Popular trail on Minnesota's North Shore closed for repair work

A view of a lake from a rock outcropping
A view of Bear Lake (foreground) and Bean Lake along the Superior Hiking Trail near Silver Bay in May 2014. The trail to the overlooks closed Wednesday for repair work.
Andrew Krueger | MPR News file

A popular segment of the North Shore’s Superior Hiking Trail closed Wednesday so crews can repair damage caused by years of heavy use.

The Superior Hiking Trail Association announced in April that the Bean and Bear Lakes Loop near Silver Bay would be temporarily closing as of May 15. The closure includes all of the scenic overlooks from rock outcroppings high above the two lakes, as well as the Penn Creek and Bear Lake campsites. A 1.2-mile spur trail also is closed.

Crews will be working to repair erosion and other damage caused by years of heavy use. In addition to trail repair work, crews will also rehabilitate the Bear Lake campsite.

There is a posted bypass route around the closure.

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

It’s not clear how long the loop will be closed. The association said in April that the reopening date is “project dependent” — it’ll depend on what work crews encounter once repairs are underway.

Another Superior Hiking Trail maintenance closure is planned later this year. The eastern half of the Split Rock River Loop — another popular North Shore hike — will close on Sept. 1. The Split Rock River Loop is a scenic hike that follows the twists and turns of the river upstream from Highway 61.

“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 an April news release announcing the upcoming closures.

“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.