A section of North Shore trail coursing past perhaps one of the most iconic and photographed areas in the Minnesota outdoors will close to hikers beginning May 15.

Part of the rugged, 310-mile Superior Hiking Trail includes overlooks hundreds of feet above Bean and Bear lakes near Silver Bay, Minn., dramatic scenes that draw hikers (and photograph-seekers) in every season.

That interest is partly why the trail section that includes those views will close in mid-May, according to the Superior Hiking Trail Association (SHTA). Significant erosion and tread issues from weather and high traffic need attention from association crews and contractors specializing in trail building.

When the rehabbed trail will reopen is unknown, said Annie Nelson of the SHTA, and contingent on weather, contractors' schedules, and even the aid of volunteers, who'll be sought for some aspects of the project.

The association installed trail counters at some points last year to help inform its work on the trail's master plan, said Nelson, development and communications director.

"[The data] confirmed what many of us anecdotally already know: The Bean and Bear Lakes Loop is one of the most popular hikes," she said.

The Bean and Bear Lakes Loop closure affects 2.2 miles of the main trail's corridor between the western junction of the spur trail to the Bay Area Historical Society trailhead and an all-terrain vehicle trail north of Bear Lake. Hikers and others will bypass the closed section using a spur trail and an ATV path.

The Split Rock River Loop also needs work. The eastern side of the loop will close Sept. 1 and affect almost 2 miles of the Superior Hiking Trail.

Work on both loop trails also will affect some campsite use. Go to shta.org for more details about the affected trail areas, the renewal work, and opportunities to volunteer.