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Trail Conditions

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Current Trail Conditions

GENERAL NORTH SHORE CONDITIONS (as of April 26, 2017): We are in a winter storm! This is not abnormal for April, but comes as a shock to those expecting spring on the North Shore. It is alternating between sleet, snow, and rain. It’s super gross out there. Roads are dangerous and the trail won’t be any fun. For today and as long as this storm lasts, hiking is not recommended anywhere on the SHT.

Expect very wet condition most everywhere on the trail, with possible pockets of snow and ice remaining farther north. Your feet will get wet. Unbridged rivers will likely be dangerous.

This is the trail north of Grand Marais, photo courtesy of Nicole H. Seriously, it’s wet out there folks.

As our Trail Maintenance Supervisor summed up last week, “Sections of trail between Grand Marais and Canada still have enough snow and ice to be a pain in the britches.” No reports yet on if the recent rain brought those levels down to a manageable or nonexistent level.

Keep in mind that most spring trail clearing has not yet taken place. Volunteers and our Trail Maintenance Supervisors are not able to finish clearing the trail until later in the season. You will likely encounter blowdowns.

TRAILHEAD CLOSURES:
The Wild Valley Road Trailhead parking lot at the southern end of the trail has been closed until late May 2017. This is a yearly seasonal closure. There is no parking on Wild Valley Road.
The Grand Portage Trailhead parking lot in Jay Cooke State Park continues to be closed until Fall 2017, so we’re told.
The Fond du Lac trailhead parking lot in west Duluth was closed but is open once again!
The Caribou River Wayside Trailhead parking lot will be closed from May – August 2017 for reconstruction.

BRIDGES OUT ON THE TRAIL:
These streams are crossable in normal or low water conditions, but will be impassable in high water in the spring or after a rain event. It’s a good bet that during spring run-off (like right now), it’s not wise to attempt fording. It is impossible for SHTA to predict when the streams are crossable.

  • North of Two Harbors in the Co Rd 301 to Castle Danger section: The Encampment River Bridge is out permanently. Here are the directions for a 6.8 mile roadwalk around this section:
    • From Co Rd 301 (Fors Rd) trailhead parking lot, take the SHT 0.4 miles until it crosses Co Rd 3 (Hwy 3). Turn left (northeast) and go 4.7 miles to West Castle Danger Road. Turn right (east) and go 1.6 miles to where SHT crosses road. Go left on SHT 0.1 miles to Castle Danger Trailhead parking lot.
  • Split Rock River Bridge on the Split Rock River Loop north of Two Harbors. Bridge is out indefinitely. 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.
  • South of Grand Marais in the section Cascade River State Park to Bally Creek Road (also on the Cascade River Loop), the Trout Creek Bridge on the east side of the Cascade River is out for the foreseeable future. In high water periods use the trail on the west side of the Cascade River.

TRAIL DETOUR:
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 signed detour on the paved Gitchi Gami State Trail to go around this section.

  • 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 Fall 2017.

LOGGING:

  • 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. We will do trail rehabilitation once the logging operation is finished.

Conditions Page last updated 4/26/17

Problem Report Form

Report of Trail Condition, Problem, or Maintenance Needed:

(e.g. problem with bridges, downed trees, erosion, trail markers, or campsites)


(please use nearest trailhead, campsite, or natural feature as a reference point, and state mileage from that point and whether going northbound or southbound from the feature. Give GPS waypoints if you have them.)

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