weary traveler. It’s the perfect spot to stretch your legs and enjoy a picnic with its three-tier lit fountain and floating bridge. Nearby, you’ll find Veteran’s Park, with a campground and public beach. Eveleth is also home to the Range Recreation Civic Center, the area’s newest state-of-the-art curling club and host to a variety of banquets, conventions and recreational activities. The Iron Range Tourism Bureau, our region’s tourism leaders, are also headquartered along Hwy 53 in Eveleth.
Gilbert is home to Minnesota’s first designated state recreation area for off-highway vehicles and ATVs. The park features more than 1,200 acres of recreation trails, scramble areas, training and special events and facilities for use by off-road motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, and 4×4 Jeeps and trucks. The Sherwood Forest Campground has an ATV and motorcycle trail that leads directly to the ATV/OHV Recreation Area. The campground, situated on Lake Ore-Be-Gone offers hookups, dump station, showers, indoor facilities, firewood, boat launch and swimming beach. And don’t forget to celebrate the Fourth of July in Gilbert, which kicks off on the 3rd of July, annually, with a phenomenal parade.
For more information about travel and tourism in northeastern Minnesota, including lodging and recreation info, please contact the Iron Range Tourism Bureau at 800-777-8497 or visit them online at ironrange.org.