So you’re a hiker who has knocked off the Superior Hiking Trail and you’re looking for something a bit more challenging. Here are three trails considered among the toughest in the state. Perhaps not coincidentally, all are at least partly in the BWCA.
Kekekabic Trail. This 40-plus-mile trail, which starts east of Ely before heading into the boundaries, is considered by many hikers to be the toughest and most-remote in Minnesota. The trail is difficult to start with, and can be hard to follow. Blown-down trees, and the difficulty in removing them, sometimes can make it impassable.
Powwow Trail. The 27-mile Powwow rivals the Kek in terms of remoteness and difficulty. And that was before a 2011 fire (which also impacted the Kek) made it virtually impossible to navigate. A decision last year by the U.S. Forest Service to stop trying to keep the trail clear means it won’t get easier any time soon.
Border Route Trail. The 65-mile Border Route Trail crosses the BWCA in the far northeast corner of Minnesota and follows the border between Minnesota and Ontario, Canada. The trail was planned and built in the 1970s by the Minnesota Rovers outdoors club. It’s another rugged, remote trail that also is subject to clearing difficulties.