What's the best way to hike the Superior Hiking Trail?What's the best way to experience the Superior Hiking Trail? My dad and I will be heading up north to do some hiking on the SHT the week after Labor day. My dad is not much of a backpacker/camper, but loves day hikes. We will have 4 full days out there and are somewhat confused on where to start. I saw the lodge to lodge hike, which looks interesting and takes the guesswork out, but I have not seen any comments on this. What are your thoughts? - Julie, Bristol, Wis.
It's certainly easy to base yourself in one place and take a lot of day hikes, especially if that's what your dad loves. That gives you a lot of flexibility to do other kinds of sightseeing on foot — exploring Artists Point on Grand Marais' harbor, walking around Gooseberry Falls, hunting for agates on the beaches, picnicking on Palisade Head.
On your way up, stop at the SHT office in Two Harbors and pick up a copy of "Guide to the Superior Trail.'' Since you have the time, you might want to do some of the more challenging but scenic hikes, such as the 11-mile section between Silver Bay and Minnesota 1. You can call Superior Shuttle for a return.
There are some good loop hikes, too, especially on the Split Rock and Cascade rivers. For more on the best hikes, see Hiking the North Shore.
It's also fun to use a bicycle to shuttle yourself. You just leave your bicycles at one end of the section you want to hike, then drive to the start. At the end, you retrieve your bikes and return on the Gitchi-Gami State Trail to your car. You can rent bikes in Tofte. For good bike-hike routes, see Walk 'n' roll.
If you want to hike lodge-to-lodge, Barbara and Ted Young's Boundary Country Trekking is very reputable, and the Youngs are good folks. It will cost you about $105 per person per night. They'll recommend a route.
You should reserve lodgings now. The week after Labor Day is a good time to go, in the lull between summer and the busy fall-color season, but the North Shore always is popular.