Hiking Made Easy – Do you know how long is the superior hiking trail? If not, then you should know that the superior hiking trail is 310 miles long.
That’s it? Of course not. We are going to take a look at everything about the superior hiking trails. So, let’s get started.
Superior Hiking Trail
In Wisconsin and Minnesota, the Superior Hiking Trail is a more than 300-mile trail that follows a rocky ridgeline above Lake Superior from their respective borders until it reaches the Canadian border.
The Superior Hiking Trail Association (SHTA), a private nonprofit organization located in Two Harbors, Minnesota, is responsible for the construction, maintenance, and administration of the Trail.
Read about the Best Hiking Trails in Albuquerque.
Where To Begin Hike On Superior Hiking Trail
All along the north shore of Lake Superior and across Highway 61 from west of Two Harbors to the north of Grand Marais, there are more than 50 locations where you may start your trek.
In addition to trail running, the steep and demanding pathway is perfect for day walks, backpacking expeditions, and thru-hikes. Natural attractions such as waterfalls, boreal woods, and animals will be visible to trail users.
The SHTA maintains 94 free, shared backcountry campsites along the trail, which are spaced every 5-8 miles and are accessible from the trailhead. So, now you know how long is the superior hiking trail.
(Please keep in mind that there are no SHTA campgrounds inside the city limits of Duluth. A number of fee-based campsites are available along the Trail in Duluth.)
The Superior Hiking Trail – Total vs. Traditional Thru-Hike
You have two choices as a thru-hiker: a total thru-hike or a traditional thru-hike, depending on your preferences.
Exactly what it sounds like, a total thru-hike consists of trekking the entire 310 miles from the Southern to Northern Terminus.
A classic thru-hike begins from Martin Road and continues to the Northern Terminus. This eliminates the 53-mile Duluth segment of the route.
Because the Superior Hiking Trail Association does not have any campsites accessible along the Duluth portion, hikers must rely on hotels or other fee-based campgrounds to accommodate them during their stay. Many hikers avoid this section since it is more difficult to plan.
We completed the total thru-hike; however, it appears that the traditional thru-hike is the more popular option among hikers.
Due to the fact that you must pay for campsites/hotels as well as transportation to and from trailheads, the overall cost of the thru-hike is higher, but the scenery is some of the most beautiful on the path.
Since you know how long is the superior hiking trail, you should also know why hiking SHT.
Why Hike the Superior Trail?
When it comes to thru-hiking, the Superior Hiking Path is a fantastic shorter “long” trail. The shorter distance of 310 miles is far more manageable than the longer distance of 2,000 miles.
The Superior Hiking Trail passes through forested landscapes for most of its length. When the larches, birches, and maples are in full bloom, the view may be breathtakingly beautiful when the fall foliage is at its fullest.
When compared to some of the other long trails, the fact that this path isn’t overly crowded is a huge selling feature for many hikers.
There’s a good chance you’ll encounter people every day, mostly day or section hikers, but you won’t be swamped by a swarm of people on the trails or at the campgrounds.
Overall, it’s a fantastic route if you’re seeking to get out into the wilderness and relax.
Climate and Weather of The Superior Hiking Trail
Northern Minnesota has a variety of weather conditions, from freezing winters to hot, humid summers.
The snow usually doesn’t melt until the end of May, and the resulting muck isn’t very suitable for hiking, not to mention the swarms of bugs and ticks that emerge around this time of year.
Since we are talking about how long is the superior hiking trail, you should also know its weather before starting your hike.
It should go without saying that Minnesota’s winters are not conducive to hiking or other outdoor activities.
Summer and October are the greatest seasons for hiking, so plan your trip accordingly. During the summer months, it is not so much the heat (which is normally 70-80 degrees) as it is the humidity that is a problem.
We began the trail in the middle of August when the humidity ranged between 60 and 70 percent. It is likely that it will rain one to two times every week, so be prepared to get wet on a regular basis, whether from sweating or rain.
As the weather changes from summer to fall, temperatures will drop, daylight hours will shorten, and the amount of rain will remain relatively constant.
In the event that we were to tackle this path again, we would most likely begin in mid-September so that we could get in some serious leaf-peeping. Hiking through a forest of beautiful green trees, on the other hand, was not unpleasant.
Gear Suggestions For The Superior Hiking Trail
In addition to being hot and wet, the weather in Minnesota during the peak hiking season will be quite warm and humid.
