Superior Hiking Trail

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Kevinl
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Superior Hiking Trail

Post by Kevinl » Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:15 am

I just posted this trip report over at backpacker.com and decided since many people pass by many trailheads for this one on their way to Grand Portage that I might as well toss it out here too. The SHT is a great trail, , very well marked, with so many trailheads that there are endless hiking options.

On Monday and Tuesday this week I hiked the section from Highway 1 (top side of Tettegouche SP) south to Split Rock SP. I left my bike at Split Rock for a shuttle and left my car at Highway 1. Pictures of the trip are here: http://outdoors.webshots.com/slideshow/577197669kOiQwk

The first day, from Highway 1 to Silver Bay, I started hiking at 11 am. The trail was in amazing shape for this early in the spring. Patches of ice in spots but nothing I couldn't get around or over, small hardly noticeable patches. Mud wasn't a bother either, especially earlier in the day when it was still frozen. It was a beautiful walk, lots of ups and downs for midwestern standards. Early on I passed a rushing Baptism River High Falls and then followed the river for awhile. Rose up to the ridgetops with nice views of same river in the valley too. Big views from Mount Trudee and from Round Mountain. Same at overlooks of Bear and Bean Lakes. Met a man hiking with his dog. This section was slow miles for me, maybe from the up and down, maybe from dawdling at the overwhelming views. Got to the Silver Bay Trailhead (11 miles) somewhere between 4 and 5.

Walked a couple miles to the AmericInn and took a room. I love camping, but the forecast was for 18 degrees and this place had a 110 foot figure eight water slide and cable TV and my pack was much lighter without tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad. I have never hiked using a hotel like this, but I have no complaints about doing it this way this time. My wife called it "smart." I had hoped to push on to Cove Point Lodge, which would have been another 7 or so miles, and which has a direct outlet to the trail, but opted for hiking through Silver Bay instead. I saw the first deer of the day in town. Also ate pizza.

Started second day around 7:30. After getting away from town the trail hits the Beaver River with nice falls and follows that river for a ways. Saw a snowshoe hare after trail left river. More big ridgetop views of Lake Superior and Beaver River valley. Could hear waterfalls in the valley. After Beaver Pond saw what I think was a mink. Also traveled through bog with what seemed like dozens of woodpeckers flitting around. Something like 16 miles to Split Rock SP, where I ate pop tarts and began my bike ride. Didn't see anyone on the trail all day.

I can't believe how accessible the trail was this early. I hiked in short pants both days and kept dropping top layers. Lovely time.


jerry
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Re: Superior Hiking Trail

Post by jerry » Thu Apr 01, 2010 8:31 pm

If it had been June instead of March would you have stayed at any of the campgrounds/camp sites along the trail? How did they look? Did you lock your bike? I've thought about doing that trail using my car and bike as you have done it. Thanks for the pictures!

jerry

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Re: Superior Hiking Trail

Post by Backpacker534 » Fri Apr 02, 2010 6:57 am

Those were some nice pictures, Kevin! A while back I "tagged" the Superior Hiking Trail as one of the trails I'd like to research and hike sometime in the future. So, you basically did 27 miles in two days. It seems pretty ambitious, especially after seeing some of your pictures with the boulders on the trail and the rocky terrain. Were you pretty tired at the end of the day?


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Re: Superior Hiking Trail

Post by Kevinl » Fri Apr 02, 2010 8:28 am

Hi Jerry. If it would have been June I definitely would have stayed in the campgrounds. Most have at least a couple tent pads. a place for a fire, and a toilet (, just a squatter, open air, no walls). One nice thing about the SHT is that the campgrounds are usually about 4-6 miles apart, although some are clumped even closer, so you can be flexible about distances covered. I did lock my bike. Split Rock SP has several bike racks and half my ride was on the paved Gitche-Gami Trail, which I think runs from Gooseberry SP to Beaver Bay. There's also a couple good shuttle services. One has a regular schedule on weekends and the other will take you where you want when you want but costs a bit more.

BP534, I'm still a bit sore. Mainly my quads from the up and down stuff--the longer day, day 2, felt more comfortable than the first. The distance was a bit ambitious for me, but easily doable, considering I was only carrying around 5 pounds (lunches, jacket, layers, toothbrush etc.). But yeah, I was walking funny, slow, come night. There is some good trail info at www.shta.org

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Re: Superior Hiking Trail

Post by Backpacker534 » Fri Apr 02, 2010 9:10 am

Kevin, I probably average 8-11 miles a day, obviously some days less, some days more, but I always have a full pack of 40-45 lbs. so I guess I just assumed that you had a full pack too. Those are still fairly good trail days even without the extra weight, but I'm sure it becomes much more tolerable with the weight you were carrying. I guess it is also a "plus" to have the campsites so close together because, like you said, it gives you more options when it comes to planning the length of your days. I definitely want to hike there some day!

I remember a lot of up and down on the Minong Ridge when we hiked that several years back, but for me, I think the most stressing hike I've done was the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail in Pennsylvania two years ago. There were quite a few ups and downs there as well and the trails seemed to have a lot of boulders and rocky terrain to cover which made it a bit more challenging. By the end of a couple of those days I was pretty sore and also had that "funny walk" going when I finally dropped my pack at the end of the day. :lol:


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Re: Superior Hiking Trail

Post by Mr Blister » Fri May 20, 2011 9:13 pm

Backpacker534 wrote:Kevin, I probably average 8-11 miles a day, obviously some days less, some days more, but I always have a full pack of 40-45 lbs. so I guess I just assumed that you had a full pack too. Those are still fairly good trail days even without the extra weight, but I'm sure it becomes much more tolerable with the weight you were carrying. I guess it is also a "plus" to have the campsites so close together because, like you said, it gives you more options when it comes to planning the length of your days. I definitely want to hike there some day!

I remember a lot of up and down on the Minong Ridge when we hiked that several years back, but for me, I think the most stressing hike I've done was the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail in Pennsylvania two years ago. There were quite a few ups and downs there as well and the trails seemed to have a lot of boulders and rocky terrain to cover which made it a bit more challenging. By the end of a couple of those days I was pretty sore and also had that "funny walk" going when I finally dropped my pack at the end of the day. :lol:
My brother and a friend have thru hiked the SHT in sections going from south to north on long weekends here and there. We never realized until we started hiking in other places how lucky we are to have this in our back yard. It's an awesome trail! Theirs some great views everywhere you look. The campsites are plentiful and it was rare to ever have to share one. Many days other than around the state parks you don't see another person. The terrain is rocky, rooty ( i know it's not a word) and alot of ups and downs. Sometimes it's similar to ridgeline hiking in the Rockies, other times not but stunning in it's own way. It's always a challenge, but worth it. We usually did 10-12 miles mre day, some more. Our record was 17 miles which wasn't planned as we had a bridge out over a raging gorge but not advisible. It's beautiful country. And as has already been said the areas to park and camp and trail access make the options endless. We love it so much we're going to start "re" thru hiking it again. I would highly recommend this trail to anyone. It's a great place.


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Re: Superior Hiking Trail

Post by jerry » Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:05 am

If you take Mn61 to Hovland turn left at the Arrowhead Trail. Drive north until you reach Jackson Lake Road. Turn right and when you get to the SHT parking lot a few miles later take a left into the lot. Hike south on the SHT and in 1.2 miles you'll come to a ridge that gives you a great view of Lake Superior. You'll also see Isle Royale from the air (actually the ridge). Did a few miles on the SHT last week (5 days worth).

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