Itasca County Highpoint Trip Report

one area on Big Thunder Peak (spot elevation 1,752 ft)

Date: May 16, 2004
Author: Bob Schwab

From the center of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, drive south on US 169 for 7.5 miles to CR 17. Turn right and continue west on CR17 for 2.25 miles to CR 449. Turn left and continue west another 1.2 miles on CR 449 to Shingle Mill Road. Turn left and follow this dirt road in a southwesterly direction for another 2.6 miles to an ATV trail/road that heads north into the woods (not posted). Park here along the road and hike up the ATV trail. After a very short distance, the trail bends sharply to the left and goes up a bank, but you should take the trail that goes to your right and seems to head more directly north. The left fork is the trail shown on the topo but you definitely want the right fork here. As you approach an obvious ridge, the trail splits again but this time you want the left fork which ascends the ridge to some logging activity on the ridge top. Once you top out, the trail bends sharply right and runs east along the ridge. This is not the ridge you want, so continue north by bushwhacking down into a ravine and up the other side (always heading north). At the top of the second ridge, find an animal path that heads east to open fields on the north side of the highpoint ridge.

Apparently this used to be a ski area years ago and there's an old ski tow support on an obvious grassy knoll near the top. I believe the highest ground in just into the woods to the east, near some birch trees. The views north are quite nice. Check for ticks when you return to your car.