Current Trail Conditions
HUNTING: (Updated October 30, 2018): Please be aware that there are a variety of hunting seasons throughout autumn. The Superior Hiking Trail exists on a patchwork of private and public lands where hunting may be taking place. Trail users are advised to wear orange when hiking in autumn as a general precaution.
Most of the SHT will close, as always, during firearms deer season in November (11/03 – 11/18). Please plan ahead and follow any posted signs. The Trail is closed anywhere where there is private land within a section of Trail. Your cooperation keeps our landowners happy and ensures the future of our Trail.
The section from 301/Fors Road to Castle Danger Trailhead closes EARLY for firearms deer season at the request of a local landowner. It is currently CLOSED until November 18.
The following sections CLOSE as of 11/03:
Rossini Road Trailhead north to Sugarloaf Road Trailhead
Caribou Trail Trailhead north to Bally Creek Road
County Road 58/Lindskog Road Trailhead north to Andy Lake Road Trailhead
In all OPEN sections outside of the City of Duluth, please be aware that hunting is very likely taking place. SHTA does not recommend hiking on any open section of the Superior Hiking Trail outside of the City of Duluth during this time.
RECENT WINDSTORM ALERT: In early October the Arrowhead suffered a dramatic windstorm with an additional wind event on October 10. Check out our recent blog post on the storm’s damage and see below for more information.
TRAIL DETOURS AND ISSUES (updated October 25, 2018):
RECENT WINDSTORM: A heavy windstorm on October 3rd with an additional wind event on October 10 have severely impacted the Superior Hiking Trail.
In the Duluth area: As of October 25, the City of Duluth had closed some of the Lakewalk, but reopened the section from the pier to Endion Station. We will offer an alternate route once things settle down there.
In Cook County: We estimate, based on reports from Trail users and our own assessments, that the number of downed trees is in the high hundreds. Most of these will not be able to be removed until spring chainsaw clearing. For more information, check out our recent blog post on the storm.
The US Forest Service has cleared two sections of heavily-impacted Trail for us: Pincushion to Cook County Road 58 and Cook County Road 58 to Cook County Road 14 (southwestern crossing). Expect all other sections of SHT north of Grand Marais to be severely impacted by many downed trees.
Specific section reports related to the windstorm:
- Finland area: Expect more downed trees than usual for October, but the worst report we’ve had so far is 6 downed trees in a mile.
- Britton Peak to Oberg Mountain: There are some downed trees in this section but not as many as other parts of Cook County.
- Oberg Mountain Lutsen and Lutsen to Caribou Trail: We’ve received reports of many downed trees. Take caution and be prepared to climb over or around downed trees until we can clear them.
- Cook County Road 14 to Kadunce River Wayside: Remains uncleared. Expect downed trees.
- Kadunce River Wayside Spur Trail to Judge Magney SP: We’ve cleared a few dozen trees on the spur from Hwy. 61 to the footbridge. However, we also had a report of many snarly trees down between Kadunce River and the Lakewalk.
- Judge Magney SP to Cook County Road 70 (Camp 20 Rd.): Be ready for some serious tree-climbing. For some reason, the blown-down trees in this stretch of the Trail decided to all fall onto the Trail, not perpendicular to it. Be careful: you could lose your way here, until hikers beat down detours.
- Cook County Road 70 (Camp 20 Rd.) to Jackson Lake Road: Expect mostly clear sailing between Camp 20 Rd. and where the SHT goes back into the woods off Tom Lake Rd. From that point, be ready to high-step, crunch under or squeeze around 100+ downed trees.
Non-windstorm trail detours and issues:
- Enger Park to Rose Garden Section: Even though it appears you can’t access the I-35 pedestrian bridge between Railroad Drive and Michigan Street because of construction on Michigan Street, you can indeed get through; they have maintained pedestrian access there. But be aware that that could change.
- Enger Park to Rose Garden Section: In Canal Park, note a short detour along Harbor Drive near the Minnesota Slip (pedestrian) bridge that avoids construction on the sea wall there. Follow the well marked detour along the edge of the DECC (convention center) that gets you to the pedestrian lift bridge (or vice versa).
As of October 1 through possibly mid-November, that pedestrian lift bridge connecting 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Rock slide at Carlton Peak: The SHT was temporarily closed from the Hiway 61 wayside to Carlton Peak, but it has been reopened. We will soon blaze an official reroute around the recent rockslide at Carlton Peak.
TRAILHEAD CLOSURES AND ISSUES (Updated October 2, 2018):
- Lismore Road Trailhead had a couple of car break-ins this year. As with any trailhead, hikers are reminded not to leave valuables in your cars. Take extra precaution when parking at Lismore. Martin Road may be a better choice.
- 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. Note that this bridge construction project remains ongoing as of 10/1/18.
- County Road 70 Trailhead (between Judge Magney State Park and Arrowhead Trail) is open, but the road to County Road 70 is in very poor condition for the last 3/10th of a mile. There is a small day-use ONLY parking area on Camp 20 Road if you don’t want to drive farther on County Road 70. A better option for overnight parking is within Judge Magney State Park (state park permit required), Arrowhead Trail, or Jackson Lake Road.
- Andy Lake Road on the way to the Andy Lake Road Trailhead is very overgrown this year. While you can park at the trailhead, you may not want to because your car is going to get scratched on the way there.
WATER CONDITIONS (updated October 15, 2018):
- 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. 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 washed out during a recent heavy rain event. 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. 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.
- 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.
LOGGING (updated October 2, 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.
- Between North Egge Campsite and South Sonju Campsite between Lake County Road 7 to Crosby-Manitou State Park, there was a logging operation adjacent to the Trail. There is a logging road crossing the SHT in this area.
- 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 was logging south of Jackson Lake Road. Woodland Caribou Pond Campsite has been compromised in the process and is currently missing its sign. Look for a tipi constructed to mark the campsite entrance.
- North of Jackson Lake Road, logging took place this summer.
- 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 and the Trail should be easy to follow.
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)