A relatively easy hike and a must-do adventure for hikers on the Gunflint Trail! Not only is the scenery and aptly named “Magnetic Rock” at the end worth the hike alone, but during July and August, the blueberries are also numerous all along this trail.
The trailhead can be found approximately 45 miles up the Gunflint Trail, from Grand Marais, or about 22 miles from Golden Eagle Lodge. Located on the right-hand side of the Gunflint Trail while heading north, the trailhead offers parking for numerous vehicles. Be sure to bring plenty of water with you on this hike as there is a lot of exposed rock and thus reflective heat during the summer months. Don’t get dehydrated!
The trail starts out through the forest and along a small stream and bog. Slowing rising in elevation, you work your way up onto exposed ledge rock. The Ham Lake Fire burned this area over back in 2007 and although a lot of vegetation has come back, the effects of the fire are still visible. The terrain is beautiful back there as you travers though newly regenerated Jack Pine forests and along exposed rock ledges.
Once you reach the 60-foot-tall Magnetic Rock, test its magnetic properties by approaching it with a compass and watch your needle spin! Magnetic Rock also contains enough iron within it that a decently strong magnet will stick to the rock’s surface. Magnetite is one of the more prominent minerals within the rock and is the main reason for the rock’s magnetic field.
Round trip, this hike is about 3 miles – 1.5 miles out and 1.5 miles back. Being that the hike slowly rises in elevation on your way to the rock, more often than not, your hike back is several minutes faster than your hike in.