Activity Photo: Backpacking

Backpacking the Superior can be a wonderful experience.  You'll be a part of history as you hike on trails that may have been traveled for hundreds of years, or even longer.  You could see moose, black bears, or hear wolves howl in the night. 

There are several trails in the Superior National Forest that offer world class backpacking opportunities.  The Superior Hiking Trail runs from Duluth to Grand Portage passing though the eastern edge of the Superior on its way.  The Superior Hiking Trail Association maintains a website with current conditions and trail information.  The Border Route Trail follows portions of the 'Voyageurs' Highway' traversed by fur traders at the turn of the 18th century.  Along with the Border Route Trail, several other trails travel into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.  Be sure to look for more information on the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness portion of the website before planning a trip on those trails.

Backpackers should be sure to practice the seven principles of Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics.  While 'Pack It Out, Pack It In' is an important part of Leave No Trace, good LNT goes far beyond that.  Visit the LNT website for information on how to Leave No Trace as you travel. 

When preparing for your backpacking trip, here are some things to keep in mind.  Much of the Superior National Forest lacks reliable cell phone coverage, so don't count on your cell phone for emergencies.  Take it with, but have a back up plan for emergency contact.  Weather on the Superior can change rapidly.  Summer thunderstorms and high winds are common, so be ready to handle the weather.  Bring a map and compass, and know how to use them, even if you have a GPS.  Leave your route and an expected return date with someone when you leave.

Lastly, be prepared to have a great trip!

Backpacking Areas

  • Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
  • Angleworm Hiking Trail
  • Big Moose Trail
  • Border Route Trail
  • Brule Lake Trail
  • Eagle Mountain Trail
  • Herriman Lake Trail
  • Kekekabic Trail East
  • Kekekabic Trail West
  • Norway Trail
  • Powwow Trail
  • Sioux-Hustler Trail
  • Snowbank Lake Trail and Backcountry Sites
  • South Lake Trail
  • Gunflint Ranger District (Grand Marais MN)
  • Kawishiwi Ranger District (Ely MN)
  • Bass Lake Trail
  • Secret/Blackstone Lake Trail
  • LaCroix Ranger District (Cook MN)
  • Astrid Lake Area
  • Laurentian Ranger District (Aurora MN)
  • Big/Stone Lake Trail
  • Deepwater Lake Trail
  • Otto/Harris Lake Trail
  • Sturgeon River Trail
  • Tofte Ranger District (Tofte MN)
  • Hogback Lake Rustic Campground & Backcountry Sites

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities