DescriptionRock of Ages is one of three small, remote lakes at the head of Path Creek in the Kawishiwi River watershed, 8 miles northwest of Forest Center, and 18½ miles ESE of Ely. Rock of Ages is the highest of the three, draining south into Mirror which drains north into Path, from which the creek winds east and then north, through boggy country to Brewis, Horseshoe, and eventually Lake Three on the Kawishiwi.
To the north of Rock of Ages, just a bit more than a mile of Pow Wow Trail drops some 90' down to the shores of Lake Three near the Horseshoe Lake portage. From the north end of Rock of Ages, the trail leads south to another campsite on the north shore of nearby Path. If not planning to stop at the Path campsite, one could paddle the length of Rock of Ages (all 3/4 mile of it) and lift the canoes over the flat and relatively narrow neck of land which separates the south end of Rock of Ages from the south end of Path.
The forests to the south and east of Rock of Ages date from the fires of 1824, with surviving 200 year old stands originating in the latter years of the 18th Century. To the north and west, a band of younger trees date only from the 1910 burn, beyond which is the second growth forest logged in the early years of this century by the St. Croix Lumber Company of nearby Winton. The Independence Day windstorms of 1999 did no significant damage in the area to the south of Rock of Ages. However, to the north of the lake, standing tree losses from the storms have been estimated at 10% to 33%. The Pow Wow Trail passes through this section so check on trail conditions before you try this stretch.
CampsitesRock of Ages supports one established campsite, at its north end, intended for use by backpackers on the Pow Wow Hiking Trail.
Planning ConsiderationsRock of Ages is on the Pow Wow Hiking Trail, well away from canoe routes and maintained portages. Getting there with a boat requires making use of the hiking trail as a long portage and one which, even when maintained, is not intended for canoe traffic. However, for any party trying to chart a closed loop route through this part of the BWCA, Rock of Ages, along with Path, Mirror, Superstition, Campfire, and Quadga, forms one of the only north/south alternatives to the Clearwater routes farther west, for travel between the Number Lakes on the Kawishiwi and the Perent and Isabella River country to the south.
WildlifeRock of Ages is known to be part of the home range of a pack of wolves and might, therefore, be a good place to hear wolf howls in the night.
Notes and CommentsWe look at Rock of Ages and the Pow Wow Trail as a very tempting north/south route through some wild country with little in the way of established canoe routes. Of course, we tend to feel the same about comparable north/south routes farther to the east, like Insula to the Perent River by way of Arrow and Ferne, or Insula to Perent Lake by way of Maniwaki. Not everyone's cup of tea.