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, please ask those questions in the SHT Facebook group.
WINTER TRAIL AND TRAILHEAD INFORMATION (updated January 8, 2020)
Winter Conditions: The SHT is now blanketed in snow and ice, and the Trail has been packed down nicely by snowshoers in many sections. Snowshoes and other traction devices are recommended. See the list of generally plowed trailheads below. As a courtesy to fellow trail users, please do not hike on groomed ski trails.
The MN DNR maintains this snow-coverage map, generally updated once per week: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/snow_depth/index.html.
Many trailheads are unplowed in the winter. Please plan accordingly. Do not park in anyone’s driveway, even if it’s right next to the trailhead.
The following trailheads are generally plowed:
- Wild Valley Road
- Jay Cooke State Park Visitor Center
- Jay Cooke Grand Portage Parking Lot
- 123rd Ave West
- Magney-Snively Park
- Spirit Mountain Grand Avenue Chalet
- Spirit Mountain Upper Chalet
- Haines Road
- Twin Ponds
- Rose Garden
- Hartley Nature Center
- Martin Road
- Normanna Road
- Fox Farm Road
- Lake County Demonstration Forest
- Fors Road
- Gooseberry Falls State Park
- Split Rock River State Wayside
- Split Rock State Park
- Beaver Bay
- Silver Bay – Penn Boulevard
- Tettegouche State Park
- Finland Recreation Center
- Crosby-Manitou State Park
- Temperance River State Wayside
- Britton Peak
- Oberg Mountain
- Lutsen Mountains Recreation Area
- Caribou Trail
- Cascade River State Park
- Bally Creek Road (northern parking lot only)
- Pincushion Mountain Recreation Area
- Kadunce River State Wayside
- Judge Magney State Park (the big parking lot isn’t plowed but there is room to park cars right by the contact station)
- Caribou River State Wayside: This has been sporadically plowed some years, but last year it was mostly unplowed. Do not rely on this parking lot being accessible, and do not park on Highway 61 here. It’s in a dangerous curve.
- Pincushion Mountain in Grand Marais: The new route of the SHT is now open for winter hiking! As a reminder, you must stay off groomed ski trails.
- Arrowhead Trail: This road is plowed in the winter, but our trailhead may not be plowed. The road is not wide enough to safely park on. Until we hear a report that this situation has changed, we recommend avoiding Arrowhead Trail’s parking lot or bringing a few enthusiastic shovelers with you.
- Jackson Lake Road and Otter Lake Road: These roads are generally not plowed at all during winter. There is no reliable access to the northern terminus.
TRAILHEAD CLOSURES AND ISSUES (updated November 18, 2019):
- 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.
- 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. 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 December 2, 2019):
- Southern Terminus to Wild Valley Road: Near the Red River Valley Campsite, the SHT parallels an area where locals target-shoot. Be aware that you may hear gunfire during your hike in this area. As always during active hunting seasons, wear blaze orange.
- Enger Park to Rose Garden: The City of Duluth recently completed a major project to restore the Lakewalk after is was damaged during an October 2018 wind storm. The route is now open again.
- Reeves Road to 301/Fors Road: There is a short section of trail along Silver Creek that will be rerouted in 2020. In the meantime, use caution in this short stretch.
- 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 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 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 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.
- Split Rock River Wayside to Beaver Bay: A recent windstorm brought down numerous trees south of Chapins Ridge, some that may require going off-trail to pass.
- 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. 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.
- 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. The SHT is submerged underwater for a short span. Personal flotation devices are not required, but may be recommended. Also, the eastern end of the Tom Lake Road roadwalk is 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.
WATER CONDITIONS AND BRIDGE UPDATES (updated October 28, 2019):
- 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: Split Rock River Bridge is out indefinitely. (Here’s a recent update on the project to fix the trail and river crossing there.) Long-distance hikers can take spur trails to continue their hike through 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.
- Cramer Road to Skou Road: The failing bridge over Fredenberg Creek was removed by an SHTA crew in October. This is now a natural crossing of the generally-calm creek.
- Caribou Trail to Cascade River State Park: The Spruce Creek bridge was washed slightly downstream this 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) is underwater. Use caution passing through this spot until an alternative route can be established.
LOGGING OPERATIONS (updated October 16, 2019):
- 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. Use extra caution to find the route of the Trail here.
- 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.
8th EDITION GUIDE UPDATES (updated September 2019)
Updates to the Guide to the Superior Hiking Trail, 8th Edition: Things are always changing. Check out the PDF: 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)