Superior Hiking Trail – Silver Bay

Location Silver Bay, MN
Distance ~15 miles
Total Elevation Gain 2700 ft
Topographic Map

The Superior Hiking Trail is one of the better places to backpack in the Midwest. It has a lot of trail miles, varied terrain, and good views. The Silver Bay section is probably the best section of the SHT. It includes the super scenic Bear and Bean lake overlooks as well as the aptly-named “Drainpipe”.

The section itself is good for a weekend or a very long day. What I like to do, since I live so far from the area, is drive up Friday night, camp at the closest site, and then spend Saturday through Sunday hiking. The SHT has designated sites but no fees, permits, or reservations required! This makes it ideal for a quick, I-just-now-decided-to-do-this outing.

Like you’d expect, this isn’t the loneliest place. You’ll probably see other people and, depending on your camping strategy, butt up against a few in the campsites that are closer to the roads. Don’t be a noisy punk when you enter or exit the campsite late at night and the other campers probably won’t care (either that or you’ll be protected by their Midwest-nice ways).

Like you’d also expect, this place is gorgeous in the fall (as are many places in this area). However, it’s also nice in the summertime. If you nab the campsite by Bear Lake you can spend a lazy afternoon swimming in its clear waters.

I recommend setting up a shuttle, if you can. Otherwise, you can lollipop it (see “alternate” in the topo map) but there’d be waaay more stick than candy.

  • Water is pretty abundant, but there is no accessible water between Beaver River to Bear Lake (~7 miles). Plan accordingly!
  • The Drainpipe is a hilarious place to watch your friends slide around in the mud. Go down the hill last!

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