Two popular hiking loops to close for upgrades

The Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) Association, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, will close two popular hiking loops in order to complete trail renewal projects in 2024, including Split Rock River Loop and Bean and Bear Lakes Loop. The association says this is for the safety of trail users and project contractors.

Both loops are experiencing erosion and tread issues due to deferred maintenance and high foot traffic. No word yet as to when these popular trails will be reopened.

Bean and Bear Lakes Loop will close May 15 and impact 2.2 miles of the main SHT trail corridor. Hikers will be able to get around this section using the George’s Gorge ATV Trail.

Penn Creek and Bear Lake Campsite will also be closed- along with all Bean and Bear Lake overlooks. Bear Lake Campsite will be rehabilitated by part of the larger renewal project.

The eastern side of the Split Rock River Loop will close September 1 and impact 1.8 miles of the main SHT corridor. Hikers will have to take the same re-route that’s suggested when the river is running too high for safety. Southeast and Northeast Split Rock River Campsites will close.

The renewal project will help the trails meet modern design standards, ensuring that they’ll be better able to withstand high visitor use and weather related impacts.

There is no set time for when these trails will reopen. The Trail Association says that it depends on how the project goes and that they’ll be providing updates online.

These projects are made possible with funding from the Environment and Natural Resource Trust as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources.