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Trail Conditions

Superior Hiking Trail Association Staff will update this page as soon as possible with current condition reports.

Updated July 10th, 2024


Flooding Damage to SHT

On June 18, a storm released 2 to 9 inches of rainfall onto the Arrowhead region which resulted in flooding and damage on the Superior Hiking Trail.

The full extent of the storm damage to the Trail is still being determined, and areas of the Trail may still be flooded or experiencing high water levels. Please use caution while using the Trail during coming weeks.

The East Branch Baptism River bridge is washed out and will take time to replace. A short reroute will allow trail users to easily bypass the washout. Visit this page’s Section D alerts below for more information.

During high water events, trail structures like bridges, boardwalks, and even the tread itself can be damaged and not visible until the water recedes. Do not cross flooded rivers, creeks, trail, structures, or roads. Turn around, don’t drown!

If you come to a structure or area of Trail that is no longer flooded but is damaged and appears hazardous to cross, please turn around or find a safe, alternate way to rejoin the Trail on the other side of the damage. Another consideration is the Trail is currently saturated, which means encountering more mud that can create slippery or treacherous conditions.

If you come to a structure or area of Trail that is no longer flooded but is damaged and appears hazardous to cross, please turn around or find a safe, alternate way to rejoin the Trail on the other side of the damage. Please report damage to the SHTA using our Trail Incident Report. Due to the SHT’s 300-mile length, we depend on reports from trail users to keep our community informed of potential issues to the Trail. We also depend on these reports to help us make a plan to repair any damage.

To find out additional information about flooding impacting the region, we also recommend:

Trail open when dry in Duluth

The Duluth section of the Superior Hiking Trail is open for hiking when dry. Following rain or snow events, please avoid using the SHT between between the 131st Ave. W. Trailhead and Martin Road Trailhead (42 miles) for 24 hours, excluding the paved Lakewalk section of the Trail.

Wildfires – Air Quality

The increasing frequency of wildfires in the U.S. is sometimes creating dangerous air quality conditions on the Superior Hiking Trail. To check if a wildfire is impacting the air quality along the SHT, visit airnow.gov, where they also provide information on how to assess the air quality risk here. To see an interactive map of active U.S. wildfires, go here. If there is ever a wildfire burning near or on the SHT, we will list it on this page on the relevant Trail section.

Trail Conditions by Section

131st Avenue West to 123rd Avenue West 

  • The Sargent Creek Bridge has been removed and replaced with a stone step crossing.

Spirit Mountain Grand Avenue Chalet Trailhead to Skyline Parkway Trailhead

  • The snowmobile trail bridge has been replaced and the main trail has been route back across it after floods back in 2012.  The route below the snowmobile trail on both sides of Kingsbury Creek has been blazed white and is now a loop trail to the Waseca Street Trailhead near the Lake Superior Zoo.

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 to Martin Road

  • Road construction and sidewalk construction is taking place along Woodland Avenue. Please use caution along this stretch.

Martin Road Trailhead

  • Martin Road Trailhead closes temporarily following the spring thaw to protect the parking area from rutting damage in muddy conditions. This lot is managed by the MN DNR which opens the lot by Memorial Day weekend.

Martin Road Trailhead

  • Martin Road Trailhead closes temporarily following the spring thaw to protect the parking area from rutting damage in muddy conditions. This lot is managed by the MN DNR which opens the lot by Memorial Day weekend.

Lismore Road Trailhead is open!

  • The new location is located on the southern side of Lismore Road about a quarter mile from the intersection of Jean Duluth Road and Lismore Road.

Rossini Road Trail

  • Inadequately stored food attracted a bear to this trailhead which resulted in damage to personal property.   To prevent habituating wildlife to human food, always remember to secure food properly.  At trailheads, all food should be stored inside the vehicle; fabric truck bed covers will not prevent access. On the trail, all food should be hung properly or stored in bear canisters.

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). The Silver Creek Campsite is open for shared use as usual.

Lake County Road 301/Fors Road to Castle Danger

  • The Encampment River crossing is a shallow ford. Under normal circumstances, it’s an easy crossing with many large rocks. It is only a problem during spring melt or if there has been a large rain event within 48 hours. Here is a roadwalk detour map you can use, but we strongly suggest hiking to the river to assess it before concluding that a roadwalk is necessary.
  • There are several other shallow fords in this section. This includes Crow Creek near West Castle Danger Road. Like the Encampment River, this creek is rarely high.

West Castle Danger Road to Gooseberry Falls State Park

  • The Gooseberry River has washed out part of the trail away between the West Gooseberry and East Gooseberry Campsites.  Please use use caution and be aware you will have to bushwack around the area of the washout.
  • A small wooden structure has failed near Middle Gooseberry Campsite. Please avoid stepping onto the structure.

The “Gooseberry Gap” Reroute

  • The Gooseberry Gap Reroute is complete! Here is a map that show the new route!
  • The Spur Trail from Gooseberry State Park to the main SHT has small areas of slumping along the river, use caution when near the river bank.

Spur to Gooseberry Falls State Park

  • The Gooseberry Spur and the trail between East and West Gooseberry campsites has significant damage from recent flooding. Be prepared for sections of trail that have slumped into the river. In those areas, you will need to make your way through the brush to the side of the trail.

Split Rock to Beaver Bay

  • The Chapin Creek bridge has been damaged, please use caution.
  • The eastern side of the Split Rock River Loop will close for a Trail Renewal Project on September 1, 2024 and impact 1.8 miles of the main SHT corridor between the eastern junction of the spur trail to the Split Rock River Wayside Trailhead and the river crossing at the top of the loop. Trail users will be able to bypass the closed section on spur trails, the same reroute suggested when the river is running too high to ford safely. This closure includes the Southeast and Northeast Split Rock River Campsites. Overnight trail users should plan to use a different campsite on this section for the duration of the closure. To download a map of the closure and reroute, click here.
  • There is not a 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.

