Trail Conditions

Staff of the Superior Hiking Trail Association update this page as soon as we get noteworthy conditions reports.

Hunting Updates (updated November 30, 2021)

There are numerous open seasons during fall. Please wear blaze orange, educate yourself on hunting seasons, and do not be surprised to encounter hunters on or near the SHT.

  • Jay Cooke State Park hosts a muzzleloader season each December and the SHT will be closed within park boundaries. This year’s hunt is December 4-8.

Trailhead Updates and Issues (updated November 30, 2021)

Winter Updates: Many trailheads are not plowed in the winter and some roads to our northernmost trailheads are unplowed. The 9th Edition Guidebook and the Databook both list which trailheads are accessible in winter. Always have a backup plan (or two!) when visiting the SHT in winter in case a trailhead has not been plowed or in case the trailhead is full. Cars have been towed for blocking the path of plows, so please find somewhere else to recreate if the trailhead is full.

Specific trailhead issues are listed below:

  • Wild Valley Road Trailhead and vicinity: Some trail users have reported hearing gunshots close to the SHT at Wild Valley Trailhead. 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.
  • Wild Valley Road Trailhead had a car broken into in August 2021.
  • 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.
  • Lake County Demonstration Forest Trailhead had a car vandalized in October 2021.
  • Reeves Road Trailhead had cars broken into in August 2021.
  • Highway 1 Trailhead had cars vandalized in September 2021.

Trail Closures, Detours, and Other Issues (updated November 30, 2021)

If you encounter a section of the SHT signed as CLOSED, please stay off. You can help us maintain access to the Trail and honor our agreements with private landowners by staying off closed sections. When the Trail is routed through a trailhead, take a moment to check if there are any additional signs posted at the trailhead.

  • Duluth SHT: As of November 12, all sections of the SHT in Duluth are CLOSED during the freeze/thaw cycle  (press release available here). You can check the open/closed status for the Trail in Duluth by visiting the City’s Natural Surface Trails page
  • Enger Park to Rose Garden: The SHTA and the City of Duluth are aware that there are multiple encampments of people experiencing homelessness in this vicinity. You may experience garbage on and near the Trail, including broken glass among other unsanitary debris. Sturdy footwear is recommended for those who traverse this section.
  • Hartley Nature Center Trailhead to Martin Road Trailhead: Vermilion Rd. is undergoing utility replacement work and a very short section of the road is currently closed. Hikers should be able to walk through the work activity but vehicles cannot pass. There will be more work on Vermilion Rd. in the near future and may include paving the now gravel section between the cemeteries.
  • Gun Club Road to Lake County Road 301/Fors Road: The SHT is closed from Gun Club Road to Silver Creek Campsite. Long-distance hikers can bypass the area (heading northeast-bound) by following a roadwalk on Gun Club Road to Lake County Road 301 (Fors Road) and reconnecting with the SHT at Lake County Road 301 Trailhead (see map below). The Silver Creek Campsite is open for shared use as usual.
  • Lake County Road 301/Fors Road to Castle Danger: Encampment River area has experienced a large slump near the river crossing. Use caution until a reroute is in place.
  • West Castle Danger Road to Gooseberry Falls State Park: A small wooden structure has failed near Middle Gooseberry Campsite. Please avoid stepping onto the structure.
  • 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.  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. Cross Highway 61 and walk 1.2 miles north on Blueberry Hill Road to connect to the SHT and then continue east on the SHT to Split Rock River Wayside. No parking on Blueberry Hill Road. No camping is available between Gooseberry Falls State Park and Blueberry Hill Campsite! Please plan accordingly.
  • Split Rock to Beaver Bay: A new mountain bike trail is being built near the SHT. The new trail passes close to the Fault Line Creek campsite (and particularly close to the latrine). Be aware that there are crews working in the area, stay alert and never pass someone performing trail work (especially if they are operating equipment or power tools).  Pay special attention to signage and intersections to ensure that you stay on the correct trail.
  • Cascade River State Park to Cook 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 a bit precarious, generally not due to water but due to a steep approach to the crossing. It is possible to get through, just use extra caution. The approximate location is: 47°43’44.5″N 90°32’12.1″W.
  • Bally Creek Road to Pincushion Mountain: A bridge between the Gunflint Trail road crossing and the Pincushion Mountain Trailhead is severely eroded at the banks and may be dangerous to cross during wet or icy conditions.
  • Pincushion Mountain to Lindskog Road: Near Lindskog Road Trailhead, the trail parallels Woods Creek and severe erosion has developed. Use extreme caution on this stretch of trail.

Animal Advisories (updated November 12, 2021)

  • The Finland area has been experiencing increased wolf activity. There has been no aggression shown towards humans, but 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 Crossings (updated September 22, 2021)

General water crossings reminder: After large rain events, water levels at natural crossings such as Encampment River, Split Rock River, Trout Creek, etc, can fluctuate wildly. Specific water crossings updates:

  • 131st Avenue West to 123rd Avenue West: The Sargent Creek Bridge is closed and a reroute is in place to a rock crossing. The closed bridge will be removed in winter.
  • Lake County Road 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 strongly suggest hiking to the river to assess it before concluding that a roadwalk is necessary.
  • Lake County Road 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 during low water — we urge caution if you decide to cross the river. The river may be impassable during high water events. An alternate route exists on 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.
  • 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. We plan to replace the Spruce Creek Bridge during the 2022 season.
  • 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.
    • On the west side of the Cascade River, a small bridge has been dismantled. The crossing there is a bit precarious due to steep banks on either side (not due to water, generally) but can be crossed with caution. The approximate location is: 47°43’44.5″N 90°32’12.1″W.

Timber Harvest Operations (updated December 3, 2021)

  • Lake County Road 7 to George Crosby Manitou State Park: Timber has been harvested along the SHT between Lake County Road 7 and the first crossing (northbound) with the North Shore State Trail (approximately 0.4 miles from Co. Rd. 7). The route of the SHT through the site is currently marked with orange flagging — please follow these flags to stay on the Trail. Note: There are two forestry roads that cross the Trail, and you may see blue painted forestry boundary markings on some trees. Be sure to watch for rectangular SHT blazes, and disregard the other boundary markings. Please proceed with caution through the site. Contact Lake County Forestry with questions/concerns at (218) 834-8340.
  • Pincushion Mountain to Lindskog Road: A small selective timber harvest is happening near the trail with reports of debris on or near the trail. The location is very close to Lindskog Road. It is anticipated that the logging will be done on or around December 3.