If you are looking for a longer adventure loop on Cuyuna Country State Recreation’s clear blue mine lakes, look into our Pennington + Mahnomen No. 1 + Louise + Mahnomen No. 2 + Mahnomen No. 3 + Alstead Mine Lake Loop. This route is a total of 7.4 miles from start to finish, and covers the surface area of five previous open-pit mines, now mine lakes.

Starting at the Miner’s Mountain Rally Center, just north of the City of Ironton, you can take the walkway down to the water’s edge of Pennington Mine Lake from the parking lot—a very simple and easy access. Keep in mind, this is a public boat landing, so the DNR encourages no swimming by or near the boat landing dock.

Before getting into the water, please read and review all of the safety guidelines the State of Minnesota has provided for paddleboarding, kayaking, and canoeing (links are below).

Please also note these are mine lakes, which were prior open-pit mines. The drop-off edges are severe, and they descend from shallow to hundreds of feet deep in a very short distance from the shoreline.

Once you are up to speed on the safety guidelines and rules, please follow them accordingly, and then set out into a gorgeous five-mine-lake tour. Rather than heading right down the middle of the mine lakes, stay near the edge where you can see the visually stunning the former open-pit mine drop-off and underwater world.

With a 50-foot water clarity, standing up on a paddleboard allows you to see underwater forests, dark blue drop-offs, fish, and supposedly, even the Cuyuna fountain of youth? Optically, this will be an adventure on water that is unlike anything you’ve experienced on a natural Minnesota lake. And—considering the variety and amount of lakes you will paddle across—this also holds the most amount of possible visual “wow” for your hard work on the water.

Also, when you are paddling over Mahnomen Mine Lake No. 1, please know you are adventuring on the deepest inland lake in the State of Minnesota, measuring down to 525 feet deep. Wowza.

Early morning and early evening generally provide the calmest water and potentially, the most gorgeous light.

If you’d prefer to keep your route to a half loop, simply paddle back to the boat landing after you reach the rusted-metal archway bridge separating the Pennington and Mahnomen No. 1 mine lakes.

Enjoy, be safe, and be amazed by our clear blue water. Minnesota may have well over 10,000 lakes, but Cuyuna’s are the clearest.

Please read the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Paddleboard Paddling Safety Tips before recreating on the water
Please read the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Canoe and Kayak Paddling Safety Tips before recreatingon the water.