Small towns have one thing in common, there is always something fun to do if you know where to look. The town of Orr MN is the gateway to Voyageurs National Park and much of the prime fishing spots in Northern Minnesota.
I had the pleasure of spending a week up there and I’d go back again in a heartbeat.
10 Things to do near Orr MN
Vince Shute Bear Sanctuary
One of the most interesting sanctuaries you’ll ever come across. The Vince Shute Bear Sanctuary was created as one man’s way of trying to get the bears to stop raiding his cabin.
Now every evening, visitors can see these wild black bears up close. You will never forget this experience.
Take a short hike to Vermillion Falls. You can either park near the bridge off of 491, and take a 10-minute hike along the river to reach the falls or drive a little further and park near the picnic area.
They have a well-traveled path that goes right to the falls. During peak summer bugs, I recommend using this path. Away from the falls, we found a lot of biting horseflies.
Driving down Hwy 23 you’ll pass lakes on either side. Myrtle Lake, Echo Lake, and Crane Lake that borders Canada are some of the top fishing spots in the area. Pelican Lake is the biggest of the bunch in the town of Orr.
There is public access to all of the lakes, but if you can also pay to use the access at different resorts. We utilized one at the resort at the Myrtle Lake Resort and they even backed the boat in for us.
Get dirty and start exploring on an ATV. There are tons of trails to take advantage of. ATVs are available for rent at a few different locations along Hwy 23.
Voyagers National Park
Nothing is more fun than completely disconnecting on a canoe trip. Orr is a short drive from Voyagers National Park.
If you do not want to canoe, you can also take a guided tour of the lake and visit things like Hiking and Fishing. Outfitters like Voyagers Outfitters offer sunset cruises and full-day trips out on the water.
Orr Bog Walk
For a nice easy walk venture into the Bog around Pelican Lake. The trailhead is located at the Orr Visitors Center. It’s a half-mile long view of the wetlands that anyone can do.
Aside from normal wildlife and plants, be on the lookout for the carnivorous pitcher plant.
Take a Mine Tour
After spending a day in this region, you will start to realize how important mining is to the area. Why not see how they operate. There are two different mine tours you can take, the Soudan Underground Mine Tour and the Hill Annex Mine Tour.
The Hill Annex Mine is an open-pit tour. There is also fossil hunting in the area. The Soudan Underground Mine Tour takes visitors a half-mile underground. Both are great to check out.
Hockey Hall of Fame
Stop into the Hokey Hall of Fame on your way up north or your way back. It is 1.5 hours south and right off highway 53 in Elsveth MN.
They have memorabilia that any hockey fan would love. If you are already in the area, stop into town and see the World Largest Hockey Stick. It a 10-minute detour but it’s a great tribute to hokey in Minnesota.
The Laurentian Divide
More of a fun roadside stop; the Laurentian Divide is the point where all water in the northern slope flows North to Canada. While the streams south of the divide flow to superior and the Gulf of Mexico.
The divide is located at multiple points in the state and country, but this is a great place to stretch your legs. There is also a hiking trail to Lookout Mountain. The sign is in Virginia MN.
Where to stay
There are tons of great resorts up in Orr MN. Camping is a favorite. There is a nice campground off Myrtle Lake and of course, you can always stay in Voyagers National Park.
Another option is to stay at one of the resorts. Nelsons Resort is a great resort with all the amenities.
If you are looking for a glamping experience, try a VRBO. I had the pleasure of renting out the Facowie Lodge. It included lake views with a campfire.
Private rooms with all the amenities. It was easy to find right off the highway. But at the same time secluded that you couldn’t hear the road at all.
Enjoying the best parts of Orr Minnesota
Be prepared to unplug
In a world where there is always an internet signal, this took me off guard. No judgments here. But in this part of MN, the only place your phone and GPS will get a signal is next to highway 53.
It ended up being nice but took a little bit of time to get used to, especially when you rely on your GPS to navigate to most things.
Keep an open mind
With the environment on a lot of people’s minds, there is tons of controversy about mining. It’s no secret I love to be outdoors and have a huge affinity for all of our lakes and forest.
I want them to be around for many years to come. With a lot of controversy over the Mining operations near the BWCA I was opposed to mining.
Even during short trips up north, I scoffed at the signs posted supporting the mires. But after spending a week up there and talking with more residents, I understood exactly why it’s so important to them.
I also noticed how they have been mining in the area for hundreds of years and the waters are still clear and the forest plentiful. Wildlife is thriving. Next time you see a news story that makes your blood boil, investigate and look at both sides of the story.
Keep your eyes open at all times.
Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. Bears, Wolves, Deer, Eagles, porcupines, and snakes were just some of what we saw when driving around this part of the state.
The bear we spotted on the road first, and then again, when we were fishing, it decided to go for a swim. It was a fun treat.
If you aren’t on the lookout, you’ll probably never notice them. I was on this trip with my Father In Law and he’d been up to the area dozens of times before and never seen half the things we saw before.
My Favorite Thing To Do Near Orr MN
With all the fun things to do in Orr MN, it’s hard to say leave. It may not be long before you start searching for your own cabin to retire.
Planning on a return to trip to enjoy some of the great snowshoeing and ice fishing to take advantage of. Either way, they have something for everyone to enjoy.