Guided public tours of Soudan Underground Mine, the state’s first iron ore mine, will resume for the 2017 season on Memorial Day weekend. Tours will be offered from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, May 27 through Sept. 30, and on weekends only until Oct. 22 at Lake Vermillion – Soudan Underground Mine State Park near Tower.
Underground mine tours take visitors a half-mile down into the mine shaft in a hoisted “cage” and then for a three-quarter-mile train ride into the last and deepest area mined. Mine interpreters share information about the unique, high-quality iron formation and its contribution to the industrialization of the United States and the generations of people who worked in the mine from 1884 to 1962.
“About 32,000 people take the underground mine tour each year, and it’s an experience you won’t find anywhere else in Minnesota,” said mine interpreter James Pointer.
Guided tours are $12 for adults and $7 for children age 5-12. There is no cost for children under age 5. Hard hats are required and provided for underground tours, and visitors are encouraged to check the park Web page for suggestions about recommended footwear and clothing (it can be chillier than expected in the mine, because the temperature is 51 degrees Fahrenheit year-round).
Visitors also can take a free, self-guided tour of the historic mining buildings that are above ground.
For information about tours and reservations, visit www.mndnr.gov, email the DNR Information Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday.