Current Trail Conditions
GENERAL NORTH SHORE CONDITIONS (as of July 26, 2017):
The rain continues. We had a big rain event last weekend that continued the trend of wet, wet, wet conditions. Anticipate mud. The trail has not been able to dry out like it normally does. There are some stretches that are miraculously dry, but more of them are wet.
The most dramatic mud reported has been between Crosby-Manitou State Park and Caribou River State Wayside.
The staff at SHTA 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 out in full force. Use bug spray, tuck your pant legs into your socks, and wear clothing that offers good protection. Do a tick check each night.
July is weed-whipping month! The entire trail gets weed-whipped at some point this month. This is the time of peak summer growth along the trail; grass will be long and other plants may be encroaching on the trail. This should not significantly impact the quality of your hike but may lead to ticks getting a head start climbing up your legs. After a rain your legs and feet will get wetter than usual.
Weed-whipping is brutal work; if you run into some of our valiant weed-whippers, give them a round of applause.
- 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 will be closed JULY 26th through sometime in early fall. You will NOT be able to be dropped off at this location, nor can you park alongside the road. 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.
BRIDGES OUT/WET WATER CROSSINGS ON THE TRAIL:
- 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.
- 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!
- 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 Fall 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.
- Between Lismore and Normanna Trailheads: South of the N. Tischer Road crossing on both sides of Lone Tree Campsite there has been a recent logging operation. The trail is currently marked with blue flagging. Tread will be repaired hopefully next week.
- 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)