Come along on an incredible adventure with your canine companion, a hike to the Magnetic Rock, an amazing, towering, magical destination. It is about a 3-hour drive from Duluth to get to the trail head off the Gunflint Road. If you love a hike with a destination, this one is for you!
Farrah, my 6-year-old yellow lab, was my hiking partner!
The first thing I do, before heading out on the trail with Farrah, is to research. Information to gather include the length, difficultly, and especially how busy the trail tends to be when hiking with a dog. In this case, there are two trails that lead to the Magnetic Rock. One entrance is to take a right on the Narrows Road off the Gunflint Road. This entrance leads to a 4-mile trek round trip. It is much less travelled than the Magnetic Trail Entrance. Most of the trail follows along a ridge with stunning views of the Boundary Waters and vistas of Gunflint and Magnetic Lake. There are parts however, that have tall brush and are rocky making hiking boots a must. To find the second trail head, the Magnetic Rock Trail, travel 1.5 miles past the Narrows Road on the Gunflint Trail. You will see a parking lot on the right and signs clearly marking for the Magnetic Rock Trail. This hike is about 3 miles round trip with great visits and moose viewing opportunities. This hike is much more used and easier to hike. I choose the longer, less traveled route off the Narrows Road as I will be hiking with my dog.
Next, I pack! When hiking with Farrah there are a few things I always put in my pack. Here is a list of dog-related items that I always bring.
-Foldable Canvas Water Bowl from Frost River
-30-Foot-Long Lead for Exploring
-A Shorter Weiss Walkie Leash for Control
-Citronella Spray (Other Dog Deterrent)
- Water for Us Both
As soon as I started packing my backpack in the morning, Farrah got all wiggly and excited. She knew it was a sure thing when I packed her leashes in my pack.
Farrah and I hit the road! This is a full day adventure from Duluth but so worth it! Farrah did not stop watching out the windows the whole ride up Hwy 61 to Grand Marias. We stopped at Grand Marias to pick up a compass, we could not go without it. (We heard the Magnetic Rock makes your compass spin!). To our surprise, there happened to be the Fisherman’s Parade down Grand Marias main street! It was just magical! Farrah and I watched the small-town parade. She made lots of friends and saw so many other north shore pups!
We then made the 45-minute drive up the Gunflint to the trail head. Turn right on Narrows Road. At first, we were stunned that we drove through a large gravel pit site, but once past this you head up a couple miles on a single lane dirt road. The trail head was a small parking area with a sign that reads Magnetic Rock. There was a dog water bowl under the sign! We knew we picked the right dog friendly trail. The trail is the Western part of the Border Route Trail, part of the North Country National Scenic Trail System. Farrah was full of excitement as soon as we parked! I was excited too as we were the only car there, and I knew the trail would be empty.
Off we went! This is not a trail you want to keep your head down. There are stunning views as most of the trail runs along a ridge. You will see gorgeous peeks of Gunflint Lake and Magnetic Lake. Also, there are large drop offs with long views to Canada. Farrah loved these open easy parts of the trail and even stopped to take in the views herself. The first part of trail is easy with wider trails. “You will see past disturbances: 1999 blowdown, 2002 prescribed burn, and 2007 Ham Lake wildfire.” The second half of the trails is through thicker woods, tall ferns and rocky. Here you will want to keep an eye on the trail as it is a little trickier. I had ferns and foliage up to my chest for a quarter of the trail. I could barely see Farrah on the trail, just the movement of the brush. The trail is clearly marked with blue slashes of paint, and someone spent the time at every turn to build a rock balance sculpture, After about hour and twenty minutes, the trail started opening and viola, there it was - he Magnetic Rock!
Farrah and I picked the right trail as we did not run into one other person or animal on the path.
What a sight! “The Magnetic rock is a 60-foot rock with strong magnetic attraction. Bring your compass and test the magnetism.” It literally looks like it was dropped out of the sky! It is towers in the sky! What is so odd is it is the only rock like it in the area! Just this tall singular stone spire. In my pack, a had brought two magnetics. They stuck strongly to the side of the rock. Next, I took out the compass. As you walk toward the rock you will see the needle begin to spin. I accidentally dropped the magnetic, and the gravel and dirt around the rock clung to it as well. Both Farrah and I stopped for a drink and took in the sight. It was worth the trek!
The way back only took us about 50 minutes. There was rumbling in the distance sky over Canada, so we did double time. About ¾ of the way back to the car, we ran into another yellow lab alone on the trail. His owner was up the trail a bit picking berry. We could hear the clank of metal berry buckets down the path. I forgot to mention, it was a BLUEBERRY BONANZA! The trails were literally lined with Blueberry bushes just ready to be picked!
Farrah happily greeted the other friendly pup on the way. When we reached the car, I filled up the metal dog bowl under the trail sign with cool water. Farrah had a big drink and treat. We made one quick pit stop on way down the Gunflint Road at the public landing at Gunflint Lake! It was an incredible sight, and Farrah got to cool off in the lake. We then headed down the Gunflint hoping for a Moose sighting. Farrah was one tuckered out pooch and slept the whole way home to Duluth. It was a FULL day’s adventure.
Hi Ya! I am Kirstin Baumgarten. Ten years ago, I decide to devote my life to caring for animals! I am the owner of Twin Ports Pet Sitter, caring for local pets in the Northland, Minnesota Nice Dog Co, designing fun, sassy Duluth, North Shore themed tees and other items and contributor with DogApproved.biz, sharing dog friendly places and events. Remember: You never hike alone when you have your pup with you!