New Trail, Old Trail, Back to the Future Trail


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It’s an old but apt adage: a hiking trail may have a beginning and an end, but it is never finished. This applies to the Superior Hiking Trail. Here are three examples of how this “finished” trail is being constantly renewed.


Pincushion Overlook

Ryan Blaisdell (foreground) and Tammy Cefalu of the U.S. Forest Service figure out a good place for the re-routed SHT to cross a stream in the area of Pincushion Mountain Overook.

Just off the Gunflint Trail, outside Grand Marais, SHT users make their way to a superb view of Lake Superior at Pincushion Mountain Overlook. Here the SHT shares a cross-country ski trail — no problem in the summer, but big issues in the winter. Hikers stomp on the groomed ski trails, displeasing our skiing compatriots. The U.S. Forest Service and local ski club has asked us to create a brand new route in the vicinity of Pincushion.

On May 7, a crew of Forest Service employees and local SHTA and ski club volunteers flagged a new 2-mile route for the SHT, roughly parallel to the existing route. Not only will winter hikers not wreak havoc on a ski trail; SHT users for all seasons will have a trail segment strictly dedicated to hiking at Pincushion.


St. Louis County Forest

SHTA trail renewal consultant Larry Sampson shows where he’d like to see a re-route of the SHT go in St. Louis County forestland, between Lismore and Normanna Roads.

Between Lismore Road and Normanna Road, just north of Duluth, the SHT winds its way through forestland owned and managed by St. Louis County. The county had a timber sale recently, meaning the area was logged.

Yes, it’s possible! There will be a trail here, by fall, we hope.

Those freshly logged zones are a shock to many hikers — that landscape can look a bit bleak. But we have an understanding with St. Louis County (and other government agencies with forestland) that the forests the SHT passes through will be logged occasionally. The fact is, they grow back quickly, aided by tree-planting.

This particular harvest allowed us to see the lay of the land and enables us to re-route the SHT. off some old logging roads; the new route will take a new and winding way through this section, though will remain on about a half mile of logging roads.


No-Name Overlook: Got A Name?

It’s barely visible, but it will emerge from the brush soon: a renewed spur trail leading to an (unnamed) overlook, near Horsehoe Ridge.

On the SHT between Crosby-Manitou State Park and the Caribou River trailhead, there’s a short spur trail leading to an overlook in the Horseshoe Ridge area. You can still see this spur trail on our maps, but you’d have a hard time finding the actual trail.

Not any more! This spring, we re-opened this short spur trail to the overlook. This obscure feature of the SHT has never been named, so we welcome your ideas.

Is there a land feature nearby that inspires a name? How about a sweet memory of an experience in that part of the Trail? Do you know some local lore (true or otherwise) that deserves recognition through naming this overlook?

Let SHTA executive director Denny Caneff know of your idea:

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