Otter Tail County Highpoint Trip Report

two wooded hills (1,790+ ft)

Date: November 26, 2004
Author: Mark Ness

Otter Tail County's two highest hills are located in section 32 of Effington Township, about 1/4 mile apart.

From the intersection of Otter Tail County Roads 59 and 38 in Urbank, I drove north for 5.2 miles on C.R. 59 to Shiloh Ranch Road. I took a right turn onto this gravel road going east. It curves slightly right at 0.5 mile (a gated road continues straight) and ends at an abandoned farm place (there were dairy cattle there, so someone must attend to them). I parked near the old house at the end of the driveway.

The trail to the Eastern High Point: I started hiking directly toward the eastern hill. After 3 minutes, I crossed a barbed-wire fence and the gated road then an immediate, steep uphill. 8 minutes after that, I joined up with a woods road, which curved around between the lake and the west side of the hill. I didn't know how far west, so I started bushwhacking straight up the hill. It was heavy brush, which in the cold and snow of autumn made for some fragile branches. That part of the trail (including time spent on the path) lasted 6 minutes.

The Eastern Summit: I reached the summit in 17 minutes. It was not marked, just an ordinary wooded hill with brush and trees. Also, the woods road came within a few feet of the northern part of the summit hill so I had abandoned it too quickly and bushwhacked unnecessarily.

The Hike Between Summits: I got back on the woods road and started walking around the north side of the lake but then it went south and I was back to bushwhacking. I walked on the high ground between swamps, part of the time on another woods path, and up the moderately steep western slope. The time between summits was 21 minutes.

The Western Summit: Like the other, the western summit was not marked; just an ordinary wooded hill with brush and trees.

The Climb Down: I headed straight south, downhill, slipping and falling several times on the scattered snow-covered slope. I got back onto the road, just before the gate. The hike down to this point was 16 minutes, with an additional 7 minutes along the main road to my truck.

Trip Statistics: 61 minutes hiking time.

For future highpointers, you could shave several minutes off this time by parking at the gate where the road splits off, walking up there, then heading into the woods, picking up the woods road,as it curves around toward the western summit, then continuing as I did to the western summit, then down to the gate again.