One day I got a wild hair to hike the entire Superior Hiking Trail by the time I turned 40 years old in 2020. When I made this plan I was 35 years old.
“Hiked this difficult but beautiful portion of the Superior Hiking Trail. 6 1/2 hours to go 11 miles! Never knew what was waiting for you around each corner–another steep hill, more mud, or a truly scenic view. More guided portions coming up in Sept and Oct through the SHTA. Only 299 miles left to go friend.” ~ My friend Beth.
So, yesterday my friend Beth and I piled into my car for a 3.5 hour road trip up to Silver Bay, Minnesota to meet up with approximately 20-30 strangers to hike 11.1 miles of this very rugged section of the trail.
I donned my Keen’s, some shorts, a day pack and we were good to go. We had an amazing drive up with great conversations about our kids (they attend the same school), and we both share a passion for hiking.
Once we arrived we agreed to drive up two middle-aged women to the start who promised to give us a ride back to our car. (This is how the system works).
Once we got on to hiking I immediately fell in love with the dark forest leading towards the High Falls at Tettegouche. Though it was August it was fairly cool (not cold, but not beastly hot) on the trail.
We enjoyed high vistas, huge muck fields from the copious amounts of rain they had received the week before, and billy goat hikes up steep embankments.
It was an amazing hike, and I am thirsty for more!
Hike Option: Bean and Bear Lakes Loop (also called the Twin Lakes Trail), 6.8 miles. From the Penn Blvd. Trailhead parking lot, take the main SHT 3.6 miles to see lovely Bean and Bear Lakes to the junction with the loop trail, which is 0.2 miles past the Bear Lake Campsite spur. Then take the loop trail back through the woods to the main trail and back to the parking lot.
There is an alternate start to this loop trail hike at the Bay Area Historical Society/Silver Bay Visitor Center. This 2.3 mile spur starts on Silver Bay ATV trails for 0.7 miles and is then on nice trail through the woods to the loop. The total mileage for this option is 7.6 miles. Directions to Visitor Center: At Hwy. 61 milepost 54.3, turn left at stoplight on Outer Drive and go 0.5 miles to Visitor Center on right.
Silver Bay (Penn Boulevard) Trailhead: At Hwy. 61 milepost 54.3, turn left at stoplight on Outer Drive and go 1.5 miles to Penn Blvd. Continue straight 0.5 miles on Penn Blvd. to parking lot on right. Overnight parking okay.
Alternate Parking Option #1: Tettegouche State Park Wayside. At Hwy. 61 milepost 58.5 on right. No state park sticker required. Day use only. To access the SHT, take state park spur trail to High Falls of the Baptism River.
Alternate Parking Option #2: State Park parking lot inside state park. At Hwy. 61 milepost 58.5 on right. Take road to picnic area and large parking lot. Overnight parking okay with state park sticker; check-in with state park staff.
- Very challenging and scenic section with views of Lake Superior and inland forests
- Views of Bean and Bear Lakes from trail on ridge
- Incredible views from Round Mountain, Mount Trudee, and Raven Rock
- Steep descent down the Drainpipe, a series of giant rock steps
- Crosses on bridge over High Falls of the Baptism River, the highest falls entirely in Minnesota