For access to the Mesabi TrailSM, travel on Highway 169 north of Virginia to Soudan, or State Highway 1 west from Ely.
On the Trail, three miles east of Tower is the town of Soudan, population 650. Originally, Soudan was a settlement for miners after a hard day's work. Today it still retains much of that history and highlights its beautiful natural surroundings. Located on the shores of Lake Vermilion, the area offers excellent fishing and other water activities.
One of Soudan's most popular attractions is the Soudan Underground Mine State Park. It was the first mine to produce iron ore in the area. Visitors can go underground on a guided tour and afterwards can enjoy themselves in the beautiful park. In February, Soudan and Tower celebrate Long John Days, a festival for people who refuse to let winter stop them from enjoying the outdoors. There are vendors, tournaments and family fun for everyone. A Wild Rice Festival during Labor Day weekend attracts many visitors, complete with crafts and entertainment. Soudan also holds a 4th of July celebration.
Soudan has limited services. A general purpose store where groceries, gas, and other supplies are available. The nearby city of Tower has most other services.