Although the temperatures don’t differ much between night and day, dressing in a light layer for colder mornings or sleeping in is a sensible decision in this climate. We hiked in shorts and T-shirts almost all of the time unless it was pouring rain outside.
While talking about how long is the superior hiking trail, you should also know which gears to bring on this trail.
Bring rain gear, because it’s going to rain. You’re going to be rained on. Given our newfound knowledge, we’d recommend ponchos in lieu of rain pants and coats.
In the warm weather, we’d feel so hot hiking in our rain gear—wet with perspiration on the inside and dripping with rain on the outside; ponchos will provide far greater ventilation in this situation. Remember to have a waterproof backpack cover or liner with you.
Trail runners will perform better than hiking boots in this environment because of the moisture.
Hiking with trekking poles is another thing we encourage. With steep (but swift!) climbs and descents, the Superior Hiking Track is difficult to navigate, and most of the trail is covered in thick roots and rocks. It will be easier to go through these areas if you have trekking poles with you.
Don’t forget to bring insect spray as well. Mosquitoes are the official state bird of Minnesota.
Camping At The Superior Hiking Trail
On the Superior Hiking Trail, there are a total of 94 campsites. Each campsite contains two to eight tent pads, a fire ring with benches, a backcountry latrine (which is a nice feature), and most of them are close to a water supply, which is convenient.
So, now you know how long is the superior hiking trail, let’s take a look at the distance of campsites.
The distances between campsites can range from.2 to 12 miles, with the vast majority of them being roughly three miles apart, based on the weather. Additionally, there are no fees or restrictions for using the route. There is no scattered camping allowed along the way.
The path runs through eight state parks, where hikers can stay for a charge in the designated campsites.
In addition, as previously stated, there are no Superior Hiking Trail campsites during the 53-mile Duluth portion, which makes hiking this part logistically challenging.
At Spirit Mountain, Indian Point, and Jay Cooke, you may book a campground, or you can choose to stay in a hotel or motel. Aside from being more expensive, staying at a motel gives you the opportunity to slackpack, which is always a pleasant relief.
Water Sources At The Superior Hiking Trail
The Superior Hiking Trail features a diverse range of water sources, including streams, lakes, rivers, and the spectacular beaver ponds that dot the landscape.
The dry temperatures in the late summer might cause water supplies to become depleted. It is quite OK to carry a scoop (for example, a cut-off Powerade bottle) if you are prepared in advance.
While discussing how long is the superior hiking trail, you should also know about the water sources.
Flowing water appeared to be a little more limited in the northern portions, with beaver ponds being the most common source.
The majority of campsites are located near water sources. There are several more water sources that you will pass by throughout the day.
As a result, it is possible to get away with carrying only two liters of water at any one moment. On the Superior Hiking Trail’s website, the Trail Conditions page, you’ll see if there’s a water problem.
We utilized the Sawyer Squeeze water filtration system. It worked quite well and appeared to be the technology that the majority of other hikers were employing as well.
Backflushing tools are recommended since the beaver ponds might clog the filters, so carry one with you.
How long does it take to hike the Superior Trail?
The majority of hikers take between two and four weeks to finish the Superior Hiking Trail through-hike, while some opt to hike only a part of the SHT.
Traditionally, the SHT begins in the northern Duluth Martin Road Trailhead and travels north for 260 miles, passing through several towns (not counting spur trails breaking off from the main route).
Now you know how long is the superior hiking trail, so it takes approximately 2 to 4 weeks to complete this hike of 310 miles.
It is advisable to hike from south to north because mobile phone coverage is not available at the most northern end of the trail. If something goes wrong at the beginning of the process, it becomes more difficult to adjust your plans as a result.
Upon reaching its northern terminus, the Superior Trail links with the Border Route Trail (which is 65 miles long) and afterward with the Kekekabic Trail (41 miles).
Hikers who want to go all the way into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness enjoy the beautiful, birch-covered landscapes along the trail.
Anyone who does not have the time or resources to complete a lengthier thru-hike should consider taking advantage of the Superior Hiking Trail’s shorter route.
Moreover, it is an excellent choice for people who are unclear whether or not they are ready to take on one of the Triple Crown trails.
While the trail does not provide spectacular vistas of the surrounding mountains, it does provide an opportunity to indulge yourself in nature and experience some of the best trails in the Upper Midwest and beyond.