The North Country National Scenic Trail is the longest in the United States stretching 4,800 miles across eight states from North Dakota to Vermont. I have hiked it “bit by bit” in Minnesota on the Superior Hiking Trail, the Kekekabic, and Border Route and in Michigan in the Porcupine Mountains and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and one long summer day in Northern Wisconsin.
Pictured Rocks, Michigan
200-foot sandstone cliffs “painted” by leeching minerals loom above the turquoise waters of Lake Superior.
Porcupine Mountains, Michigan
It was easy walking through the “Porkies” in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, but strikingly soulful.
The Superior Hiking Trail overview
Tips for hiking the 310-mile premier backpacking path in the American midwest.
SHT: day 16, Caribou Pond to 270 Overlook (Northern Terminus) 13 miles
At Hellacious Overlook, squalls move over Lake Superior then it’s one more high point until the end near Canada.
SHT: day 15, Beach Walk to Caribou Pond, 26 miles
A beach walk, colossal falls, magical pools and ridge-line views make this penultimate day one of the best.
SHT: day 14, E Devil Track to Beach Walk, 13 miles
It’s all mist and drizzle through the mysterious Devil Track past seven creeks to a friend’s warm cabin.
SHT: day 13, Overlook Mountain to E Devil Track River, 23 miles
A brilliant sunrise leads to a damp day and a wet plant “carwash” past Grand Marais, field-testing a rain poncho.
SHT: day 12, Springdale Creek to Lookout Mountain, 26 miles
It’s rolling terrain through forest past mountains with views, then gorgeous Lake Agnes and Poplar River.
SHT: day 11, Crystal Creek to Springdale Creek, 22 miles
A glorious day past rushing Cross and Temperance Rivers and over the highest point, Carlton Peak.
SHT: day 10, Leskinen Creek to Crystal Creek, 23 miles
An exposed Canadian Shield island on Sonju Lake is followed by wild Manitou River and glorious Horseshoe Ridge.
SHT: day 9, E Palisade to Leskinen Creek, 20 miles
It’s one of the most difficult days from Tettegouche to Section 13 on high cliffs above Gitchee Gumee.
SHT: day 8, SE Split Rock to E Palisade Creek, 22 miles
The views are superb of the big lake and glacial Bean and Bear Lakes below basalt cliffs.
SHT: day 7, Castle Danger to SE Split Rock, 20 miles
The trail begins to feel like it’s arrived on the shore tracing both Gooseberry Falls and wild Split Rock River.
SHT: day 6, McCarthey Creek to Castle Danger, 19 miles
The trail provides like magic on a day filled with birdsong and my first big climbs.
SHT: day 5, Normanna Road to McCarthey Creek, 23 miles
It’s a fantastically windy day on trail through regenerating forests and gigantic ferns.
SHT: day 4, Chester Creek to Normanna Road, 16 miles (more or less)
More lovely streams and forests before following a snowmobile trail through swamp.