Lake County Highpoint Trip Report

Stony Tower Hill (2,080 ft)

Date: July 24, 2007
Author: Dave Covill

There are two fine trip reports posted on, by Mike Schwartz in October 2001, and Richard Carey in June 2001. Both will get you there, although I was off a fair bit from their mileages, costing me a half hour walk on an old logging trace.

Mike notes to drive to mile 2.3, and Richard says to go to mile 2.6. I ended up finally finding the right spot, at mile 2.8. I checked this both in-bound and out-bound.

I will post my mileages here, such that someone might use them to more easily get to the right spot to stop the car.

First, I drove all the way here in 2WD, although I admit I have a mid-size SUV and it was fairly dry, although there was one spot, probably the one noted by Richard, with a bit of mud but I splashed through it easily. I would say a Subaru could make it in decent weather. I might not take a 2WD car all the way here and might walk the last mile of it on foot.

Second, it's only about 400 feet uphill to the top and, I agree, no witness markers. The path has been overgrown a bit in the years since 2001 and there are a couple of dead trees down across it as well, somewhat obscuring what was once probably a nice path.

There is a small marker set by someone named Brian Back, with a blue sign, noting the CoHP. I did see the typical Richard Carey register but the paper in the glass jar was damp and difficult to write on. Jobe Wymore and others had signed it. I left a small cairn at what seemed to be the high spot but it's probably all been disturbed for 20 feet around there. Only a few concrete footings denote the former presence of a tower.

From MN 1, go 39 miles southeast from Ely, or 23.1 miles northwest from Illgen City near Lutsen at the junction with MN 61, the main road along Lake Superior. Arrive at what is called Isabella Station, near a ranger station. About a half mile west of the ranger station, find FR 103 going southwest away from the road, at a blind curve. Use caution entering and exiting the somewhat high speed highway here. Richard mentions this is near Mile Marker 223, it is actually just east of MM 323, which confused me greatly. This road is certainly not 323 miles long as measured from the west end at the ND state line I don't think, so I have no idea what the MM's are doing being denoted so high but they all were 300+ coming from Ely and going down to Lake Superior. Strange. Maybe it winds and twists enough to actually be that long, I can't say.

Reset Odometer to zero and leave Highway 1. At mile 0.6 is a new road or clearing on the left (south) side. At 1.5 is a swamp on the left (south). At 1.8 is a junction to the left, stay right on the main road. At 2.5 is another junction to the left, again stay right on the main road. At 2.6 is a slight crest in the road (clearly visible on the topo), followed by a damp spot which could be muddy with rain. At 2.8 reach the slightly higher ground at the foot of an overgrown path angling slightly east of due north, to the HP. Park here, getting off the road up the path a bit in case somebody comes by (unlikely but possible).

I initially followed the mileages in the other trip reports and wandered up an old logging trace just barely visible on the topo as a single dashed line at mile 2.6. This was soon deemed not the path to righteousness and I continued on to mile 2.8 and the real path. I walked up in about 3 minutes from the car, sweating profusely in the humidity.

topo chart