Plan Your Stay

If you’ve never visited the Boundary Waters before, you will soon discover that you are in a very special place here at the “end of the road.”  If you’ve spent time up here before, hopefully your experience here at Tofte Lake Center will be just as unique as the place itself.  We hope that you will be able to take full advantage of the combination of relaxation, work, community, solitude, nature, and activity that TLC has to offer, and come away from your stay both rejuvenated and reenergized.

Getting Here


From Minneapolis/St. Paul to Ely

  • Take 35W or 35 E north, these freeways converge into 35 North

  • Take the exit to Cloquet, HWY 33

  • From HWY 33, merge onto HWY 53 North towards Virginia

  • 4 miles after Virginia, exit on to HWY 169 East towards Ely (not Hibbing!)

  • Stay on HWY 169 into Ely where it turns into Sheridan Street

From Ely to Tofte Lake Center

  • Continue East on Sheridan Street (HWY 169)

  • Tofte Lake Center is located 15 miles from Ely, at 2209 Fernberg Road (Check your odometer as you pass the Dairy Queen)

  • Continue past the International Wolf Center and the town of Winton

  • We are 11 miles further than the Veterans on the Lake (GPS will tell you otherwise)!

  • Just before the Garden Lake Bridge the road name changes to the Fernberg Road (Lake County 18)

  • The entrance to Tofte Lake Center is on the left, 100 yards after the public boat launch


Hibbing Airport

  • Hibbing Airport is an hour and forty-five minute drive from Tofte Lake Center

Duluth Airport

  • Duluth Airport is a 2+ hour drive from Tofte Lake Center

Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport

  • Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport is a 4-5 hour drive from Tofte Lake Center

Ground Transportation

Ely Safe Ride

  • The Ely Safe Ride service provides shuttles locally in the Ely area and between Ely/Duluth and Ely/Minneapolis

groome Shuttle

  • The Groome Shuttle offers 14+ shuttles per day/night between Duluth and the Minneapolis Airport


Arrival and Departure Information


Cabins will be ready by 2:00 p.m. on Monday.  


Please check in at the orange Roadhouse Building upon your arrival. 


We ask that you park your cars by the Roadhouse Building. Please only drive down to the cabins to load and unload your belongings.


Departure time from the cabins is noon on Sunday. As you vacate the cabin, please strip the beds and pillows that have been used and leave towels and linens on the bedroom floor.  Please leave the cabin as you found it. Also, please remove all unused food products and use the garbage/recycling bins provided.

What to Bring

The weather here can go through four seasons in a day. It doesn't hurt to have these things on hand to be prepared and make your stay most comforatble.

  • Indoor shoes or slippers (shoes off in cabins)

  • Layered clothing for temperature changes throughout the day

  • Rain jacket

  • Umbrella

  • Hat (for sun AND bugs!)

  • Water bottle

  • Bug repellant

  • Sunscreen

  • Flashlight

  • Walking or hiking boots

  • Sauna/lake shoes and towel

  • Journal

  • Camera

During Your Stay

Cooking Indoors And Out

Each cabin is equipped with a full kitchen and kitchenware for your cooking and dining pleasure. There are gas grills and a wood burning pizza oven here for your culinary enjoyment!


Wifi calls can be made from the Roadhouse Building.

There is no communal phones at TLC. Cellphone reception exists at various locations along the Fernberg Road as you drive back towards Ely.  The nearest location for some cellphone services is the lookout point at Rookie Pond, about ½ mile west on Fernberg Road towards town.


Bed linens and bath towels are provided for your use. There are no guest laundry services provided at TLC - there are two laundromats in town on Sheridan Street open until 9:00pm.


Pets are only permitted with prior permission, and an added non-refundable cleaning fee of $50 applies.

Internet Access

Wireless Internet access is provided on-site in the Roadhouse Building. In Ely, it is provided at the Public Library free of charge, and at The Front Porch and Northern Grounds Coffee Shops.


Boats, hiking trails, bicycles and 12 acres of forest and lakeshore are available for our artists to enjoy while in residence. Kayaks, rowboats, canoes, paddle boards, sailboat, and bicycles are all on-site, and arrangements can be made for one-day excursions on other lakes in the Boundary Waters as well. 

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW)

Tofte Lake Center is nestled near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Northern Minnesota. The largest wilderness area east of the Rockies, the BWCAW consists of more than one million acres of protected forest and 1,500 waterways. Its clear lakes and green pine forests are unlike any other wilderness in the world. Read more about it on the BWCAW website.

Other Local Activities

Just 15 miles away, the town of Ely features shops, restaurants, bars, coffee shops with internet access, a bowling alley, a golf course, and unique museums.

Learn about the native wildlife in the region at the acclaimed International Wolf Center and The North American Bear Center.

Visit the home of one of Ely’s most well-known and colorful characters, The Rootbeer Lady, at the Dorothy Molter Museum.

Ely boasts a vibrant arts scene, from the visual and literary to the performing arts. For more information about the Arts in Ely, check out the following sites: ARTS in Ely, What’s Up Ely, and ARTS in Ely Directory.