Trail Conditions

Current Trail Conditions


No joke: MUD.

It’s so wet out there. The trail has never been able to really and truly dry out this year and rains keep coming.  Although you may be lucky to encounter dry trail, it sounds like that is the exception. Do not expect dry feet!

It’s fall on the North Shore, and that means beautiful colors and various hunting seasons. Be as visible as possible whenever you hike in September, October, and November.

Firearms deer season is coming up. Most of the SHT will be CLOSED during this two-week period in November. See below for more information.

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.

Need some good news? The Grand Portage Trailhead in Jay Cooke State Park is open again after FIVE YEARS!


-October 28 – November 19, 2017, the trail will be closed from Lake County 301/Fors Road to Castle Danger Trailhead. This is at the request of a private landowner in preparation for firearms deer season.

-November 4 – 19, 2017, the trail will be closed from:

  • Rossini Road Trailhead southwest of Two Harbors to Sugarloaf Road west of Schroeder (129 miles)
  • Caribou Trail Trailhead north of Lutsen to Bally Creek Road Trailhead (20 miles)
  • Cook Co Rd 58 (Lindskog Rd) north of Grand Marais to Jackson Lake Road Trailhead north of Hovland (39 miles)

SHTA closes the trail when there is private land in a section or when a public land managing agency asks us to close the trail.  SHTA will post trail closure signs at affected trailheads and asks all hikers to respect the closures.

Minnesota State Park trails will also be impacted by the firearms hunting season. Check the MN DNR website, for more information about park specific closures.

There are other fall hunting seasons for which the SHT does not close (small game, archery, muzzle loading).  Fall hikers should make sure that they are visible and alert for hunting activity that maybe occurring along the trail

ANIMAL ADVISORY (updated September 26, 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.
  • Bear and cubs:  A somewhat aggressive bear with two cubs has been reported between Leskinen Creek and Section 13 campsites. It would not budge from the trail. It may be getting human-supplied food in the area and is being desensitized to human presence. Please use caution; please be responsible campers and bear-bag your food!
  • Hornets: There has been hornet activity in the following areas and may still be residual hornet activity:
    -south of Beaver Pond Campsite between Split Rock and Beaver Bay on a boardwalk.
    -about 1/5 of a mile south of Fault Line Ridge Campsite on the section between Split Rock and Beaver Bay.
    -in a rotted tree stump in front of the latrine at Leskinen Creek Campsite.
    -near the Sonju Lake Campsites between Lake County Road 7 (Finland Rec) and Crosby-Manitou State Park.
    -on Crow Creek Bridge near Kadunce River.

TRAILHEAD CLOSURES/ISSUES (updated October 4, 2017) – Also see Fall Hunting Closures listed above.

  • 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 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. You cannot walk through the construction zone. You cannot be dropped off here. Please avoid this area entirely.

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 September 19, 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. 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.
    This detour will last until LATE OCTOBER 2017 at the earliest.

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.


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.)

Is the trail passable?

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