Current Trail Conditions
SHTA staff update this page as soon as we get noteworthy conditions reports.
If you want specific information on recent conditions on a section of Trail, you may find updates from trail users in the SHT Facebook group.
TRAIL AND TRAILHEAD INFORMATION (updated September 9, 2020)
COVID-19 ALERT: Please visit our COVID-19 page to find our latest recommendations on use of the SHT and our campsites before heading out. We ask all trail users to Recreate Responsibly to keep user and our trail community safe and healthy.
General Trail Conditions: Dry spring and summer weather has left the SHT in relatively dry condition. You should still expect to encounter mud in perpetually wet places. We have not heard of any issues with long-distance hikers finding water at usual, dependable sources. Some annual trail maintenance was delayed due to COVID-19 concerns, but crews have cleared and brushed the trail corridor to ensure you can see the next blue blaze to find your way through the woods.
Hunting Season: Several hunting seasons are underway near the SHT. We advise all trail users to wear blaze orange or bright colored clothing.
Much of the SHT north of Duluth will be closed for firearm deer season November 7-22. See additional closures below under the Trail Detours and Issues tab. Please help us maintain access to public and private lands by staying off closed sections of the Trail.
Fall Color Finder: As the stunning fall color season gets underway, check out this handy Fall Color Finder from the Minnesota DNR to see where colors are at their peak.
Fire Danger: You can find statewide fire danger and burning restrictions here.
If you plan to hike after or during a rain event, please be mindful to avoid damaging the Trail and our trailheads by staying off where conditions are wet or saturated.
TRAILHEAD CLOSURES AND ISSUES (updated June 25, 2020):
- A reminder that camping is not allowed at trailheads. SHTA does not own the land you are parking on, and we do not have permission for camping in these areas.
- Please remember to never leave any valuables in your car at ANY SHT trailheads.
- Wild Valley Road: Some trail users have reported hearing gunshots close to the SHT on the way to the southern terminus. Recreational shooting is known to take place nearby. There’s no reason to believe guns are being shot at or across the Trail, but please be aware of your surroundings to stay safe.
- Lismore Road Trailhead is permanently closed: what had been public land is now privately owned. The SHT can still be accessed at Lismore Road by parking on the road (please park well off the roadway) and going through the ditch to reach the Trail. The Trail runs parallel to Lismore Rd. and is within the highway right-of-way, so you are not trespassing. Do NOT park in the driveway that had been the trailhead parking lot; you WILL be trespassing. Please be mindful to stay on the Trail while you pass through this area. The land the SHT passes through at Lismore Rd. was logged recently and the trail corridor has been re-established by volunteers but there is touch-up work to do.
TRAIL DETOURS AND ISSUES (updated September 11, 2020):
- Duluth SHT: Find the current open/closed status for the Trail in Duluth by visiting the City’s Natural Surface Trails page.
- Enger Park to Rose Garden: The City of Duluth has continued to work to restore the Duluth Lakewalk area from the Aerial Lift Bridge to Endion Station due to storm damage sustained last fall. The route of the SHT through the area follows the temporary reroute of the Lakewalk while construction is underway. Refer to the City of Duluth’s updates on the project for the most current status.
- Reeves Road to 301/Fors Road: The SHT from Gun Club Road to Silver Creek Campsite will be closed to all users from September 19 to November 22. Silver Creek Campsite will remain open through November 6. Long-distance hikers can bypass the area (heading northeast-bound) by following Gun Club Road to Lake County Road 301 (Fors Road) and reconnecting with the SHT at Lake County Road 301 Trailhead.
- Lake County Road 301/Fors Road to Castle Danger: Encampment River area has experienced a large slump near the river crossing. SHTA will be working on a short reroute in this area. Use caution until the reroute is in place.
- The “Gooseberry Gap” Reroute: A 1.6 mile section of the 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 detour on the paved Gitchi-Gami State Trail to go around this section. Bring these directions with you! Here is a map you can also use. 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 near Highway 61, milepost 41.6 by blue fire number #3486. You will need to watch for the fire number! Cross Highway 61 and walk 1.2 miles north on Blueberry Hill Road, a gravel forest road, to connect to the SHT and then continue east on the SHT to Split Rock River Wayside. No parking on Blueberry Hill Road.
- Lake County Road 6 to Lake Country Road 7: The boardwalk over the beaver dam at Sawmill Creek pond has begun to fail (see photo from volunteer Jeff Miller below). We recommend an optional detour on County Road 6 and Park Hill Road to avoid this structure, but if you decide to cross it, please use extreme caution. This structure does not impact trail users heading to the Section 13 cliffs from Lake County Road 6. Construction to replace the boardwalk will begin soon; please follow any signage, as temporary reroutes may be in place during construction for trail user safety.
- Cascade River State Park to County Road 45, including the Cascade River Loop: On the west side of the Cascade River, a small bridge failed and has been dismantled. The crossing there is still a bit precarious, so go easy. It may be a while before we can create an alternate crossing. The approximate location is: 47°43’44.5″N 90°32’12.1″W.
