Plan Your Adventure
A Footpath Above Lake Superior
The Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) in Minnesota offers more than 300 miles of sweeping vistas along a ridgeline overlooking Lake Superior. Beginning south of Duluth, Minnesota and running to a 270-degree outlook just shy of the Canadian border, the trail offers stunning views of Minnesota’s “North Shore.”
Ways to Hike the Trail
There are several options for exploring and experiencing the beauty of the trail.
Whether setting out on a vigorous adventure, or preparing for a wonder-filled nature walk, the Superior Hiking Trail is well-suited for day hikes and runs. Make a loop or plan transportation at your destination. Either way, we encourage you to choose a trailhead and explore.
If you are looking to blend trail hiking with backcountry camping, then backpacking is an ideal option, providing a more immersive Superior Hiking Trail experience.
Defined as hiking the trail on an end-to-end backpacking trip, thru-hiking a great way to enjoy the varied beauty along the entire Superior Hiking Trail. Because thru-hiking is a more intense way to enjoy this 300-mile trail, you should carefully consider whether you’re in good condition and prepared before setting out.
Trail runners love the Superior Hiking Trail. It is challenging, stimulating, and accessible throughout the North Shore. Run just a mile on the SHT and you will be, at once, tested and exhilarated.
Groups of 8 or more who plan to use SHT campsites should review guidelines for Large Groups on the SHT before heading to the Trail.
Know Before You Go
The Superior Hiking Trail is available to all, and should be treated with respect. Together we can preserve the Trail and the environment surrounding it. By being prepared and understanding the rules of the trail, you can help us accomplish this mission.
Must-Have Trip Planning Resources
This guidebook details landmarks, trail miles and campsites—including the number of tent pads available, water sources and distances between sites.
A compact guide to mileages between points of interest, elevation profiles, and northbound or southbound compatibility. Perfect for carrying with you while traversing the SHT.
A comprehensive map set that provides detailed, full color topographic maps covering the entire SHT. Available in print or through the Avenza Maps mobile app.
The SHT is a year-round resource, but the weather on the North Shore is always unpredictable. Keep your eye on the local forecast as you’re planning to head out on the trail. Here are some things you should be aware of as you plan your trip.
Summer (June-August) is the best time to plan longer trips
The summer months tend to be more favorable weatherwise, but the crowds are larger. You’ll also contend with ticks and mosquitoes, which tend to be most plentiful in late spring. Also note that sometimes smaller water sources can dry up in late summer. In very dry years, a campfire ban may be in effect.
Fall (September-mid-November) is a beautiful time of year
Bugs are gone after the first frost, and campsite use falls off dramatically after Labor Day.
- Mid-October to mid-November: The SHT inside the City of Duluth will be closed during the fall freeze/thaw cycle.
- November: Much of the Trail north of Duluth closes during deer firearms hunting season for two weeks each November. To see more info about the hunting season, please visit the DNR site here.
Winter conditions in Northern Minnesota can be extreme and dangerous (November-February)
While day hikes, runs and snowshoeing offer beautiful experiences on sunny winter days, we recommend backpacking and longer hikes for experienced winter backpackers only.
Don’t plan a trip in the spring (March- May)
Early spring may not the best time to enjoy the trail. During the spring thaw, the SHT is particularly sensitive to damage caused by muddy and difficult trail conditions.
. In fact, inside the City of Duluth, the Trail is closed during the spring thaw. We recommend planning major trips for another time of year and STAY OFF saturated trails to avoid causing damage.
Snow typically melts until mid- to late-May along much of the trail—but may be later at the northern end. Good trail conditions in the north may be two weeks behind good conditions in the south. Please plan accordingly. Post-melt mud is disheartening to hike through—and leaves a rutted trail for those that follow.
At the end of May—or sooner, if weather is warmer—ticks and mosquitos emerge.