Mines and Pines Tours

A Sample Itinerary for the Iron Trail, Duluth & Grand Rapids

The Iron Trail region is located only one hour from Duluth or Grand Rapids. Both Grand Rapids and the Iron Trail are only three hours from the Twin Cities.This is presented as an exciting circle tour of northern Minnesota. The Lakes, Pines and Mines Tour will highlight our state’s unique heritage through a wide variety of one-of-a-kind attractions, magnificent sightseeing and unsurpassed service to you and your passengers. Included in the tour are Duluth and Lake Superior – the largest freshwater lake in the world, Grand Rapids’ beautiful pristine forests and Mississippi River and the Iron Trail’s rich history of the world’s largest iron ore mines, heritage sites, and popular festivals and events.

Costumed, step-on guides are available to narrate your tour for your group’s convenience.

The tour begins and ends in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul). We will custom fit this tour to accommodate your schedule, length of stay, your departing city and destination.

DAY 1
Arrive in Grand Rapids.

Tour Old Central School, “A Unique Marketplace”; recapture the spirit of your youth at Central School, a turn of the century schoolhouse, which has been transformed into a unique marketplace, the Itasca County Historical Society. Tour Time: 2 hours

Visit the Judy Garland & Wizard of Oz Exhibit. Hands-on museum offers family fun for all ages. Explore different sounds in the music room, create artwork, and view rare collection of original artifacts from the world’s most beloved film, the Wizard of Oz. Tour Time: 1.5 hours

Themed Dinner at the Sawmill Inn; overnight lodging accommodations in Grand Rapids.

DAY 2
Tour the
Forest History Center. A living history 1900 logging camp with costumed interpreters in character. Minnesota’s only authentically recreated logging camp. Visit the Interpretive Center, River Wanigan (a floating cookshack), walk the nature trails and climb the 100-foot high Fire Tower. Tour Time: 2 hours

City Tour of Grand Rapids. Tour the University of Minnesota Experiment Station. One of six in the nation – special tours include areas of horticulture, wild rice, beef/forage and small grains. Tour Time: 1 hour

Tour Hill Annex Mine State Park – Plan a special fossil hunt or take a pontoon boat ride at the world’s largest open pit mine open for tours. Discover the history of mining on the Iron Range, view vintage machinery and scenic overlooks, or go on a fossil hunt. Tour Time: 1.5 hours (1 more with pontoon ride).

Travel to The Iron Trail region.

Tour the Greyhound Bus Origin Center in Hibbing. Imagine being a driver of an over-sized bus as you step inside the world of the Greyhound Bus. This fascinating museum takes you on a journey through time as you watch how a 1914 hupmobile grew into one of the largest bus companies in America. Tour Time: 1 hour

Tour Soudan Underground Mine State Park in Soudan. Explore the realms of Minnesota’s first underground mine as a caged elevator lowers you 2,400 feet into the depths of the mine. An electric train brings you to the last and deepest area mined. (Bring along a sweater or sweatshirt for the amazing underground tour as the temperature below ground is a constant 52 degrees.) Tour Time: 2 hours (with above ground tour)

Tour the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in Eveleth. See the struggles and glories of enshrined hockey players who worked hard to capture their dreams. Sit on the sidelines as you re-live the 1980 gold Olympics, and women’s gold Olympics by film. Tour Time: 1 hour

Visit Mineview in the Sky in Virginia. Imagine having a panoramic view of the area with the focus being an open pit nearly three miles long, a half-mile long and 450 feet deep. Then, look up for a glimpse of the biggest truck in the area, a 240-ton mining truck towering 21 feet 10 inches. Tour time: 20-30 minutes

Theme dinner at one of the Iron Trail’s great ethnic restaurants.  Overnight accommodations at an Iron Trail hotel with deluxe accommodations and amenities available.

