Bring a compass to test the rock.
A Magnetic Rock hike is one of those hikes you’ll always be glad you made the trip for.
Where is it?
This one is a bit of a haul. Forty five miles up the Gunflint Trail (County Road 12). Just beyond the Kekekabic Trail head.
Hiking Magnetic Rock
What makes the hike to Magnetic Rock spectacular is you find yourself constantly thinking “am I still in Minnesota?!”
The start of the trail for Magnetic Rock also shares the start of the Border Route Trail, a 65-mile long hiking trail that crosses the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) in the far northeast corner of Minnesota (Arrowhead) and follows the international border between Minnesota and Ontario, Canada. It was the first long-distance, wilderness backpacking and hiking trail in Minnesota planned and constructed by volunteers.
The route to Magnetic Rock is much less than the 65 mile border route, checking in at 1.5 miles to the rock.
The rock dimensions are about 10′ x 20′ x 30′ and looks like a beautiful, natural monument to the history of the area.
The colors of the rock bands within are spectacular. If you hold a compass close to it, step away and check for North again you’ll be able to detect the affect of the magnetic pull of the rock.
Much of the hike is fairly easy to moderate over bedrock and a moderate elevation gain. Because it’s in a burn area, at times it can be challenging to discern where the trail is however there are clusters of cairns to guide the way.
The area goes through a burn area. You’ll get to see how the forest renews itself after a fire. Personally, I find amazing beauty seeing the cycle and how life continues after such destruction.
The area has been through a few fires including a burn in 1974 and the 2007 Ham Lake fire.
You should know
This is a very different hike than others you will experience in the region. Because of the burns you see things you wouldn’t normally see. This isn’t a hike through the woods, you get to experience much more of the hills in the area and see more landscape than normal.