Sunday, March 20, 2016

Superior Hiking Trail: Beaver Bay to Silver Bay

Trail Review

Superior Hiking Trail (SHT)

Beaver Bay to Silver Bay

4.7 Miles

Section Description: Lake Co. Rd. 4 to Lake Co. Rd. 5

Access and Parking: At Hwy. 61 milepost 51.1 turn left on Lake Co. Rd. 4 and go 0.8 miles to trailhead parking lot on right. Overnight Parking okay.

Facilities on Trailhead: none

Designated Campsites on this Section: two


We hiked this section in late August of 2014. Weather was great on this day with clear skies and warm weather around 65° - 73°. We crossed paths with a few hikers on this section but mainly had the trail to ourselves. Bugs weren't a problem on this section and there were plenty of water sources.

Mile-by-Mile Description

For true and full descriptions of the trails, maps and all information relating to the Superior Hiking Trail please purchase the trail guide at the SHT store here. This is our experience on the trial. 

0.0 (4.7 miles to go) Trail Head Parking Lot

If hiking from the previous section you will pop out on a road and you'll need to cross into the parking lot to pick the trail up. The trail leaves the parking lot on the left headed down a gravel ATV road. After a long 0.5 miles you will cross a metal bridge over Beaver River. Right after the bridge turn right to pick the trail up. We totally missed this since it wasn't labeled and was hard to see in the brush. Continue on the trail to come to the first campsite.

Perfect depth for a good clothing wash or shower

Beautifully set right next to the river
Super flat tent pads made for a great nights sleep

We camped at North Beaver River Campsite and have to say it was our favorite spots on the trail! With the rushing river only feet from the campsite, perfectly flat tent pads, and an ample supply of fire wood; it was perfection. We heard from some other hikers that the close train tracks were loud if a train went through in the middle of the night. We didn't have any issues with this.

The next campsite, South Beaver River, was only a few hundred yards up the trail. This site was set much higher above the river with views of falls but whose tent pads were a little more rough. It still would be a beautiful place to camp.

1.1 (3.6 miles to go) Railroad tracks crossing

The trail follows Betzler Rd. before crossing railroad tracks. The trail will then lead into a thicket on the right. Watch carefully for signs of the trail - it is easy to miss. You will climb up into the ridges again with many great views. Once up in the cliffs, water is in short supply. We would suggest filling up from Beaver River before crossing the tracks.

Watch for signs on this section!

Some weaving through the rocky terrain

2.2 (2.5 miles to go) Golf Course Rd. crossing

This section crosses a few different roads. There is limited signage and labeling whether to go left or right. You may need your map and compass for this section to ensure you are moving the correct directions. You will cross another ATV trail and follow that until you cross the Silver Bay Golf Course Road then will follow an ATV road again for a few hundred feet. Soon you'll start to climb another ridge with open views inland as shown below.

Overlook showing diverse ridgelines
Exposed ridge with no water for a few miles
Watch for blazes on rocks on this section. With limited trees, most blazes are painted on rocks
Be careful on this very steep decent down this ridge

3.2 (1.5 miles to go) View of Silver Bay

Trail will follow along a long ridgeline skirting Lake Superior with many views into the city of Silver Bay. This ridge is called 'Blueberry Ridge" by locals which you can find many blueberry bushes in the warmer months. From this vantage point, you can see the original parking lot where you started. You will descend the ridge into a lower wet area (finally, some water sources!) and will cross first an unnamed trail, then a snowmobile trail before crossing Penn Blvd. After crossing street, main SHT continues straight into woods but the spur trail turns left into Penn Blvd. parking lot to end this 4.7 mile section.

Beautiful views down into Silver Bay

We would rate this section 7 out of 10

Although the section is short, the lack of water and hard climbs proved to be a tough day.  We continued after this section for another 7 miles in high heat. The section was fun in the sense we saw some different topography and had some great views of Lake Superior. We would not recomend this section for any kids under 10. There are a lot of exposed ridgelines with steep drop offs and limited water sources. This would be a great section if you are testing out your ability to do a longer hike or are timing you daily mileage. With it being around 5 miles you would get a true sense of the trail offerings and how your skills match up!

See you on the trail!

Go breathe the wild air!



  1. I'm so glad I stumbled upon your blog. Hubby and I recently retired to our home state of MN. After 35 yrs of living in other states, it's great to be back, and hiking the Superior Hiking Trail is on ourMinnesota Fun Things to-do list !!! Thanks for so much helpful information.

  2. Awesome blog! I'm planning a thru hike of the SHT section North of Duluth in the middle of June. I did a bunch of the section south of Duluth in March and man was it muddy. Maybe I'll see you out there!

    1. Hi Bill! How did your thru hike go? We're gearing up for spring and excited to get back on the trail!