Day Hiking on the Superior Hiking Trail
Linking people with nature by footpath along Lake Superior's North Shore.
The Superior Hiking Trail is laid out in sections of 3-11 miles with a trailhead parking lot on each end of the section. Trailhead signs give basic mileage information. The entire trail is marked with blue paint blazes. A turn in the trail is marked by two blue paint blazes with the higher blaze indicating the direction the trail turns. White paint blazes mark spur trails. If you pay attention to the blazes, you should have no difficulty staying on the trail.
Since the trail is an end-to-end trail, there are several options for day hiking.
*Start at any trailhead and do half the amount of miles you want to hike and then turn around and hike back to your car.
*Use two cars. Drive both cars to your end point, leave one car, drive to your start point, do your hike, and then take the car at the end point to pick up the other car.
*Use the Superior Shuttle (www.superiorshuttle.com), which runs on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from mid-May to mid-October. There is no Superior Shuttle service in Jay Cooke State Park and the City of Duluth. The Shuttle starts at the Fox Farm Road/East Trailhead in the morning, and then goes north stopping at trailheads – some on a regular basis and some on a reservation-only basis – to the end of the trail at the Otter Lake Road trailhead. The easiest way to use the Shuttle is to park at your end point of your hike, take the Shuttle to your start point, and then hike back to your car. That way you can hike as fast or as slow as you want. Depending on your schedule and route, however, sometimes you need to make an alternate plan.
*There are several loops on the Superior Hiking Trail that are 2-8 miles in length where you leave from one trailhead parking lot and return to the same parking lot.
*There are some sections where it’s possible to leave your bicycle at your end point, drive your car to your start point, do the hike, and then ride your bicycle back to your car.
*Wear sturdy hiking boots or shoes. Always carry a daypack with you that contains beverages, snacks, insect repellant, rain gear, and an extra layer of clothing.
*Always carry a map of your route with you. We sell a complete set of six pocket maps to the trail for $5.00. The “Guide to the Superior Hiking Trail,” which we sell for $15.95, is even more useful since it has a mile-by-mile description of the trail as you hike along that gives information about the trail route as well as scenic features along the trail. Make sure to pay attention as you hike along so if you become confused you know where you last were on the map.
*In general you don’t need a compass to hike on the trail. However, it’s a good idea to carry one however and check it after you leave an overlook to make sure you’re hiking in the right direction. You can sometimes get confused.
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