Current Trail Conditions
TRAILHEAD CLOSURES AND ISSUES (Updated July 11, 2018)
- Lismore Road Trailhead had a couple of car break-ins this spring. As with any trailhead, hikers are reminded not to leave valuables in your cars.
- Sucker River Trailhead and Fox Farm Road Trailhead are affected by a road bridge construction project between the two trailheads. You can access Sucker River Trailhead from the Duluth area (via Pequaywan Lake Road to Fox Farm Road) and you can access Fox Farm Trailhead from the Two Harbors area. September 1 is an anticipated re-opening.
- Beaver Bay Trailhead will remain open but will be impacted by County Road 4/Lax Lake Road construction. The road will be open to the trailhead during construction but it may be one lane traffic only.
- Highway 1 Trailhead has reopened after maintenance work.
- Sugarloaf Road Trailhead has reopened after maintenance work. It still has flagging up blocking a soft spot in the fresh gravel. Please park around that spot while flagging remains up.
- Cook County Road 1/Cramer Road Trailhead has reopened after maintenance work.
- Lutsen Mountains Recreation Area Trailhead: Due to bridge construction, there will be no vehicle access to the SHT trailhead at Lutsen Mountains from May through mid-August.
An interim parking lot will be the lower parking lot (47.659296, -90.712070). This is on the right (east) side of Ski Hill Road as you head uphill toward the Recreation Area. It is just past The Mountain Inn and across from Caribou Highlands Lodge. Parking here will add about 0.8 mile to your hike. Please do not park in any lot other than the lower parking lot.
ALL THINGS WATER RELATED (updated July 9, 2018):
- Jay Cooke State Park has no running water for the foreseeable future. Bring your own water or be prepared to purify natural sources of water.
- 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, or during spring snowmelt season. There is a posted roadwalk detour map at Castle Danger Trailhead and High Ridge Road, where the roadwalk detour would begin but we suggest hiking to the river to assess it before concluding that a roadwalk is necessary.
- Crow Creek near West Castle Danger Road: The bridge over Crow Creek was washed out during a recent heavy rain event. The creek is now a wet-water crossing. Take caution entering and exiting the creek at each bank. Like the Encampment River, this creek is rarely high. General rule: if the Encampment River is safe to cross, Cross Creek will likely also be safe to cross, and vice-versa.
- Split Rock River Loop: Split Rock River Bridge is out. 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.
- 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.
- Near the Beaver River Campsites near Beaver Bay there is a closed bridge. A flagged re-route will bring you to a better crossing.
- 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.
TRAIL DETOURS AND ISSUES (updated July 5, 2018):
- As of October 1 through possibly mid-November, the pedestrian lift bridge that connects Harbor Drive to Canal Park will be in the upright/uncrossable position due to work being done on the William A. Irvin. Continue down Harbor Drive to sidewalk at end of canal and cross to Baywalk or vice-versa. This detour will add approximately 0.3 miles to the section.
- The Fond du Lac spur trail along Mission Creek is officially re-opening this week! Go and enjoy. You can also access the SHT from the nearby bike trail, or use both to create a loop.
- New trail was constructed near Chester Creek and connects to a short segment near the Aftenro retirement home. This new trail segment eliminates about 8 blocks of street walking on Skyline Drive and 19th Avenue East. The SHT still follows Junction Road through the UMD campus to the Bagley Nature Area.
- On the descent to Crow Creek (south) near Castle Danger: a rock slide has occurred, making the southern approach to Crow Creek challenging. This is in the Lake County Road 301 to Castle Danger Section. We have done some rehabilitation work on this section so it looks better than the photo below, but use extra caution as you ascend or descend.
- The Gooseberry Re-route: 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 sparsely-signed 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 at about 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!
This detour will continue through 2018 as we pursue wetlands permitting and assess route finalization.
- Cascade River State Park Spur Trail: One of two spurs from the wayside on Highway 61 is closed for maintenance. You will still be able to access the cascades by using the open spur. Follow signage. This closure will not affect the main SHT.
LOGGING (updated July 5, 2018):
- 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.
- Rossini Road area: Logging north of Rossini Road.
- Sundling Creek spur trail: There was logging on this spur trail, but it impacted only a small portion of it. You can follow the spur trail with no navigational issues.
- Cook County Rd. 6 area: There has been an active logging operation beginning at the point where the SHT crosses County Rd. 6 heading east and continuing near the section of trail shared with the North Shore State Trail.
- There has been logging near Jackson Lake Road. Woodland Caribou Pond Campsite has been compromised in the process and is currently missing its sign. You can still camp here and the logging should be done.
- 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. The trail is flagged with hot pink flagging tape — it should be easy to follow and it is easy walking.
ANIMAL ADVISORY (updated July 11, 2018)
Reminders about bears from DNR: Users of campsites need to take precautions to keep a clean camp, not leave any food or food scented containers in tents or packs (or vehicles!) that are easy to access. A bear’s nose is phenomenal & once they successfully find food, they are likely to come back looking for food again. As long as people take proper precautions & the bear finds no reward for its nuisance behavior, it should stop coming around.
Here are our current bear reports:
- A bear smelled food in a jeep with a canvas top at Fox Farm Road Trailhead. If you drive a similar vehicle, you will want to guarantee no garbage or food is left inside when you leave it at a trailhead.
- Bear Lake Campsite had a bear reported this spring.
- West Kennedy Creek Campsite had a very persistent bear hanging around camp.
- Section 13 Campsite had an active bear hanging around.
- Lake Agnes Campsites also have bear activity.
- The Little Brule Campsites near Judge Magney State Park had a bear sighting.
The above list is longer than any other bear activity list SHTA has ever dealt with. This is likely due to increased use of the SHT by inexperienced trail users combined with a late spring. Carry a bear canister or bear-bag your food, and please help the trail by helping to spread the word about proper food storage. Never leave your food unattended in camp.
8th EDITION GUIDE UPDATES
Problem Report Form
Report of Trail Condition, Problem, or Maintenance Needed:
(e.g. problem with bridges, downed trees, erosion, trail markers, or campsites)