Current Trail Conditions
SUPERIOR HIKING TRAIL CONDITIONS (updated December 14, 2017)
Yes! We finally have snow across the entire trail. The MN DNR maintains this map, generally updated once per week: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/snow_depth/index.html. You will likely encounter ice underneath the snow in many areas. Please remember that no hiking is allowed on ski trails!
WINTER TRAILHEAD INFORMATION (updated December 14, 2017)
Many trailheads are unplowed in the winter! Please plan accordingly.
Duluth and south:
The following trailheads are generally plowed:
- Jay Cooke State Park Visitor Center
- Munger Trail at 123rd Ave West
- Magney-Snively Park
- Spirit Mountain Lower Chalet
- Spirit Mountain Upper Chalet
- Rose Garden
- Hartley Nature Center
- Martin Road
-Special note on Wild Valley Road: this is a seasonal road and trailhead. Once it is closed for the season, there is no parking on Wild Valley Road during the winter. The closest access point would be Jay Cooke State Park Visitor Center.
North of Duluth:
The following trailheads are generally plowed:
- Martin Road
- Normanna Road
- Fox Farm Road
- Lake County Demonstration Forest
- Gooseberry Falls State Park
- Split Rock River Wayside
- Split Rock State Park
- Beaver Bay
- Silver Bay – Penn Boulevard
- Tettegouche State Park
- Finland Recreation Center
- Crosby-Manitou State Park
- Caribou River Wayside (sometimes – more likely this season due to wayside expansion, but remember no overnight parking is allowed here)
- Temperance River Wayside
- Britton Peak
- Oberg Mountain
- Lutsen Mountains Recreation Area
- Caribou Trail (possibly)
- Cascade River State Park
- Bally Creek Road (northern parking lot only)
- Kadunce River Wayside
- Judge Magney State Park (the big parking lot isn’t plowed but there is room to park cars right by the contact station)
-Special note on Pincushion Mountain at Grand Marais: This trailhead is plowed, but hiking north from Pincushion is not allowed due to ski trails. Please do not hike on the ski trails!
-Special note on Jackson Lake Road and Otter Lake Road: These roads are generally not plowed at all during winter.
WET WATER CROSSINGS ON THE TRAIL (updated August 17, 2017):
- North of Two Harbors in the Co Rd 301 to Castle Danger section: The Encampment River is a wet-water crossing. Under normal circumstances, it’s an easy crossing with many large rocks to help you across. It is only a problem if there has been a large rain event within 48 hours or so, or during spring snowmelt season. Other than that, you will likely not have a problem crossing! There is a posted roadwalk detour map at Castle Danger Trailhead and High Ridge Road, where the roadwalk detour would begin.
- Split Rock River Bridge on the Split Rock River Loop north of Two Harbors and we do not recommend trying to ford! Bridge is out indefinitely – we are raising money for the cause. You can still hike up either side of the loop, but you will have to return the way you came. Long-distance hikers can take spur trails to continue their hike through: Northbound, at junction with spur trail turn right (south-east) toward the Split Rock River Wayside. From the wayside, take paved trail to Hwy 61 underpass and turn left. After 0.2 miles, spur trail to main SHT is on left across Hwy 61. Follow spur trail 0.4 miles to junction with main SHT.
- Just north of Fault Line Campsite in the section between Split Rock and Beaver Bay, a short section of the trail is flooded due to a new beaver dam. The trail is fordable, but prepare for wet feet and legs. This issue cannot be fixed until early 2018.
- South of Grand Marais in the section Cascade River State Park to Bally Creek Road (also on the Cascade River Loop), Trout Creek is a wet-water crossing. Under normal circumstances, Trout Creek is a trickle. Only during spring snowmelt season or a big rain event is crossing an issue. In high water times, use the trail on the west side of the Cascade River. If you are hiking the loop, hike it counter-clockwise!
TRAIL DETOURS (updated November 9, 2017):
- Chester Creek Re-route: A section of the SHT along Chester Creek washed out 8/26. That stretch of trail is closed but can be easily detoured by using the west side of Chester Creek. This will not be fixed until 2018. Directions: Northbound on the SHT, at the 2nd pedestrian bridge cross to the west side of Chester Creek and continue to Skyline. Southbound, start hiking on the west side, and at the 1st pedestrian bridge you come to, you can cross back over to the east side.
- The North of Gooseberry Reroute: A 1.6 mile section of the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) is closed permanently between Gooseberry Falls State Park to Split Rock River Wayside. from the northern boundary of Gooseberry Falls State Park to Blueberry Hill Road. There is a sparsely-signed detour on the paved Gitchi Gami State Trail to go around this section. Print these directions to bring with you!
The detour starts at the Gooseberry Falls State Park Visitor Center, crosses on the pedestrian bridge under Hwy. 61 over the Gooseberry River and travels for 2.1 miles on the Gitchi Gami State Trail to the Blueberry Hill Road intersection. This intersection is located at about Highway 61, milepost 41.6 by blue fire number #3486. You will need to watch for the fire number!
At that point, there are two options.
1) Cross Highway 61 and walk 1.2 miles north on Blueberry Hill Road, a gravel Lake County forest road, to connect to the SHT and then continue east on the SHT to the Blueberry Hill Campsite, Bread Loaf Ridge, and the Split Rock River Wayside. Absolutely no parking on Blueberry Hill Road!
2) Continue another 2.4 miles on the Gitchi Gami Trail to the Split Rock River Wayside, and use the box culvert underneath the highway to reach the parking lot and the continuation of the SHT.
Completion of structures along the route has been delayed. This detour will continue into 2018.
LOGGING (updated September 15, 2017):
- Between Duluth and Two Harbors, there have been several logging operations over the last few years. The trail is back in place and marked. You will be able to watch the forest regrow while hiking some sections in this area.
- Much of the Lismore Road to Normanna Road section is owned by St. Louis County, which is actively logging this area. The SHT will be disrupted by logging activities well into 2018. Watch carefully for blue flagging and posts marked with SHT markings to find your way.
- There is logging going around in the Fox Farm Road Trailhead area. You can still use the trailhead there with no problem.
- Sundling Creek area near Grand Marais: There was logging on this spur trail, but it impacted only a small portion of it. You can follow the spur trail with no navigational issues. The logging did not impact the Sundling Creek Campsite. There may be further logging in this area soon. Follow posted signs.
- Cook County Rd. 6 An active logging operation beginning at the point where the SHT crosses County Rd. 6 heading east and continuing near the section of trail shared with the North Shore State Trail.
- Otter Lake Road area: There is a logging operation south of Otter Lake Road that has turned about a mile of the SHT into a logging road. The trail is flagged with hot pink flagging tape — it should be easy to follow and it is easy walking. We will do trail rehabilitation once the logging operation is finished, which is currently unknown.
ANIMAL ADVISORY (updated December 4, 2017)
- A bear has been hanging out at Bear Lake Campsite, possibly due to hiker-related behavior. This is a reminder to everyone to PLEASE bear-bag your food and keep a clean campsite! Bears quickly learn where they can find food; do not teach them that SHT campsites are a potential food source!
Problem Report Form
Report of Trail Condition, Problem, or Maintenance Needed:
(e.g. problem with bridges, downed trees, erosion, trail markers, or campsites)