Magnet Ridge to Tronsen Ridge…or Tronsen Ridge to Magnet Ridge Although old maps show it, the trail leading up Magnet Ridge, one of the ridges confining Magnet Creek, and connecting to Tronsen Ridge is a discontinued trail. There’s no trailhead at the base announcing its existence, no signs anywhere along its length letting you know where you are or how far it is to a destination point, no trail crews dispatched by the Forest Service to maintain it.
Despite this lack of attention, just enough people know about this ghost trail – some who occasionally walk it, others who occasionally maintain it – that this beautiful ridge studded with large, rust-colored ponderosa pines remains easy to hike.
All this is good news for the hiker wanting a secluded destination on a busy weekend. With the absence of a trailhead and a parking lot at the base, getting going on this walk is tricky and keeps the masses away. Once you know how to find it, and where to park, you’ll enjoy a steep hike, leading to nice viewpoints along Tronsen Ridge, on an easily followed tread. All that’s pretty good stuff for a trail that doesn’t exist.
Photo: A viewpoint about 2.35 miles up the trail where Magnet Ridge first intersects Tronsen Ridge.
Distance: The best hike climbing Magnet Ridge to Tronsen Ridge can be 4.7 to 10 miles in length (roundtrip), depending on how far out Tronsen Ridge you want to walk. We’ve also listed at Tronsen Ridge to Magnet Ridge Loop that starts hikers up high and finishes with a mountain bike ride back to retrieve the car that entails 5.6 miles of hiking and 5.6 mile of mountain biking to retrieve the car that is a total of 11.25 miles long.
Elevation: The hike climbing along Magnet Ridge to Tronsen Ridge climbs 1,500 vertical feet.
Skill: 2+ (strong intermediate)
Fitness: 2 (intermediate). You can make this a much more strenuous hike by heading farther out Tronsen Ridge.
Activities.Hiking, trail running, a mixture of hiking and mountain bikes.
Access. From the Big Y Junction where Highway 2 and Highway 97 intersect, drive south on Highway 97 toward Blewett Pass for 13.75 miles. The trail up Magnet Ridge starts at milepost 171.3 on the north side of the road (left side as you’re driving uphill). There is no pullout or signage here, but there are some Department of Ecology boxes and post you’ll see here. Don’t pull over on either side of the highway here (it’s a dangerous place). Instead park in a small pullout on the south side of the highway about 150 yards farther uphill at milepost 171.2 (immediately across the highway from a rock outcrop) or in a fairly large pullout on the south side of the highway at milepost 171. Once parked, walk down the highway to where the hike starts on the north side of the highway (milepost 171.3). Note: There are no amenities at any of these places so take care of your bathroom needs before arriving and carry away all your trash.
Maps: View maps below for more information.
Note: This PDF map, if downloaded into an app like Avenza PDF Map, is geo-referenced to work with the GPS functions of a smartphone.
Option 1. This options takes you up Magnet Ridge for 2.35 miles where you’ll intersect Tronsen Ridge. Although the trail has not been formally maintained for many years and has no established trailhead, the trail is easy to follow and, as of September 2015, still in excellent shape. The main difficulty is simply getting started. From the north side of the highway at milepost 171.3, walk perpendicular to the highway for 30 yards. The trail then jogs to hiker’s left for about 50 yards before making a switchback to the right and traversing a few hundred yards to a southeast-facing ridgelet. Once on the ridgelet, the trail climbs nearly 800 vertical feet in a northwesterly direction and intersects the larger ridge system that confines Magnet Creek. Once on this larger ridge, what we’re calling Magnet Ridge, the trail heads northeasterly until it intersects Tronsen Ridge. It’s roughly 2.35 miles (one way) from Highway 97 to Waypoint M4 on the map, and then another 0.6 miles to the peak 4500-foot peak between Waypoints M4 and M5 (one good turnaround point that makes for a 6-mile roundtrip walk).
- The peaks above waypoints M7 and M9 are two other worthwhile turnaround points and will make your roundtrip hikes 8.5 miles and 10 miles long respectively.
Option 2. Hide and lock-up a mountain bike at milepost 171 along Highway 97. Then drive Highway 97 up to milepost 168.7 and turn left onto the Five Mile Road. Drive the Five Mile Road uphill 3.2 miles to the Tronsen Ridge Trailhead located at waypoint M10. Park here (no permit needed) and walk northwest and then west 3.3 miles along Tronsen Ridge to waypoint M4. Now descend on the Magnet Ridge Trail 2.35 miles to waypoint M1 and the highway. Walk up the highway 0.3 miles and fetch the bike. One person can retrieve the car by riding 2.2 miles up the highway and then 3.2 miles up the Five Mile Road. Total length of this hike-bike loop is 11.25 miles.
Permits. None needed.
Trip Reporter. Andy Dappen, September 2015.
Leave It Better than You Found It. This should be every user’s goal. Pick up trash left by others, pull noxious weeds along your route, throw branches over unwanted spur trails, etc.
Disclaimer. Treat this information as recommendations, not gospel. Conditions change and those contributing these reports are volunteers–they may make mistakes or not know all the issues affecting a route. You are responsible for yourself, your actions, and your safety. If you won’t accept that responsibility, you are prohibited from using our information.