Getting to YMCA Camp Northern Lights

Just 4 hours from Minneapolis, YMCA Camp Northern Lights is located on the eastern end of Bear Island Lake near the entrance of the Bear Island River. The Resort is located on 30 acres within the Superior National Forest and we have over 2,500 feet of shoreline. Bear Island Lake is 10 miles Southwest of Ely or 5 miles from Babbitt on County Highway 21.

Directions from 35W North (bypassing Duluth):

  • travel to Highway 33--the Cloquet exit;
  • travel Interstate 53 to/thru Eveleth and Virginia;
  • take Highway 169 North to Tower/Ely (not the Hibbing Exit);
  • travel 169 into Ely, at the traffic light (Central Avenue) turn right;
  • Central Avenue becomes Highway 21 outside of town.

Camp is located approximately 10 miles Southwest of Ely. Our camp sign and driveway will be on your right hand side. The driveway to camp is just under a mile long and winds and rolls through the woods. Please observe our posted speed limit of 10mph!

Follow the driveway all the way in--the camp office is the first building you will arrive upon. Once you arrive, please check in at the office.

The directions above are the most direct (easiest) however, there is a short cut which can reduce your travel time by approximately a half hour. Our Short Cut Directions:

  • once on Highway 169, take a right hand turn onto Highway 21 (immediately after the Silverado Saloon);
  • at the stop sign (Four Corners Gas Station), go straight;
  • travel through Embarrass;
  • travel through Benville;
  • as you see the Welcome to Babbitt sign and the Babbitt Golf Course (on your right) start to slow down and watch for the LEFT HAND TURN to stay on Highway 21;
  • you missed the turn if you see speed signs for 50MPH and 45MPH!

Once you make the Highway 21 turn, the Resort is approximately 5 miles down the road. Our driveway will be on your LEFT now BEFORE our camp sign.

Navigating With Your GPS

Please note that your GPS may not be 100% accurate as you near our location. While your GPS will certainly bring you here, it has been our experience that it may not always take the most direct route. Compare your GPS directions to the directions provided on this page.

Our street address is 9089 Highway 21 North and be sure to input the town/city of Babbitt Minnesota rather than Ely as it tends to be a bit more accurate. Watch for our Highway 21 sign and you can't miss us!