With the growing participation of the Trailfitters Trail Challenge, many folks have been wondering where they can check out the trails we’ve done in the past! Rather than making you comb through years of social media posts, we are making it easy and listing them below.
Rock Knob in Hartley Park (1.5 Miles): Rock Knob is a high point overlooking the meadows of Hartely Park near the Woodland neighborhood in Duluth. This round trip is less than 1.5 miles and you will be rewarded with an expansive view that is rarely found in any city.
Lakewalk (4 Miles): The Superior Hiking Trail takes advantage of the downtown lakewalk from Bayfront Park to the Rose Garden before ascending the hill along Chester Creek. This paved 4 miles of the SHT will bring you through Canal Park, past Trailfitters, and ends at the Rose Garden.
Brewer Loop (4 Miles): Situated on the hillside overlooking the Duluth harbor, Brewer Park has a trail covering diverse terrain. From the Highland/Getchell trailhead for the SHT, you will follow Keene Creek up to Brewer Park through woods, over rocks, and along the hillside with spectacular views.
Gooseberry 5th Falls (2 Miles): From the visitor’s center, hike past the Upper Falls of the Gooseberry River to escape the crowds and find solitude at the 5th falls. A winding trail follows the river for a 2 miles loop, with a bridge crossing the river just above the falls.
Section 13 (1.5 Miles): Located just a little over a mile off Little Marais Road leading to Finland, the Section 13 overlook has one of the most expansive views on the SHT. 1.5 miles of uphill trail will lead to a large rock outcropping with a sea of trees greeting you below.
Chester Creek (2 Miles): Nestled in the hillside neighborhood of Duluth, Chester Park’s Dan Proctor Trail starts from the iconic ski hill on top and follows Chester Creek towards Lake Superior. Park at Chester Bowl and hike 1 mile down to 4th St on one side of the river, then cross the bridge and hike back up!
Bean & Bear Lake Loops (7.6 Miles): One of the favorite hikes on the SHT, this loop will leave you breathless from the spectacular views and the constant hills! Park at the Penn Blvd SHT trailhead in Silver Bay and follow the trail north. Once you get to the last overlook on the end of Bear Lake, follow the Silver Bay spur trail to complete the 7.6 mile loop.
Mt. Trudee (8.5 Miles): Sharing the hilly and rugged terrain with Bean and Bear Lake, Mt. Trudee is a staple of Tettegouche State Park. Waterfalls and steep ascents will bring you to the peak of the mountain, looking over the valley below. Park at the Hwy 1 SHT trailhead and make your way south on the trail.
Lutsen to Oberg Mt. (7 Miles): Perhaps the most difficult section of the Superior Hiking Trail, the stretch from Lutsen to Oberg Mt. has a mix of everything. Meandering trails in maple stands lead you to steep climbs with great views. Rivers run throughout this section, so there are many photo opportunities! If possible, bring two cars to park at Lutsen Resort and Onion River Road. Or do the whole trail out and back! The Oberg Mt. Loop is a great opportunity to reach a few scenic overlooks in less than 2 miles.
SHT Southern Terminus-Wild Valley Road Trailhead (8 Miles): Head into the woods and follow the trail south for an out-and-back to the end of the trail. Enjoy rolling terrain and check out the new bridge over the Red River.
Gazebo Point-Hartley Nature Center Parking (5 Miles): While Rock Knob gets much of the glory at Hartley Park, Gazebo Point offers views of the Woodland neighborhood, Glen Avon fields, and ships anchored in Lake Superior.
Sucker River Campsite-Sucker River Trailhead (2 Miles): Often overlooked between Duluth and Two Harbors, the stretch of the Superior Hiking Trail showcases forested views, rocky climbs, and a campsite overlooking a beaver pond.
Ely’s Peak-123rd Ave Trailhead (2 Miles): Hop on the Munger Trail for a short jaunt over the train tracks before you start the climb. Follow the blazes to the top of Ely’s Peak to enjoy panoramic views of Jay Cooke State Park, the St. Louis River Valley, and the Twin Ports.
