Traveling the Superior Hiking Trail

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of March 20-26, 1997
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Enjoying a week in Puerto Rico
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Traveling the Superior Hiking Trail
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Traveling the Superior Hiking Trail
Question: My dad and I are planning a four- to six-day backpacking trip this summer. Problem: Where to go? The ideal location would be within 1,000 miles of Dayton, Ohio, and allow us to hike for days without seeing other people. We are considering the Coastal Trail in Pukaskwa National Park, Ontario, but would like other options. Any suggestions?

Steve Bachmann
Dayton, OH
[email protected]

Adventure Adviser: Because you're thinking north already, consider the Superior Hiking Trail as it winds its way along the ridgeline overlooking beautiful Lake Superior. Although the trail measures 200-plus miles, from Two Harbors, Minnesota, to the Canadian border, it's easily broken down into smaller doses.

A particularly choice 35-mile section starts at Caribou River Wayside and climbs steeply up the Caribou River Gorge and traverses the Temperance River Gorge--crossing small ponds and bogs and creeks--en route to the Lutsen Ski Area. You'll probably see more moose, wild blueberries, and giant moss beds than people, especially if you plan a mid-week trip or go during June or early September.

The price you pay for cool, northern air and relative solitude is black flies. They can be especially fierce during July and August. Keep your hiking options open and take one of the countless short spur trails, such as Carlton and Britton peaks, that lead to great views. Tent sites are fairly plentiful along the trail, but to get your daily mileages down to an exact science, call the Superior Hiking Trail Association (218-834-2700) for maps, a guidebook, or additional information.

Logistically speaking, your best bet is to park your car at Lutsen Ski Area and then take the handy Superior Shuttle $6-$15 per person, depending on distance; 218-834-5511) back to the starting point at Caribou River Wayside; this arraangement, however, would preclude a midweek trip, as the shuttle only runs on summer weekends.

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