My wife and I did a two week tour of several cities in Minnesota, including Grand Marais, Duluth & Hibbing. We were up there to escape the Florida heat and didn't really know what we were going to do, but turned out to have a really great vacation. Please see my other posts regarding lodging, meals, etc. if you are interested in a similar trip.
There are hundreds of miles on the SHT and we were very confused about where to start, access points, what part of the trail is best, etc. We are avid day hikers (mostly on the AT while on vacation) but never really got into the camping thing. We ended up doing a modified Split Rock River loop. We parked at the access parking on 61 (Mile Marker 43), took a short access trail and we were on our way. It's supposed to be one of the most popular trails, but it really wasn't that crowded at all. The trail itself was nice...a few steep sections but nothing too crazy. The hike along the river was absolutely beautiful. Many, many small water falls and rock walls to look at. We ended up eating lunch on a large flat boulder we climbed two in between two small waterfalls...can't get that in Florida. On the east side of the trail you hit a scenic overlook that's just amazing. Nice rolling hills & trees one way, Lake Superior the other way. The loop itself is five miles total...we added a bit to the east side loop to get seven or eight. Ended up taking the logging trails for the last mile or two. Different topography but still pretty. Last 1/2 mile or so is along the road, but that's OK. A++ hiking. There are plenty of access points along 61. The Gooseberry & Split Rock areas are very nice...further north are some nice trails as well.
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