As I mentioned earlier, we started this trip out by staying at Bear Head Lake State Park which is about a half hour drive from the attractions in Ely. We were impressed with their newer shower facilities and with the camping cabins they have available, not to mention access to the lake and docks to tie up your boats on one side of the campground. The sites themselves were nice also, but a bit on the small side. There are only a few that would fit an RV bigger than 30 feet - 39, 43, 49, 55, 56 and 65 would be our recommendation. We stayed in site 28 and had a heck of a time getting into it since the problem isn't always the site length but trying to get into it without taking out your neighbors trees across the road! The "loops" are narrow and cutting in a big 'un like ours was difficult work.
There isn't much in the way of bike trails in the area, but we made use of what we could. The road leading into the park is very long, curvy, and there is absolutely no shoulder so we didn't feel comfortable riding on it. There is a short trail to Cub Lake near the ranger station that provides access to the Taconite Trail, but the Taconite Trail was very overgrown and seems to be used mostly for snowmobiles.
Otherwise the trails in the park are for foot traffic only. I hiked out to Norberg Lake one day, taking the trail all the way around. If you hike at Bear Head Lake bring your mosquito repellant! Every time I broke stride they attacked. On another day I hiked the Becky Lake and Blueberry Lake trails. There are some beautiful backcountry campsites out here, especially the ones on Blueberry Lake if you don't mind the extra effort and lack of amenities. All the hiking trails in the park have varied terrain, including sections that are very rocky and slow going, so be prepared with sturdy shoes and allow a little extra time.
Out of all the trails, Blueberry Lake was by far my favorite, and I spent some time hanging out with a chatty squirrel who was probably stashing nuts under a rock and worried that I was a thief.
I also saw fresh sign of beaver on Blueberry Lake. Someone was busy working on this very large tree, anyway!
We got out in the kayak 3 out of the 4 days we were staying at the park. Up this way we were the only kayakers, everyone else is in a canoe or a fishing boat. We just like an hour paddle or so to see if we can spot some wildlife. We saw some deer, a few juvenille grouse crossing the road, a few bluejays and some clever chipmunks over by the dumpsters. As for wild bears...I did not see a single marked tree or scat on the trail. There were some loons and mergansers on the lake, but I'll talk about them tomorrow!