Current Trail Conditions
SUPERIOR HIKING TRAIL CONDITIONS (updated August 16, 2017):
The trail has not been able to dry out like it normally does this summer. Expect to encounter mud on your hike, and then be pleasantly surprised if you don’t. The most dramatic mud reported has been between Crosby-Manitou State Park and Caribou River State Wayside. There is a stretch of mud in that area that is knee-deep.
SHTA staff cannot predict the weather or give forecasts. Your best bet is to check online for the area you will be hiking in. Forecasts can vary dramatically from the southern end of the trail to the northern end.
Ticks, mosquitoes, and flies are still out, though they are less prevalent than they were a month ago. Ticks are infrequent north of Two Harbors but still prevalent south of Two Harbors. Use bug spray, tuck your pant legs into your socks, and wear clothing that offers good protection. Do a tick check each night.
ANIMAL ADVISORY (updated August 17, 2017):
- Bear and cubs: Bears have been spotted frequently near the Split Rock River Loop recently. They have not ever been aggressive, but please use extra care if camping.
- Hornets: There was a hornet’s nest just south of Beaver Pond Campsite between Split Rock and Beaver Bay on a boardwalk. They may still be hornet activity in this area.
- Hornets: There was a hornet’s nest about 1/5 of a mile south of Fault Line Ridge Campsite on the section between Split Rock and Beaver Bay. There may still be hornet activity in this area.
- Hornets: There was a hornet’s nest near the Sonju Lake Campsites between Lake County Road 7 (Finland Rec) and Crosby-Manitou State Park. It is no longer active, but there may be some residual hornet activity in the area.
- Hornets:There was a hornet’s nest on Crow Creek Bridge near Kadunce River. It is no longer an active threat, but there may be some residual hornet activity in the area, so be aware.
TRAILHEAD CLOSURES/ISSUES (updated August 16, 2017):
- Grand Portage Trailhead parking lot in Jay Cooke State Park continues to be closed until Fall 2017, so we’re told.
- Beck’s Road (123rd Ave W) Trailhead is closed. Use the climbers’ parking lot to access the detoured route 1/4 mile north of Beck’s Road Trailhead.
- Caribou River Wayside Trailhead parking lot IS CLOSED through sometime in early fall. The entrance to Caribou River Wayside is in a dangerous curve. Please re-route your vehicle and plans to Sugarloaf Road, a few miles north. Turn north onto Sugarloaf Road and follow it steeply uphill until you see an SHT parking lot on your left. The main SHT is unaffected; access to the spur trail is affected.
- Kadunce River Wayside Trailhead parking lot will be closed from August 20 – September 15 for a fisheries restoration project. The spur trail between Kadunce and the main SHT will be closed during this time. The closure will NOT impact the main SHT.
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.
- 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 August 14, 2017):
- Munger Trail Reroute: The Munger Trail is closed where the SHT briefly shares it near Beck’s Road Trailhead. By parking at the climber’s parking access, you can follow a blazed detour around the closed area.
- 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.
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.
This detour will last until sometime in fall 2017.
- The west side of Split Rock is CLOSED. We are revamping a staircase and you cannot pass. If you want to hike along Split Rock, go up the east side.
- Kadunce River Spur Trail will be closed August 20-September 15 for a fisheries restoration project. Please do not attempt to hike the spur trail during this time! The main SHT will not be impacted. Detour your car to Cook County Road 14. You will be able to hike from Cook County Road 14 to Judge Magney State Park with no problems.
LOGGING (updated August 16, 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Problem Report Form
Report of Trail Condition, Problem, or Maintenance Needed:
(e.g. problem with bridges, downed trees, erosion, trail markers, or campsites)