I really wanted to like this hike. Back on my trek to Two Harbors after taking four weeks off, it should have been good to get off in the woods and put some miles on with the good old Superior Hiking Trail and 6.9 miles in the far outskirts of Duluth could be a great hiking experience.
I did not like this hike. Chances are, you won’t either. Unless you’re a committed thru-hiker or a local neighbor looking for a walk, don’t bother with this newly-open section of the Superior Hiking Trail.
Normally I look for something positive about every outdoor experience I have. While it might not have been the perfect hike for me, surely there is someone for whom that hike would be absolutely ideal.
This section is 6.9 miles long. However, less than two miles of that is actual hiking trail. The rest is either snowmobile trail, ATV trail, or glorified walking on roads. Most of the snowmobile trail is rough walking, with ankle-turning ruts buried under thick grass. The ATV trails were actually a little easier, but I felt totally disoriented as the trails wove past junctions. The ATV trails were, strangely, freshly mowed, as if the trail maintenance crew had just rode past on their John Deere lawnmowers.
There was an occasional view, mostly where the snowmobile trail crossed one of the marshy river areas, like Amity Creek or French River.
I believe the problem is that this trail was trying to be too much. A sign toward the end showed the uses for which the North Shore State Trail is managed. Snowmobiles are obvious. Cross-country skiing? Hard to imagine. Hiking? Well, physically that’s possible, but not all that enjoyable.
My father wants to hike this section. It’s the last SHT section he needs to hike. If I can’t talk him out of it, at least I’ll wait until the fall season to take him here. There were a few scattered sugar maple and basswood stands, so maybe there will be some good fall colors.
Yes, this trail gets you from Point A to Point B. But neither the destination or the journey are worth the buggy, boring hassle.
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