Mike’s Rock-Castle Danger Trailhead (6 Miles): Head up and down Wolf Rock, past the cedars of the Crow Valley campground, and enjoy the view from Mike’s Rock looking over the Gooseberry River.
Sonju Lake Island-Sonju Lake Road Trailhead (3 Miles): Get away from Lake Superior and enjoy some flatter setions of trail on top of the hill as you meander over the roots and through the woods on your way to Sonju Lake. From shore, you will find a boardwalk leading to a rocky island for a wide view of the lake.
Sawmill Dome-Lake County Road 6 Trailhead (3 Miles: There is not much flat ground on this shorter hike, but looking west from Sawmill Dome will help you recharge for the return trip.
Cove Point Loop-Cove Point Lodge (6 Miles): A long climb leads to a loop hike that features breathtaking ridgelines and a variety of forest habitat. Fault Line Ridge offers a glimpse into the area’s mining history and resulting landscape.
Wolf Lake- Highway 1 Trailhead (5 Miles): Traverse the hillside to this backcountry lake with stunning Lake Superior views along the way. It is easy to spot Wolf Ridge ELC, situated on the other side of Wolf Lake.
Bonus Hike: Complete the Cascade River Loop (7.8 Miles) A boreal forest on one side and a hardwoods forest on the other offers a variety for this multiple hour hike along a beautiful river.
Brewer Loop (4 miles): Park at the Highland/Getchall Trailhead and head east over Keene Creek, following the blue blazes of the SHT. Cross Skyline Rd and make your way to the spur trail intersection where the loop begins. Take your pick of which direction to go as you loop around Brewer Park and return to your starting point. NOTE: SHTA crews will be at work rerouting the trail from the loop to the Haines Rd Trailhead. Please be aware and use caution.
Martin Road-Vermillion Road (2.8): From the Martin Road Trailhead, make your way south through the carnage of the 2016 windstorm. Crossing over Pleasant View Road brings you the best views as you follow the top of rocky outcroppings above the creek bed below. Once you hit dirt on Vermillion Road, turn around and return to your car.
Micmac Lake (3.5): Located next to Lax Lake on the north side of Tettegouche State Park, follow this meandering trail to a rewarding view from the other side of the park! Leave your car at the trailhead on Lax Lake Road and venture south, following the path into Tettegouche. The rustic cabins on Micmac Lake mark the turnaround point and a great spot for a quick snack!
Split Rock Lookout (3 miles): The parking lot at the mouth of the Split Rock River sits above a quaint bay where your hike starts. Head towards the lake, instead of dipping into the woods on the SHT, and cross the river before a right turn will lead you along the shores of Lake Superior. Follow Corundum Point Trail along the shore, up the stairs to dramatic views of the lake, and finally following the Day Hill Trail back to the paved Gitchi Gammi Trail. Follow the path to the Gitchi-Gami Trail, which leads back to the trailhead.
Carlton Peak (3.4): This tried and true North Shore hike starts a couple miles up the Sawbill Trail at the Britton Peak Trailhead. Leave the lot heading southwest on the SHT and cross over the road as the trail gradually climbs through the woods, rocky outcroppings, and expansive vistas until a spur trail will lead you up to the top of Carlton Peak. Take a short detour on the Ted Tofte spur trail for another breathtaking view of Tofte and Lake Superior below.
McCarthy Creek Campsite (7): Choose your own adventure as you have the options of starting this hike from the Rossini Road TH or Lake County’s Demonstration Forest. The McCarthy Creek Campsite falls almost directly between the two trailheads and sits beside the cutest waterfall on the trail. Start out north from the Rossini Road TH on the SHT through a former logging site and enjoy the views until you get to the campsite 3.5 miles later. Or follow spur trail signs through the Demonstration Forest until you intersect with the main SHT, where a left turn will lead you through the woods to the destination. If you coordinate with a friend, having a car at both ends is a great way to cover this whole section and take everything in!
