Thru-Hiker's Guide to America

Superior Trail Terrain
By E. Schlimmer

Excerpted from Thru Hiker's Guide to America by E. Schlimmer

The terrain of northern Minnesota is spectacularly challenging and scenic. “Wait, isn’t that where that canoeing place is?” you may ask. Yes, the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area is on the North Shore, but so is the highest peak in Minnesota, Eagle Mountain (2,301 feet), which can be reached by completing a twenty-mile road walk off the SHT (see Points of Interest).

The Superior Hiking Trail Association has released an eight-map set that covers the trail end to end. Looking at the maps in order (from north to south) you’ll see that the differences between the highest point and lowest point within each of the eight sections are 600, 800, 900, 800, 1000, 1,100, 700, and 800 feet, respectively. Overall, the SHT’s high point exceeds 1,800 feet on Sundling Creek Ridge and Rosebush Ridge. The low point of the SHT is 600 feet at the current southern terminus near Route 61 on the outskirts of Two Harbors, and the Lake Walk along the shoreline of Lake Superior on the far north section. Short, steep climbing is par for the day’s activities. Needless to say, Minnesota is more rugged than most would think. Trails that can be quite muddy take you to expanses of hardwoods such as maple and aspen. On your hike you will also ascend to rocky summits that support a softwood forest of spruce, fir, and pine. In addition to plant life, geological features add further beauty to this two-week trip.

Article © McGraw-Hill. All rights reserved.


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