Current Trail Conditions
GENERAL TRAILWIDE CONDITIONS (Updated May 22, 2018)
It has been really dry lately. Although there isn’t currently a fire ban, we ask that hikers not make fires right now.
The plus side of the dryness: less mud than usual. (Though you still might encounter some, probably.)
TRAIL AND TRAILHEAD CLOSURES AND ISSUES (Updated May 24, 2018)
- Martin Road Trailhead is closed while it dries out, but there is space for 6 vehicles or so on the drive to the gate. For any long term parking, please divert to Lismore Road Trailhead.
- Sucker River Trailhead and Fox Farm Road Trailhead are affected by a road bridge construction project. 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, but a road bridge in between those trailheads is out. 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 going will be slow as traffic may be reduced to one-lane.
- 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.
- Cascade River State Park: In 2018, one of two spurs from the wayside on Highway 61 will be closed for maintenance. You will still be able to access the cascades by using the open spur. This closure will not affect the main SHT.
WET WATER CROSSINGS ON THE TRAIL (updated May 22, 2018):
Snowmelt season is here. Expect both the Encampment River and Trout Creek to be high! Other creeks and rivers may also be extremely high.
- Co Rd 301/Fors Road to Castle Danger: The Encampment River is a wet-water crossing and was last reported to be okay to cross.
Under normal circumstances, it’s an easy crossing with many large rocks to help you across. It is only a problem if there has been a large rain event within 48 hours or so, or during spring snowmelt season. Other than that, you will likely not have a problem crossing. There is a posted roadwalk detour map at Castle Danger Trailhead and High Ridge Road, where the roadwalk detour would begin.
- 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.
- 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 in doubt, use the trail on the west side of the Cascade River. If hiking the loop, hike it counter-clockwise – get to Trout Creek first, not at the end of your hike!
TRAIL DETOURS AND ISSUES (updated May 22, 2018):
- Chester Creek Re-route: A section of the SHT along Chester Creek washed out 8/26. That stretch of trail is closed but can be easily detoured by using the west side of Chester Creek. This will not be fixed until 2018. Directions: Northbound on the SHT, at the 2nd pedestrian bridge cross to the west side of Chester Creek and continue to Skyline. Southbound, start hiking on the west side, and at the 1st pedestrian bridge you come to, you can cross back over to the east side.
- 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/Fors Road to Castle Danger Section. If you’re just going out for a dayhike, consider choosing a different section for right now.
- 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.
LOGGING (updated April 4, 2018):
- Between Duluth and Two Harbors, there have been several forest management logging operations over the last few years on county lands. The trail is back in place and marked. You will be able to watch the forest regrow while hiking some sections in this area. 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: This winter there has been 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. The logging did not impact the Sundling Creek Campsite. There may be more logging in this area. Follow any posted signs.
- 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.
- Jackson Lake Road area: In summer 2018 there will be a logging operation on state and private lands in the Jackson Lake Road area. It will impact a very small section of the SHT (around 100 feet). Signs will be posted.
- 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. We will do trail rehabilitation once the logging operation is finished, timeline is currently unknown.
ANIMAL ADVISORY (updated May 22, 2018)
- In fall 2017, a bear was hanging out at Bear Lake Campsite, possibly due to hiker-related behavior. Presumably the same bear has recently been spotted in the area again this spring. This is a reminder to everyone to PLEASE bear-bag your food and keep a clean campsite regardless of the season! Bears quickly learn where they can find food; do not teach them that SHT campsites are a potential food source!
8th EDITION GUIDE UPDATES
Updates to the Guide to the Superior Hiking Trail, 8th Edition: Things are always changing. Check out the PDF: 8th Edition Errata
Problem Report Form
Report of Trail Condition, Problem, or Maintenance Needed:
(e.g. problem with bridges, downed trees, erosion, trail markers, or campsites)