Plan Your Hike
The Superior Hiking Trail is laid out in sections of 3-11 miles with a trailhead parking lot on each end of the section. Since the SHT is an end-to-end trail, there are several options for day hiking.
- Out and Back – Start at any trailhead and do half the amount of miles you want to hike and then turn around and hike back to your car. Choosing a natural feature or campsite gives you a destination goal or a great place to take a break. Don’t worry, you’ll see the trail from a different perspective on the return trip!
- Use Two Cars – Drive both cars to your end point, leave one car, drive to your start point, do your hike, and then take the car at the end point to pick up the other car. Remember to place all valuables out of sight, lock your car, and don’t forget your keys!
- Use Public Transportation in the City of Duluth – Look for nearby Duluth Transit Authority Bus stops or make arrangements with a local taxi service for pick up or drop-off at your selected trailhead.
- Catch a Shuttle on the North Shore – The Superior Shuttle runs on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from mid-May to mid-October. The Shuttle starts at the Castle Danger Trailhead north of Two Harbors in the morning, and then goes north stopping at trailheads – some on a regular basis and some on a reservation-only basis – to Pincushion Mountain Trailhead in Grand Marais. Visit SuperiorShuttle.com for more information or to book a reservation. For a shuttle, it’s easiest to park at the end point of your hike, take the Shuttle to your start point, and then hike back to your car. That way you can hike as fast or as slow as you want.
- Make a Loop – There are several loops on the Superior Hiking Trail that are 2-8 miles in length where you leave from one trailhead parking lot and return to the same parking lot. Here are some great loops in the SHTA Suggested Hikes Handout.
- Take a Bike – If you enjoy a little biking on the back roads there are some sections where it’s possible to leave your bicycle at your end point, drive your car to your start point, do the hike, and then ride your bicycle back to your car.
- Hike in a State Park – Create your own loop routes by combining state park trails and the SHT. Some state parks have wayside rests associated with them, and there is plenty of free parking. Other state parks do not have a wayside and you need a state park day use or annual sticker to park there.
Use the Superior Hiking Trail section of this website to research trail sections and find trailhead parking areas. If you plan to hike the trail often you may want to purchase the “Guide to the Superior Hiking Trail.” This useful guide has a mile-by-mile description of the trail with information about the trail route as well as scenic features along the trail. Pocket maps of the trail are available as a six map set. (Maps may be purchased individually only in our retail store.) You can purchase the guide book and map set online, at the SHTA Trail Information Center in Two Harbors, or in select parks and businesses.
Need more ideas? Stop by the SHTA Trail Information Center in Two Harbors, MN to ask your questions and pick up a brochure with nine suggested day hikes at various locations along the trail, or Download it here.
On the trail
- Trailhead signs give basic mileage information including distances to campsites and the next trailhead.
- The entire trail is marked with blue paint blazes or SHT logo signs. In ares that are blazed a turn in the trail is marked by two blue paint blazes with the higher blaze indicating the direction the trail turns. White paint blazes mark spur trails to and from the main SHT or to overlooks. If you pay attention to the blazes and signs you should have no difficulty staying on the trail.
- The trail goes across over 60 parcels of private land, and many of these properties are not marked as private land. Respect private landowners’ rights by staying on the trail.
- The SHT is a rugged footpath. Wear sturdy hiking boots or shoes. Carry a day pack with you that contains beverages, snacks, insect repellent, rain gear, first aid kit, headlamp and an extra layer of clothing. Many hikers find trekking poles helpful especially on steep descents.
- Always carry a map of your route with you. Make sure to pay attention as you hike along so if you become confused you know where you last were on the map. In general you don’t need a compass to hike on the trail. However, it’s a good idea to carry one and check it after you leave an overlook to make sure you’re hiking in the right direction. Even experienced hikers can get confused.
- Most trailhead parking lots have no facilities. Day hikers are encouraged to use the back-country latrines found at designated campsites. If you do need to relieve yourself while you are hiking move away from water, campsites, and trails. To deposit human waste, dig a hole 3-6 inches deep. Cover and disguise the hole when finished. Pack out toilet paper and sanitary products.