Discover the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) along the North Shore of Lake Superior, showcasing waterfalls, rapids, and gorges as it winds through Minnesota’s Northwoods. Base camp at a state park and fall asleep listening to the sounds of the North Shore. Hike along the SHT, taking in nature’s entire spectrum of beauty from admiring high panoramic overlooks of the lake to noticing the smallest lichens that blanket the rugged rocks. Come experience the land that has been shared through story and song for thousands of years.
ItineraryExpand All Fields
Day 1: Begin your trip along the North Shore of Lake Superior.
Drive up the North Shore of Lake Superior to your Minnesota State Park where our trip officially begins. Settle into the campsite before embarking on an afternoon hike into the Sawtooth Mountain Range. On day one you’ll be rewarded with wonderful views of Lake Superior! Spend the first night tucked under the tall pines along the shore.
Day 2: Explore the famed Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.
Arise for an early breakfast, pack up, and head to Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. Hike the five-mile Split Rock River Loop, one of the premier day hike loops on the Superior Hiking Trail. Enjoy lunch along the Lake Superior shoreline. Complete the remainder of the hiking loop, climbing a number of beautiful overlooks, some from more than 50 feet above the river! Take in one last view as the river cascades past red rock cliffs draped with conifers before heading back to our campsite.
Day 3: Enjoy the final moments along the Lake Superior shoreline.
After one last breakfast, get the chance to explore any parts of the State Park we may have missed. Bid farewell to the Superior shoreline before packing up belongings and hitting the road after lunch. Just because our trip ends in the early afternoon doesn’t mean you can’t explore the wonderful roadside attractions on the way home! Ask your guide for must see spots along the famed Highway 61 that gets you back to Duluth.
Dates & Fees
What to Expect
TERRAIN/ROUTE CHOICES: The Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) is characterized by ascents to rock outcroppings and cliffs, and descents into numerous river and creek valleys crossed by attractive and functional bridges. The SHT traverses a rich variety of terrain and habitat types. Much of the trail is easy walking but you will encounter sections with numerous steps and steep grades.
TYPE OF TRAVEL/DISTANCE: We will hike 3-6 miles each day with plenty of opportunities for exploration. The group will carry lightweight day packs with their personal items and lunch. No previous experience is needed to complete this trip.
WEATHER: The average temperature on the Superior Hiking Trail in early fall is 63 F degrees and rain is always a possibility. Weather in the area is strongly influenced by Lake Superior and can change suddenly.
ACCOMMODATIONS: At night you will sleep in a comfortable 4-person tent with 3-4 people per a tent (other arrangements can be made). Bathroom facilities are available at Minnesota State Parks.
MEALS: We’ll enjoy a variety of meals out on the Superior Hiking Trail. Count on hearty breakfasts, picnic trail lunches, and lively dinners, all shared. If you have special dietary restrictions, be sure to list them on your registration.
YOUR GROUP: As part of our ongoing COVID-19 safety protocols, all of our groups in 2021 will be made up of 3-12 people who know each other and have indicated they are comfortable traveling together and 1 or more Wilderness Inquiry guides. We welcome people of various ages, backgrounds, and abilities, including people with disabilities. Our trips are cooperative in nature. WI staff will assist you in whatever areas you need, however, most people pitch in where they can.
EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING: Wilderness Inquiry will provide all group gear and equipment. You will be assigned the same gear for the duration of your trip and it will be sanitized between trips. You will need to provide your personal gear as outlined in the packing list. If you are new to outdoor activities, you do not need to spend a lot of money. Wilderness Inquiry can usually arrange for you to borrow most items.
HEALTH PRE-SCREENING: Upon your arrival, we will perform a health screening that will include confirming that you have no COVID-19 related symptoms (for example: fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat) or have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 related symptoms within the last 2 weeks. We will also take each group member’s temperature daily. If COVID-19 related symptoms develop during your trip, the trip will end immediately and everyone must return home as soon as safely able.
SAFETY WHILE ON TRAIL: All participants and staff will wear masks when social distancing is not possible (i.e. loading/unloading boats, cooking, etc.) or when requested by a WI staff member. Participants will provide their own transportation to/from programming sites. Participants and staff will not share vehicles. Where available, participant groups will be assigned their own bathroom for the duration of the trip. When not possible, such as in backcountry sites, cleaning between each use will be facilitated. Thorough hand washing and/or gloves and masks will be worn during meal preparation.Read more »
Frequently Asked Questions:
Where do we meet?
Standard Meeting Places and Times
Start: Cascade River State Park at 2:00 PM (local time)
End: Cascade River State Park at 1:00 PM (local time)
This trip starts and ends south of Grand Marais, MN. You can get there on your own, or take the Wilderness Inquiry van to and from Minneapolis for an additional fee. Detailed meeting place instructions will be sent to you when you are confirmed for the trip.
What is the minimum age for kids on your family trips?
There is no minimum age requirement to participate on a WI family trip. We require participants to wear a personal flotation device (PFD) at all times when on water for safety. The smallest PFD we provide for children requires a minimum weight of 30 pounds. A family with a child smaller than this weight limit would need to provide their own PFD or would be unable to participate on the trip. For family paddling trips, children should be able to sit comfortably in a canoe or kayak for 1+ hour at a time. This should guide whether or not a child would be a good fit on any particular trip.
Do you have any additional health restrictions on trail?
In addition to following CDC guidelines, we work with a team of community and health experts to help guide our safety measures on and off the trail. Find a complete list of steps we are taking to provide you the safest experience here: https://www.wildernessinquiry.org/covid19/
Is this hiking trip wheelchair accessible?
Since hiking over rugged trails is a primary activity of our hiking trips, we do not recommend these trips for persons who use wheelchairs. Several of the hikes and activities are not very accessible for people who use wheelchairs.
Our canoe, kayak, and dogsled trips are generally more accessible for people who use wheelchairs. Water based travel is the great equalizer when it comes to outdoor activities. Fortunately, we have many trips to choose from.
All that said, if you use a wheelchair and are interested in going, please call to discuss the trip with us. We never want to say never!
What is the condition of the trail? Who maintains it?
The condition of the trail is good. The Superior Hiking Trail Association is responsible for maintaining all 310 miles of the trail. They have a crew of volunteers who work throughout the season to keep the trail in tip-top condition.
How long has the trail been traversed?
The Superior Hiking Trail is relatively new with the first section opening in 1987. Prior to that, only a handful of anglers, hunters and berry pickers knew the terrain.