Mille Lacs County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: May 20, 2008
Author: Roy Wallen

Mille Lacs Kathio State Park (1,370+ ft)
Location (46.13459° N, 93.73857° W) in section 10-42N-27W

From the intersection of US 169 and County 26 at the southeastern edge of Mille Lacs Lake, go south to the park entrance. I stopped at the office and explained the purpose for my visit. This prompted quite a few questions from the rangers and I trying to talk them into a lower entrance fee (or none) for a very short visit. My negotiations were unsuccessful so I paid the $5 day use fee, figuring this was much less than I’ve paid to get to other highpoints. Noting their interest, on the way out I stopped and left my topo sheet with the ranger.

The main park road heads generally west and I soon reached a sign for a horse camp and a road heading south. I turned left and parked and walked back to the sign, heading north into the woods there, along a faint ridge. The ridge line dipped to a woods road which I later learned was a cross-country ski trail. I took the trail left (northwest) to the height of land and then bushwhacked a very short distance northeast to the presumed highpoint. I found a few rocks stacked at what appeared to be the high ground and added a rock to it. There were no views and the walk was very uneventful. I returned the way I went in.

one mile west of border of Morris and Mille Lacs Counties
Location (46.09936° N, 93.78797° W) in section 19-42N-27W

Following Mark Ness’s report, I proceeded north from the intersection of state road 27 and county road 25, south and west west of the entrance to Mille Lacs Kathio State Park. At the southern section line, a road intersects from the left (west) and a grassy pull-off is on the right. This appeared to be an old woods road so I parked there, left my wife in the car to read, and proceeded into the woods.

The road quickly ended and I found myself at the edge of a swampy area that looked like it could be crossed without trouble. This is the swampy section noted on the map and in Mark’s report. It became a bit wet but was passable and I made it to the opposite side with nothing worse than mud up to my ankles. Ascending into woods, I crossed a logging road that mark noted and took it right (roughly east). When it descended and away from the highpoint, I began a straight-line bushwhack toward the highpoint, as Mark did. The woods were fairly open and the bushwhack was not difficult and allowed an easy ascent to a faint ridge where I found the boulders noted in Mark’s report.

From the “summit”, looking south along the ridge, I saw the remains of a hunter’s stand and an open area beyond it. Walking south toward the stand, I found the logging road that led to a large open area to the left (east) with a slacs pile and a return way to the right (west). I followed the woods road out the entire way to a gate and county road 25. The gate was posted against trespassing and appeared quite new. I found myself a few hundred feet north of the car and walked back.

On my return to the car my wife asked if I knew I was trespassing. I said that I saw the sign on the gate where I exited but that was all. She said the owner stopped, having seen her parked there when passing on the county road, and asked what she was doing. She had said she was reading and waiting for me, looking for the county highpoint. The owner said that was private land and I was trespassing. She made some mild threats and my wife apologized, then asked if the owner was willing to give her name so people could ask permission. She said she would not give it and would not grant permission because her insurance did not cover trespassers. My wife again apologized and said we would leave as soon as was back, which we did.

Strictly speaking, the place where I parked is on the border of the Rum River State Forest. It is possible to slog through the swamp and to the highpoint without trespassing, though the road is much more pleasant. An alternative route is from an old jeep road from the northeast. This jeep road can be accessed from State Road 27 about a mile and a half east of the junction of 25 and 27. It is shown on the topo but I did not investigate further so I do not know its condition.

Based on the feedback from the owner, I strongly recommend against using the posted woods road, as easy as it is.