Another entry-point paddling loop to our clear-blue mine lakes in the Cuyuna Country State Recreation is the Portsmouth Mine Lake Loop. This route is a total of 2.6 miles from start to finish.
Starting at the public water access north of the City of Ironton on County Highway 30, you can take the walkway down to the water’s edge from the parking lot—a very simple and easy access.
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 gorgeous Portsmouth mine lake. Rather than heading right down the middle of the mine lakes, stay near the edge where you can see the visually stunning former open-pit-mine drop-off underwater world.
With a 50-foot water clarity, standing up on a paddleboard allows you to see underwater forests, dark blue drop-offs, fish, fish, and more fish. Optically, this will be an adventure on water this is unlike anything you’ve experienced on a natural Minnesota lake.
And before you head out, make sure you watch this short video on the Manhigh II space project that launched out of the Portsmouth Mine during its era of active open-pit mining. As you are paddling the surface, know that 300+ below you is where this pre-curser to NASA was launched.
Early morning and early evening generally provide the calmest water and potentially, the most gorgeous light.
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.