Horseshoe Ridge (8 miles): Prepare to get dirty on this hike, as we think it is the most difficult of the bunch! Parking at the Caribou River Wayside off Hwy 61 will have you heading up the hill on the SHT towards Crosby Manitou and through one of the most infamous mud pits on the trail. Your effort to get up to Horseshoe Ridge will be rewarded with a long descent back to the TH. If you choose to get to Horseshoe Ridge via Crosby Manitou’s main entrance off Cramer Rd, you will have shorter, steeper climbs and descents to get you to the ridge. Either way will leave you short of breath as you take in the view from an overlook just north (closer to Crosby Manitou SP) of the Horseshoe Ridge Campsite on the SHT.
Poplar River Overlook (5): The northernmost hike of our challenge starts at the Caribou Lake TH located 4 miles up the Caribou Trail outside the town of Lutsen. Venture out of the TH on the SHT spur trail southwest to the main trail. Turn right at the intersection, where you will pass the East and West Lake Agnes campsites. The Poplar River Overlook is approximately 2.5 miles from the trailhead, and you will know you have reached the right spot when you see the Poplar River unfold in the valley below.
Raven Rock (7.2): Located in Tettagouche State Park, Raven Rock is a fun hike that leads you past the High Falls of the Baptism River and up a newly constructed staircase making “The Drainpipe” much more accessible. Park at the SHT Trailhead off Hwy 1 and follow the spur to the main trail, where a left turn will lead you toward the river and your eventual destination. Once crossing over the Baptism, continue uphill on the SHT to the Raven Rock spur trail, where views of the lake and Sawtooth Mountains await.
Tischer Creek (1.4): Jump back in time as you hike along Tischer Creek on the trail created by Chester Congdon, passing numerous waterfalls and surging spring conditions. Parking on 4th St will allow you to hike up the east side of the creek, crossing on Vermillion Rd before dropping back into the park off of Lakeview Rd. Continue down to Superior St where you can cross back over and hike back up to your vehicle.
Benson Lake (1.21): An easier alternative to last year’s tough hike through Crosby Manitou, Benson Lake is our shortest of the year. Park at Crosby Manitou’s main lot and follow Benson Lake Road to the trail which loops around Benson Lake.
Colvill Lakewalk (3.17): On paper, the lake walk section of the SHT looks more like a cake walk, but Lake Superior’s loose rock shoreline will make you think differently. Without a proper trailhead, park on the shoulder of Hwy 61, making sure you are out of traffic’s way and mind the passing cars. Hike either direction and note the mileage is for an out an back, but you only need to cover it one way to count. Early risers may get a spectacular view of the sunrise over Lake Superior!
Kingsbury Creek (3.7): Enjoy a couple trail systems as this loop utilizes the SHT and the DWP trail. Start at the Lake Superior Zoo and climb the SHT along Kingsbury Creek before traversing the hillside through a magnificent stand of maple trees. Continue to Spirit Mt where a service road leads you to the DWP trail and back to the zoo.
Shovel Point (1.77): Revisit this North Shore favorite as you navigate Tettegouche’s ridgelines and stairs before making it to the point jetting out into Lake Superior. Enjoy cliff views and watch for climbers as they rappel and climb some of the most popular routes on the shore.
Pincushion Mountain (6.43): While the SHTA continues work on a reroute south of Pincushion Mt, we will visit from the north, crossing the Devil Track River on the way. Start this out and back heading south from Lindskog Rd. Follow the SHT and keep your eye out for the Pincushion Spur, it’s easy to miss!
Mission Creek (7): Explore the often forgotten land between Ely’s Peak and Jay Cooke as you hike through Mission Creek. Park at the Ely’s Peak trailhead and cross Beck’s Rd, descending into one of the many valleys on this hike. Soak up spring’s green hues as you cover the SHT and old park trails before completing the loop on the DWP trail.
Cross River (6.1): The Cross River loop trail has a little bit for everyone. Starting out on the paved Gitchi Gami trail, ascending the SHT spur trail, then heading north on the SHT to Temperance River State Park to return to your vehicle.
Judge C.R. Magney (7.81): Get ready to count stairs as you prepare to scale the slope above Devil’s Kettle. Follow the SHT from the Judge C.R. Magney main parking lot along the Brule River until you reach your turnaround point: the rocky knob.