- Pincushion Mountain: The new route of the SHT from Pincushion Mountain Trailhead to the overlook spur trail is now open for foot travel! The SHT is no longer routed on ski trails through the area.
- County Road 70 to Arrowhead Trail: A new beaver pond has been created near the Flute Reed River between the County Road 70 trailhead and Hazel campsite. Expect to encounter some water across the Trail in this area. Also, the eastern end of the Tom Lake Road roadwalk may be temporarily flooded, again by beavers. Look for a marked, rugged path around wet area or plan for wet feet.
- The Finland area has been experiencing increased wolf activity. While there has not been any aggression shown towards humans, dogs are in particular danger in this location. For this and many other reasons, please keep your dog leashed on this and every section of the SHT. Wolves are a normal, natural part of the ecosystem on the North Shore.
- Camping is not advised at Leskinen Creek Campsite due to bear activity. A bear in this area has learned how to reach bear-bagged food and is not scared of humans. Please help us keep both you and wildlife safe by avoiding this campsite. Depending on which direction you’re headed, consider camping at the Sonju Lake, Egge Lake, or Section 13 Campsites instead.
- Always be sure to protect your food at SHT campsites and pack out everything you bring with you on the Trail. Here’s a helpful guide to reduce the chances of bear problems: https://www.dnr.
WATER CONDITIONS AND BRIDGE UPDATES (updated August 31, 2020):
- Co Rd 301/Fors Road to Castle Danger: The Encampment River is a wet-water crossing. Under normal circumstances, it’s an easy crossing with many large rocks. It is only a problem if there has been a large rain event within 48 hours. Here is a roadwalk detour map you can print and bring with you, but we suggest hiking to the river to assess it before concluding that a roadwalk is necessary.
- Co Rd 301/Fors Road to Castle Danger: Several small bridges have evolved into non-bridged minor water crossings. The Trail should be passable without those bridges. This includes Crow Creek near West Castle Danger Road. Like the Encampment River, this creek is rarely high.
- Split Rock River Loop: There is no bridge over the Split Rock River. Many trail users have crossed the river at the former bridge site — we urge caution if you decide to cross the river. Long-distance hikers can take spur trails to cross a bridge near Hwy 61 if the water level is high: 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.
- Split Rock and Beaver Bay: Just north of Fault Line Creek Campsite, a short section of the Trail is flooded due to persistent beavers. The Trail is fordable, but prepare for wet feet and legs. Some hikers have walked across the beaver dam.
- Caribou Trail to Cascade River State Park: The Spruce Creek bridge was washed slightly downstream last spring. We recommend staying off the bridge. A crossing of the creek is generally possible in low-to-normal water conditions but you will likely get wet feet.
- 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 snowmelt season or a big rain event is crossing an issue. If hiking the loop, hike it counter-clockwise – get to Trout Creek first, not at the end of your hike, just in case.
- On the west side of the Cascade River, a small bridge failed and has been dismantled. The crossing there is still a bit precarious, so go easy. We will not be able to create an alternate crossing this year. The approximate location is: 47°43’44.5″N 90°32’12.1″W.
- Kadunce River Wayside to Judge Magney State Park: Due to the record high water level of Lake Superior, a very short section of the Trail’s route along the beach (at approximately 47°47’41.9″N 90°07’05.5″W) may be underwater. Use caution passing through this spot until an alternative route can be established.
LOGGING OPERATIONS (updated August 28, 2020):
- Between Duluth and Two Harbors, there have been several forest management logging operations over the last few years on county lands. Please keep in mind that the Superior Hiking Trail Association does not own this land and that every effort is made by loggers to disrupt as little of the SHT as possible.
- Lismore Road to Normanna Road: Much of this section is owned by St. Louis County which is actively logging this area. Watch carefully for blue flagging and posts marked with SHT markings to find your way.
- Normanna Road to Sucker River Trailhead: Recent logging activity has impacted the Trail, but work has been done to clear the route.
- Bally Creek Road to Pincushion Mountain: There is an active logging operation through part of the section shared with the North Shore State Trail and/or near Cook County Road 6. Logging crews will be working Monday – Friday and will post signage for the safety of Trail users. Please use extra caution to find the route of the Trail here. Please contact Jon Benson at the Superior National Forest with questions.
- Otter Lake Road area: There was a logging operation south of Otter Lake Road that has turned about a mile of the SHT into a logging road. Follow carsonite posts.
Guidebook and Databook Errata:
Updates to the Guide to the Superior Hiking Trail, 8th Edition: Find errata at: GUIDE TO THE SUPERIOR HIKING TRAIL 8th EDITION ERRATA 9.2019
Problem Report Form
Report of Trail Condition, Problem, or Maintenance Needed:
(e.g. problem with bridges, downed trees, erosion, trail markers, or campsites)