Current Trail Conditions
Staff of the Superior Hiking Trail Association update this page as soon as we get noteworthy conditions reports.
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: Warmer, spring-like weather has arrived on the SHT, but snow and ice remain in most sections. In general, where there is not snow or ice, you’re likely to encounter mud or soggy, saturated trail. Consider packing microspikes or other traction footwear in case you encounter slippery ice, and please stay off wet, muddy to avoid causing damage to the Trail. Same goes for trailhead parking areas and primitive roads to trailheads — please be mindful to avoid damaging these shared resources during the spring thaw.
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.
TRAIL AND TRAILHEAD INFORMATION (updated April 6, 2021)
TRAILHEAD UPDATES AND ISSUES:
- Camping is not allowed at trailheads. The 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 valuables in your car at any SHT trailhead.
Specific trailhead updates:
- Wild Valley Road Trailhead and vicinity: 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.
- Wild Valley Road: This trailhead is now temporarily closed and gated during spring thaw.
- Martin Road Trailhead is temporarily closed during the spring freeze-thaw cycle.
- 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.
TRAIL DETOURS AND ISSUES (updated April 6, 2021):
- Duluth SHT: The SHT inside city limits is open when dry or frozen and closed during wet weather or when trail conditions are soft and wet. Find the current open/closed status for the Trail in Duluth by visiting the City’s Natural Surface Trails page.
- Spirit Mountain: The “138 Steps” reroute project is now complete, and the new route heading up the hill from Knowlton Creek is now open! Watch for signage to stay on the new route.
- 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 in recent years. 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.
- Eastern Fox Farm Road to Rossini Road: Active timber harvest in this area has blocked part of the Trail with trees and brush (3/22/2021). Additional harvest may be taking place in the coming weeks – use extreme caution if you are in the area. The route through the logged area is temporarily flagged. We recommend avoiding this section for now.
- 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 Lake County Road 2 to Gun Club Road to Lake County Road 301 (Fors Road) and reconnecting with the SHT at Lake County Road 301 Trailhead. The Silver Creek Campsite is open for shared use as usual. A short reroute to reopen the Trail is in the works.
- 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. No camping is available between Gooseberry Falls State Park and Blueberry Hill Campsite.
- 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).
- 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 a bit precarious. 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.
- County Road 70 to Arrowhead Trail: The eastern end of the Tom Lake Road roadwalk may be temporarily flooded by beavers. Look for a rugged path around wet area or plan for wet feet.
- 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.
- Always 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 encounters: https://www.dnr.
WATER CROSSINGS (updated April 6, 2021):
General water crossings reminder:
- In spring, water levels at natural crossings such as Encampment River, Split Rock River, Trout Creek, etc, can fluctuate wildly. Snowmelt combined with spring rains means this is the most challenging time of year to get across these natural crossings. Do not underestimate the current, frigid temperature of the water, or slipperiness of rocks.
Specific water crossings updates:
- 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 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.
- 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 but you will likely get wet feet. 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. If hiking the loop, go 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. The approximate location is: 47°43’44.5″N 90°32’12.1″W.
TIMBER HARVEST OPERATIONS (updated March 22, 2021):
- Between Duluth and Two Harbors, there have been several forest management and timber harvest 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 harvesters 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 Western Fox Farm Road: Recent logging activity has impacted the Trail, but work has been done to clear the route.
- Eastern Fox Farm Road to Rossini Road: Logging in this area has obliterated part of the Trail as of 3/22/21. Additional logging may be taking place in the coming week – use extreme caution if you are in the area. The route through the logged area is temporarily flagged. We recommend avoiding this section for now.
- Lake County Road 7 to George Crosby Manitou State Park: Timber harvest activity has begun 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.
- Bally Creek Road to Pincushion Mountain: There is an active timber harvest operation near the Trail by Forest Road 115. 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 timber harvest operation south of Otter Lake Road that has turned about a mile of the SHT into a forestry 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