Hubbard County Highpoint Trip Report

two areas - including Thorpe Lookout Tower site (1,840+ feet)

Date: May 4, 2007
Author: Bob Schwab

Back in February, Bill Schuler reported a new high spot on the topo map at the Thorpe Lookout Tower site in the Paul Bunyan State Forest. When I checked the NGS datasheets, I discovered a listed benchmark (BM Mantrap 2 Reset) with a stated elevation of 1841 feet. Since the original highpoint area (also 1,840+ feet) in Hubbard County is fairly small (but rises steeply), this new spot had to be visited and evaluated. Thus, I found myself on the road this weekend revisiting another county I have previously claimed, in search of a newly "discovered" area not originally listed in Andyís book.

Starting from the intersection of US 71 and Route 34 in Park Rapids, travel east on Route 34 for about 5.2 miles to the junction with Route 226. Turn left on Route 226, and drive north for a total of 13.2 miles. You will first pass through the small settlement of Dorset then continue north on County Road 7. The road is paved for roughly 11 miles and switches over to dirt after you bend north for the last time and the road becomes County 91. At the 13.2 mile mark, watch for a brown cabin on your left and a forest sign (Paul Bunyan State Forest) on your right. Turn right onto Steamboat Forest Road and go one 1 mile to Thorpe Tower Forest Road. Some of this area has been logged and the land north of the road is a designated game preserve. Turn south on Thorpe Tower Forest Road (Road 0013) and after 0.7 mile, note the unsigned lane going to your left. Take this lane southeast as it gently rises to the pine-capped summit area. You can drive up to the site but watch for a protruding rock in the middle of the ruts close to the top. The tower is gone and I wasnít able to locate the benchmark but the highest ground appears to be just south of the tower site near some pine trees. This high ground is no more than a foot higher than where I suspect the original benchmark was set, thus future visitors should continue to visit the original (northern) area as well. I snapped a few pictures in the rain, and retreated to my car.

To visit the original (northern) site in this two-area county, return to the intersection of County 91 and Steamboat Forest Road (where the brown cabin is located). Continue north on County 91 for another 1.7 miles. The main road begins to drop down here. There is a lane going off to your left (west), and a pull-off and an open area to your right which is blocked by chunks of wood. Park here and hike east, following several faint animal trails through the brush to the top of the ridge. The highpoint is the second summit to your east, so donít stop at the first high spot you encounter. In fact, you may want to stay to the south of the first area before attaining the ridge and the true highpoint. The brush makes this one less fun to visit than our newly "discovered" area to the south. You be the judge as to which one is higher, but this northern one is definitely steeper.