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Scenic views on the Iron Range
Last week on my WCCO blog, I wrote about visiting Hill Annex Mine State Park, which is a beautiful and fascinating place to visit. As it turns out, it's just one of the many mine-related scenic spots on the Iron Range. I didn't get to all of the overlook sites while I was there, but here's a brief overview of the ones I did get to see.
Mineview in the Sky, just east of Virginia, has a visitor's center (free) and gift shop and this large truck to give you some perspective of the scale involved in mining. It also offers this:
So often I've heard to these bodies of water referred to as "pit lakes", which makes them sound ugly, but clearly they aren't.
Another site that has a visitor's center (also free) and gift shop is Hull Rust Mahoning Mine View. This is just down the road from the Greyhound Bus Museum, and gives you a bird's eye view of an actual working mine.
This is the largest operating open pit mine in the world. I tried to get photos of the trucks moving through, but seriously, they're so small that they disappear by the time I load them onto the blog.
And those are big trucks, remember.
This is a park adjacent to the visitor's center. It's great for kids--they can climb into the truck's cab, and there are other machinery they can explore hands-on.
Even working in the visitor's center can have an element of danger. Here's a rock that came through the center's roof after an explosion a few years ago.
These are the more elaborate overlooks. Others are smaller in scale.
This is the Wacootah Overlook, just north of Mountain Iron. No visitor's center, just a grassy plaza and a gorgeous view.
In the center of the photo, you can see just a hint of the mining and a pit lake. It's amazing to me how nature just takes over again.
West of Eveleth is the Leonidas Overlook.
You can see for miles and miles. It's stunning.
I should note that if you visit any of the sites that have visitor's centers, do them a favor and sign the guestbook. They're not asking for your address, phone number or email--in other words, they're not going to contact you. They simply need a record of visitors in order to get the funding necessary to keep these places open for visitors. Help them out and give them your John Hancock.