Morrison County Highpoint Trip Report

two areas inside Camp Ripley (1,520+ ft)

Date: July 30, 2005
Author: Bob Schwab

From the intersection of Routes 371 and 115, drive west across the river and turn north into the main gate at Camp Ripley. After passing the guard station, drive north a little more than 2 miles to the Artillery Control Office (on your left) and a sign that says no civilians may proceed beyond this point without a permit. Didnít expect to get immediate permission to enter because there is a lot of training (National Guard) going on during the summer months but you can get information here about who to contact to make arrangements to visit the two highest contours in the county, which are in the far northwest corner of the base. Entry is only by permit and you will be escorted the entire way to keep you out of their active areas. Sgt. Burlingame was quite helpful in referring me to the appropriate operations officer, who told me this was an unusual request but nonetheless I was granted permission to enter on the weekend, when the training and maneuvers are less intense.

My escort was very friendly and drove me to gate 50 along the West Boundary Road. From there, we went southeast to the base of the northwest contour, which is the site of an old lookout tower. We hiked up an old road to the top, where we found several extremely large (for Minnesota) anthills next to the BM site (BM Rail, 1532 feet).

Then we drove southeast to the C9 gate (mentioned by Mark Ness in his report), turned east, and basically "Martinized" the second contour. The highest ground appears to be just north of the road/track which goes right over the top of the hill. My escort mentioned that we were lucky that we didnít have to go any farther south than the C9 gate because the area south of there was closed due to artillery activity on that weekend.

As we drove to the HP areas and back out to the Artillery Control Office, we passed several Humvees, two patrols, and saw lots of tank tracks in the gravel. They regularly patrol the West Boundary Road because it is close to a public road, from which people sometimes wander or stray into the base. I strongly urge future visitors to plan ahead, contact the base prior to your visit, and make proper arrangements so that cordial relationships between the base commander and the highpointing community can be maintained. The phone number to the Artillery Control Office is 320-632-7298. The Camp Operations Officer (person who ultimately gives permission) can be reached at 320-616-2699.