It gets its magnetic properties from the mineral magnetite. Magnetite is the same mineral that is found in the underlying bedrock of the Gunflint Iron Formation. The formation runs from Northern Minnesota into Ontario. If you plan on visiting, be sure to bring a compass with you to check its magnetic properties. In order to do so, hold the compass near the rock’s surface and move the compass slowly across the surface. Because the rock is magnetic, the needle of the compass will spin. Many other rocks nearby are also magnetic, so don’t put your compass away!
The Magnetic Rock can be found along the Magnetic Rock Trail that begins on the Gunflint Trail about 50 miles north of Grand Marais. The hike is an easy 1.5-mile out-and-back hike (though the Gunflint Lake trails continue past the rock). The trail passes over Larch Creek and meanders through jack pine and paper birch trees. Moose, bear, beaver, and many other animals call the area home. Signs of the 1999 blowdown, the prescribed burn from 2002, and the 2007 Ham Lake wildfire are evident along the trail.