|View from ridge line|
|Split Rock River|
Map used: Map 3 of 6 that was bought from Superior Hiking Trail Association
Guide Book: Guide to the Superior Hiking Trail, 7th addition
When: late September
What: section hike of Superior Hiking Trail
We parked at the trailhead on West Castle Danger Road and used the Superior Shuttle Service for transport up to the trailhead on Lax Lake Road or Road #4. We started the hike around 9:30 a.m. The plan was to hike shorter days - 8 miles or so. The first night we set up camp at Christmas Tree Ridge at 3:00 p.m. We rested for about 2 hours and then we were restless, so we packed up all our stuff, took the tent down and continued on. We ended up hiking until dark and found a campsite on the Split Rock River. We think we hiked about 12 miles. Wow, did I ever sleep good that night! The cool temps were great for sleeping, plus we had the sound of the rushing river next to us - and I was so exhausted that I feel asleep fast and hard.
The next night we had another long day of hiking and camped by the Gooseberry River. The hubby made a nice little fire, which was very warming since the temperatures fell at night. He got the fire going again the next morning, and after breakfast and coffee , we continued on and were finished with the hike around 11:00 a.m. We then went and treated ourselves to lunch at a local restaurant.
This was a nice hike if you don't mind hiking in a more populated area. Once you are in the woods, you are on your own, but from the sweeping views on the ridgeline, you will see the highway and evidence of the human race. If you ran into trouble, you are very close to civilization.
All the rivers we hiked over had bridges. On this trail you are to camp in the designated camp sites -- you can't just camp where ever you like. The views of Lake Superior are gorgeous when you are up on the ridge. We drank water out of the Split Rock River (we filtered it) and it tasted better than the water we took from home, despite the tannins in the water. The trail had a little detour north of Gooseberry State Park. Apparently, a lot of the trail runs on private property and the landowner by Gooseberry State Park had pulled the plug on allowing use of his land due to improper use. So for a couple miles, you walk on the Gitchie Gamie Bike Trail.
The section we hiked is probably one of the more popular sections that people hike probably because it is close to two state parks. You can hike the whole trail if you want - it is 296 miles or so from Duluth all the way up to the Canadian border. It is marked by blue blazes. You have to camp at the designated tent pads and if you have a fire, they are to be built in the fire rings. You don't need a permit to hike - just hop on the trail and go!
We had a wonderful time in the north woods! There weren't any bugs, we saw only a few hikers this time of year and the weather was great! Plus, Duluth is a neat city to hang out in after the hike is over. With hiking trails, bike trails, and the big lake so close -- the "North Shore" as they call it -- is a outdoor enthusiasts dream!