DAY 3
Tour Minnesota Museum of Mining in Chisholm. Walk through castle-like walls into the past and experience life in the mining era by touring replicas of an underground mine and mining town. Become a miner, as you climb aboard mining equipment the size of an elephant or become the operator of one the fastest steam shovels ever made. Tour time: 1 hour

City Tour of Hibbing with drive by Bob Dylan’s childhood home or visit Hull Rust Mahoning Mine View. View the largest open pit iron ore mine in the world, ranging more than three miles long and 535 feet deep. Production trucks from 170 to 240 ton production trucks can be seen in action at this National Historic Site. Tour time: 20-30 minutes

Visit Ironworld Discovery Center and enjoy lunch of pasties in a pail and a scenic trolley ride. Ironworld is a special place where you can experience first-hand the area’s ethnic heritage through the exciting park atmosphere and on-going special events. Arts, crafts, music festivals and costumed living history showcase the Iron Range’s rich cultural, ethnic and mining history.

A trolley ride at Ironworld will let you experience a magnificent view of glen open pit iron mine, and bring you to an exciting adventure. Smell the home cooking from a re-creation of a typical miners home. Music and stories will float through the air, as you savor an old-fashioned lunch – “Pasties in a Pail” like the miners used to eat. Tour Time: 3 hours with lunch.

Travel to Duluth by the Superior National Forest Scenic Byway and along the North Shore.

Tour Great Lakes Aquarium. Unveils the secrets and wonder of Lake Superior. Dive in to America’s only all-freshwater aquarium! Discover what’s in and under Lake Superior through 70 species of fish and exhibits from the Great Lakes and other freshwater lakes and rivers of the world. Great Lakes Aquarium is much more than an aquarium – there’s art, history, culture and commerce, all as they relate to freshwater. Tour Time: 1½ hours

Dinner Cruise on the Vista Star.

Omnimax® Theatre. A premier multimedia experience with the audience becoming completely involved in the picture on the dome screen. The 3-story screen surrounds the audience and creates the illusion of actually being there! Show Length: 1 hour

Stay overnight in Duluth area hotel.

DAY 4
Tour Glensheen Mansion. As seen on the A&E television network’s “American Castles”, Glensheen Historic Estate is one of Duluth’s leading attractions. Built in 1908 by Chester Congdon, the 39-room Jacobean mansion, complete with original furnishings and located along Lake Superior’s shoreline, captures the essence of old world Duluth. Tour Time: 2 hours

North Shore Adventure
North Shore Scenic Railroad – train ride along the shores of Lake Superior. Ride the Romance and experience the Golden Age of Railroading. All Aboard! For an exciting and memorable excursion along Lake Superior’s North Shore. Your train pulls out of the historic Union Depot, rumbles through the city, along the rugged shoreline of Lake superior and deep into the majestic North woods. The railroad is operated by the Lake Superior Railroad Museum and has a great assembly of historic equipments to experience. Tour Time: various excursions

Tour Split Rock Lighthouse. The lighthouse was built atop a 130-foot cliff in 1910. Tour the lighthouse, fog signal building and keeper’s home. The views are breathtaking. Tour time: 1-2 hours

Tour Gooseberry Falls State Park, which stretches along the rocky shore of Lake Superior. The Gooseberry River enters the park at a height of 240 feet and falls over two spectacular waterfalls on its way to Lake Superior. Tour Time: 1 hour

OR

City Tour of Duluth
Tour Depot Museum. The St. Louis County Heritage & Arts Center, listed on the National Register of Historic places, features four distinct museums. Set in “Depot Square”, 22 storefronts depict 1910 downtown Duluth. Enjoy the Lake Superior Railroad Museum, one of the Midwest’s largest train collections. Explore world cultures in the Duluth Children’s Museum and connect with the past of Northeastern Minnesota in the St. Louis County Historical Society Galleries. Tour Time: 1½ hours

Depart Duluth for Twin Cities.

Group Tour Assistance:
Iron Trail Convention and Visitors Bureau
Jaimie Niska

403 North 1st Street
Virginia, MN 55792
800-777-8497 or 218-749-8161
email: jaimie@irontrail.org