Saturday also is the annual National Trails Day, created by the American Hiking Society to spotlight our nation’s paths with special walks, programs and related activities across the country.

Coincidentally, the Star Tribune is sending freelance writer Melanie Radzicki McManus, shown above, on a 310-mile thru-hike of the Superior Hiking Trail, the gem of a path coursing along Minnesota’s North Shore. Hiking south to north, she begins Saturday at the Minnesota and Wisconsin border terminus near Jay Cooke State Park in Carlton. Star Tribune photographer Brian Peterson will help document McManus’ hike over two and a half weeks. McManus and Peterson will report on the walk and interesting stories about the trail’s popularity, vitality and future in a multi-part package, beginning July 6 in the Outdoors Weekend section and online at McManus’ writing should be familiar to Star Tribune readers — her features regularly appear in the Travel section. She also has serious cred in the hiking world. Her book “Thousand-Miler” chronicles her women’s fastpacking record (36 days) on Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail. She has since upped the mark to 34 days on a second go at the Ice Age.

Here is a sampling of National Trails Day-related gatherings in Minnesota, including a guided hike on the Superior Hiking Trail:

• Carlton: 10 a.m.-3 p.m., guided 6.6-mile hike by the Superior Hiking Trail Association. The hike is from Jay Cooke Grand Portage Trailhead to the state park visitor center. Meet at the visitor center. Information at

• Inver Grove Heights: Hike It National Trails Day, 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Salem Hills Park. Walk the single-track, unpaved trails. Strollers and dogs not permitted. RSVP and get more information at inver

• Grand Marais: Related Trails Day events, beginning at 11 a.m. at Voyageur Brewing Company and including a talk at 7 p.m. by explorer and mountain climber Lonnie Dupre of Grand Marais. Information at