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.
General update: Bug season is here. Presence or absence of bugs is impossible to forecast: they typically have several surges throughout the summer.
TRAILHEAD CLOSURES AND ISSUES (updated July 10, 2019):
- Beck’s Road/123rd Avenue West had some break-ins recently. Do not leave anything valuable in your car.
- 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 August 19, 2019):
- Fond du Lac to 123rd Ave W: The South St. Louis Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will begin restoration of Mission Creek near the SHT spur trail from the Fond du Lac (131st Ave W) trailhead in August. Their work will be contained in the stream corridor, and the SHT will not be closed, but all trail users should take caution around equipment and the construction zone outlined in red in the image below.Please call Ann at the SWCD office with any questions or concerns (218-723-4867).
- Enger Park to Rose Garden: The City of Duluth has closed some of the Lakewalk due to an October 2018 windstorm, but has reopened the section from the pier to Endion Station. Until the city completes rebuilding the Lakewalk, plan to use this alternate route between Leif Erickson Park and Endion Station.
- Rose Garden to Hartley Nature Center: We’ve received reports of a ground wasp nest along the Trail inside Hartley Park near the junction that leads to the Fairmont Overlook (Coordinates: 46.834241,-92.08043).
- Hartley Nature Center to Martin Road: The City of Duluth is performing utility work on Woodland Avenue, near Hartley Nature Center. Simultaneously, a Duluth-area youth enrichment program called Duluth DEVO and the Duluth Composite Mountain Bike Team have received permission from Duluth Parks, Hartley Nature Center and the SHTA to use that short section of the SHT between Hartley Nature Center and where the Trail joins Woodland Avenue. They want to keep the young cyclists off Woodland Avenue from their staging spot at Concordia Lutheran Church. The weekly rides begin in mid-July and end in early October.
- Reeves Road to 301/Fors Road: There is a short section of trail along Silver Creek that needs to be rerouted upslope. 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 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 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.
- 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.
- Cook County windstorm: For more information, check out our blog post on the storm. Things have been mostly cleared, but there may be a patch of remaining windstorm trees here or there. It shouldn’t be overly dramatic.
- Looking ahead to autumn: Firearms deer season this year is November 9-24. Major portions of the SHT will be closed due to private landownership. The sections that remain open are not recommended for travel during those weeks. The only recommended place to hike the SHT during firearms deer season is within the City of Duluth. More details will be posted as the season nears.
- The Finland area (particularly near the SHT parking lot on County Road 7) 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.
WATER CONDITIONS AND BRIDGE UPDATES (updated July 12, 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 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. (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: Fredenberg Creek bridge should be avoided due to a structural deficiency. You should be able to scout around to find a natural crossing of this generally-calm creek. This will be removed soon.
- Caribou Trail to Cascade River State Park: The Spruce Creek bridge was washed slightly downstream this spring. We recommend staying off the bridge.
- 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.
LOGGING OPERATIONS (updated July 12, 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. Logging operations will be taking place Monday through Friday, not on weekends, and safety signs will be in place.
- 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
Problem Report Form
Report of Trail Condition, Problem, or Maintenance Needed:
(e.g. problem with bridges, downed trees, erosion, trail markers, or campsites)