As soon as the book “Guide to the Superior Hiking Trail,” arrived in the mailbox, I began to dream and plot.

My daughter and I first took a short walk on the footpath several years ago. “Some people walk this entire trail,” I told her. Then I added, “We could do that someday.”

That vague suggestion apparently stuck. Late this summer, she said that we should get started. We’ll tackle the 313-mile trail in sections, one day or weekend hike at a time. So not long ago, I went to the website of the Superior Hiking Trail Association and got what any serious Superior Trail hiker needs: the guidebook, which has mile-by-mile descriptions of each of the trails and directions to trailhead parking, plus six detailed maps of the trail.

I figured we’d start at the southernmost section, on a trail that cuts through Jay Cooke State Park — until I cracked the book, checked the association’s website and discovered that much of the trail and several trailhead parking lots in the Duluth area are still recovering from the 2012 flood.

I studied the book and unfurled the first map, until I conceded my own inexperience and decided to let someone more knowledgeable make the decision. I phoned the association headquarters.

I am looking for a nice day hike, I told the woman who answered, one that would encourage rather than discourage a young hiker.

She did not hesitate. “Take the Split Rock River Loop. It’s beautiful in the fall.”

The 5-mile trail starts and ends at the same parking lot, so there’s no worry about getting back to the car. It follows a tree-lined river and ends with majestic views of Lake Superior. That’s pretty encouraging to older hikers, too.


Send your questions or tips to travel editor Kerri Westenberg at, and follow her on Twitter at @kerriwestenberg.