Minnesota News

Two popular trail loops on Minnesota’s North Shore will close for repair work this year

A view of a lake from a rock outcropping
A view of Bean Lake along the Superior Hiking Trail near Silver Bay. The Bean and Bear Lakes Loop will close for repair work on May 15.
Andrew Krueger | MPR News file

Two popular segments of the North Shore’s Superior Hiking Trail will be closed for at least part of this year, as crews work to repair damage caused by years of heavy use.

Erosion damage to a trail through a forest
Years of heavy use have caused sections of degraded trail on the Bean and Bear Lakes Loop along the Superior Hiking Trail near Silver Bay, Minn. The section will close in May for restoration work.
Courtesy Superior Hiking Trail Association

The Superior Hiking Trail Association announced Monday that the Bean and Bear Lakes Loop will close on May 15, and part of the Split Rock River Loop will close on Sept. 1.

The Bean and Bear Lakes Loop features stunning overlooks from rock outcroppings high above the two lakes near Silver Bay. The Split Rock River Loop is a scenic hike that follows the twists and turns of the river upstream from Highway 61.

It’s not clear how long each section will be closed, with the association saying that reopening dates are “project dependent.”

A muddy trail with a broken drainage pipe
A failed drainage system is seen along the Split Rock River Loop of the Superior Hiking Trail on Minnesota's North Shore. The section will close in September for restoration work.
Courtesy Superior Hiking Trail Association

“Due to deferred maintenance and high-usage of these sections, both the Bean and Bear Lakes Loop and Split Rock River Loop are experiencing serious erosion and tread issues, and also feature aging infrastructure. Both loops require updating to modern trail design standards,” the Superior Hiking Trail Association said in a news release.

“These renewal projects will restore and renew these gorgeous North Shore trail loops to be enjoyed for many years to come while also increasing their ability to withstand high visitor use and weather-related impacts.”

The association is working on the projects in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

A map showing trail segments that will be closed
A map showing trail segments that will be closed starting May 15, 2024, in the Bean and Bear Lakes area along the Superior Hiking Trail.
Courtesy Superior Hiking Trail Association

Bean and Bear Lakes Loop

This closure, starting May 15, will affect 2.2 miles of the main Superior Hiking Trail — including all of the overlooks of Bean and Bear lakes, as well as the Penn Creek and Bear Lake campsites. A 1.2-mile spur trail also will be closed.

Hikers will have a bypass option around the closed section, but it won’t have access to the lakes.

In addition to trail repair work, crews will also rehabilitate the Bear Lake campsite.

A map showing trail segments that will be closed
A map showing trail segments that will be closed starting Sept. 1, 2024, in the Split Rock River area along the Superior Hiking Trail.
Courtesy Superior Hiking Trail Association

Split Rock River Loop

This closure, starting Sept. 1, will affect the eastern side of the loop — about 1.8 miles of the main Superior Hiking Trail. It includes the Southeast and Northeast Split Rock River campsites.

The west side of the loop will remain open, and there will be a bypass option for through-hikers.

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