Penn Blvd to Minnesota HWY 1

  • A section of the Bean and Bear Lakes Loop will close for a Trail Renewal Project beginning May 15 and impacts 2.2 miles of the main SHT corridor between the western junction of the spur trail to the Bay Area Historical Society Trailhead and an all-terrain vehicle trail to the north of Bear Lake, George’s Gorge Trail. This closure will also impact 1.2 miles of the eastern spur to the Bay Area Historical Society Trailhead between the main SHT corridor and the junction with the western arm of the spur. Trail users will be able to bypass the closed section using an SHT spur trail and George’s Gorge Trail, an all-terrain vehicle trail. This closure includes the Penn Creek and Bear Lake Campsites, and all Bean and Bear Lake overlooks. Bear Lake Campsite will be rehabilitated as part of the larger renewal project. To download a map of the closure and reroute, click here.
  • The bridge over High Falls on the Baptism River has been destroyed to flood damage. Superior Hiking Trail hikers will have to detour south towards the Tettegouche Park Visitors Center to cross the river on the park road bridge. (Map) It is not recommended to do a water crossing at this location above one of the highest waterfalls in the State of Minnesota, please take the reroute.

 

Lake County Road 6 Trailhead to Lake Road 7 Trailhead

  • The bridge over the East Branch Baptism River near the Finland Community should be crossed by only one person at a time.

Lake County Road 7 to Sonju Lake Road Trailhead 

  • The bridge over the East Branch Baptism River is out.  Detour is to follow the spur trail to the Sonju Lake Road Trailhead, head west on Sonju Lake Road for about 0.2 miles and turn south on a snowmobile trail to reconnect with the SHT (reserve directions for heading northbound). The total reroute distance is about .4 miles. To see or download a map of the reroute, click here.

Sonju Lake Road Trailhead

  • The Sonju Lake Road Trailhead will be inaccessible beginning July 29th, 2024 for a road project to replace a culvert on Sonju Lake Road. The project will last between one week and 10 days.

Onion River Trailhead

  • Anticipate delays in accessing the Onion River Trailhead due to a road project on Onion River Road May-October 2024. Crews will be replacing culverts, cleaning and constructing ditches, and adding gravel on the road surface. The road will remain open but users may experience delays up to one hour, heavy truck traffic, and soft gravel that will be difficult for low-clearance and two-wheel drive vehicles to cross.

Leveaux Mountain to Lutsen

  • The bridge over the Onion River has a weight limit of two people.

Indian Camp Creek

  • The bridge over the Indian Camp Creek sustained damage from spring flooding in 2022 and was removed. This narrow creek is easily forded during normal low water conditions but please use caution, especially after rain events.

Arrowhead Trail to Otter Lake Road Trailhead

  • Carlson Creek Bridge is out on the SHT to the east of Arrowhead Trail Trailhead. This creek can be crossed during normal water levels without this bridge. Please use caution during any shallow water crossing.
  • The bridge over Andy Creek has been damaged in a recent storm. Please use caution while crossing the bridge or while crossing the shallow cobble streambed.
  • The pond at South Carlson Pond Camp is gone. The beaver pond that was there was drained most likely by spring flood damage to the existing beaver dam. Since the pond was drained there is not a water source at South Carlson Pond Camp. However there is reported to be a good water source a quarter mile north on the SHT at a Carlson Creek crossing.
General Trail Corridor Information

Please respect all Trail and bridge closures set by land managers, State Parks, or the SHTA

You can help us maintain access to the Trail and honor our agreements with private landowners by staying off closed sections. When there is a closure, we will post signs at all nearby trailheads.

A Rugged, Remote Natural Path

The Superior Hiking Trail traverses many different ecosystems, varies in its proximity to population centers, and experiences different levels of use along the length of the corridor. This means a trail users will experience a wide variety of conditions along its 300-mile route. Due to weather events, animal activity, and many other factors, conditions along the Trail can change quickly. You may encounter difficult or challenging conditions not listed on this page like trees blocking the Trail.

We work hard to coordinate annual maintenance to keep the Trail in great shape for us all to enjoy. We value and need your help with maintaining the Superior Hiking Trail. Please report any trail issues you experience on the SHT by using our Trail Incident form. The Superior Hiking Trail Association along with our mighty volunteers works diligently every year to address all trail issues as soon as possible. Interested in joining the fun? Check out our ongoing volunteer opportunities here.

Shallow Water Crossings

The SHT features many unbridged water crossings that most of the year are easily crossed and very shallow. Shallow water crossings may become impassable during periods of significant rainfall or the spring melt (waterfall season). Caution should be used when fording creeks and rivers during high-water events.

During high-water events, the force of the water can undercut creek and river banks on which the Trail and bridge abutments are built and the structure could be compromised but not visible to the eye. If you come to washed out or flooded Trail and bridges, please use caution and report the issue to the SHTA.

Wildlife Advisories

The Superior Hiking Trail is a trail that ventures into remote areas that many wild animals call home. Do not under any circumstances feed or approach any wild animal. It is highly unlikely that an animal poses a threat to you, however if an animal approaches you, that animal could be sick and should be avoided or scared away. For this and many other reasons, please keep your dog leashed on every section of the SHT and always protect your food when camping on the Trail from all animals. Wasp nests have been reported near the Trail, please be aware of this as well.