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Thru-Hiking

The SHT, from start to finish.


Thru-hiking is 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. 

Getting Started

It is possible to hike the trail in either direction. However, we recommend beginning hikers start at a southern trailhead, in more gentle terrain. This will give you time to adjust to the trail—and you’ll have easier access to bail-out points at the beginning of your hike between Duluth and Two Harbors. The northern end of the trail lies in an extremely remote 270-degree overlook, near the Canadian border.

Option 1: Start at the Martin Road Trailhead in northern Duluth. This route is about 260 miles (not including spur trails).* 

Option 2: Begin at the Wild Valley Road Trailhead, and wind through the City of Duluth on your way north. This hike is the full 300 miles (again, not including spur trails).*

*Note: If you plan to hike any additional spur trails, be sure to prepare for a longer distance. 

Option 3: Meet in the middle, making Grand Marais your home base. This option eliminates the stress of arranging a pick-up at the more remote northern end of the trail (and gives you a chance to rest while enjoying the view from a vehicle). 

  • Hike north from Duluth to Grand Marais. 
  • Arrange a shuttle from Grand Marais to the northern terminus. (Make these arrangements BEFORE you set out!)
  • And then hike south back to Grand Marais. 

Line Up A Ride

Whichever way you decide to hike, schedule a pick-up at your end point before you leave, and have a plan in case you need to bail out. There are no regular transportation options available around either terminus, and cell reception is limited in many sections of the trail—especially as you get to the northern end 

Visit our Shuttles and Parking page to review additional transportation options for your trip. 

Arrange Camping

Camping in undesignated areas (stealth-camping) is strictly prohibited along the entire trail. Plan to stay in one of the 94 SHT campsites along the trail. [link] 

Camping in the City of Duluth

There are no SHT camping sites inside the city limits of Duluth, but there are several convenient fee-for-use campgrounds near the trail (at Spirit Mountain, Bagley Nature Area, and Indian Creek, among others). Campfires are strictly prohibited within city limits.

Test Yourself Before You Go

Full thru-hikes generally take 2-4 weeks. Taking a “shake-down” trip of 1-2 nights will help you to determine your pace and give you a chance to field test your gear before setting off. We highly recommend a few day hikes or a short backpacking trips on the SHT before setting forth on a thru-hike. Without firsthand knowledge of pace and gear, you’re much less likely to achieve your goals. 

Arrange Resupply Plans

It’s not feasible to carry weeks’ worth of supplies with you as you hike the trail. You’ll need to plan a few resupply runs. 

Post Office Information: Supplies can be picked up in several small towns not directly on the Trail. It will require walking into town or finding a ride. 

Package Hold Options: Some businesses allow hikers to drop off or mail packages. You must make arrangements with businesses before you send packages to them! When businesses get unexpected packages, they may return them, thinking it’s been delivered to a wrong address. (Note: Eagle Ridge Resort is not holding hiker packages during the 2020 hiking season due to COVID-19.) 

Plan For Your Pets

Dogs are welcome to thru-hike the Superior Hiking Trail with human supervision, but even thru-hiking dogs must be kept on a leash regardless of how well-trained the dog is. This rule applies to your dog! This is for the protection of wild animals, plants, and the comfort level of fellow hikers—in addition to the safety of you and your dog. 

Seriously consider whether your dog will be able to complete a thru-hike. Lots of roots and rocks on the Trail can become challenging over time – remember your furry friend has twice as many feet as you do—and they typically don’t have hard-soled shoes for protection.  

See additional information about pets on the trail in our FAQ section.