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Weekend backpacking on the Superior Hiking Trail

WHY ATTEND?  Are you interested in hiking through the stunning natural beauty of the north shore and Superior Hiking Trail - past high granite cliffs and scenic gorges with towering waterfalls, through dense northern boreal forests?  Perhaps you have a goal to section hike the entire SHT and are looking to knock off another section?  Maybe you are looking for a training and gear test hike to prepare for a big summer backpacking trip?  Or maybe you are looking to meet and learn from fellow friendly knowledgeable backpackers?  Then this trip is for you!

THE HIKE:  Cascade River State Park to Oberg Mountain:  27.3 miles total in 2 days.

HIKE SUMMARY:  Backpack 27.3 miles from Cascade River to Oberg Mountain in 2 days + 2 nights.  Enjoy Cascade River State Park, Lookout Mountain, views of Lake Superior and the Sawtooth Range. Hike through a diverse forest ranging from a mature maple canopy through mixed forest (birch/aspen/pine/spruce). Stretches of trail parallel the winding Poplar River and breath-taking Lake Agnes. Climb Lookout, Moose, Mystery and Oberg Mountains.

See for more information on this hike.

HIKE DIFFICULTY:  This will be a strenuous hike of 5-7 hours per day depending on your pace.  You should have a good level of fitness to make this trip.

We will be hiking rain or shine.  Come prepared for rain.  Lake Superior can make its own fog and rain even when its sunny 2 miles inland.

We will be hiking one way, so will not be camping at the same location Friday and Saturday nights.  You will need to carry all your gear with you in your backpack.


Friday night we will meet approx. 9 PM at Cascade River State Park where we will tent camp.  This camp has bath/shower services.  I have reserved Group Camp GP2 for us which holds up to 20 people in tents.  You do not need to reserve your own campsite.

That night or the next morning we will need to drop a vehicle at the Oberg Mountain trailhead for our return ride on Sunday.

Saturday we will backpack southwest 13.3 miles and tent camp at East and/or West Lake Agnes backpackers campsite.  These are remote campsites with water nearby but no other services.

Sunday we will continue southwest 14 miles to Oberg Mountain trailhead.  You can optionally hike the Oberg Mountain loop (great views) which is an additional 1.8 miles.  If you are in a carpool you will need to reach the trailhead by 4:30 PM at the latest for the carpool home.

From Oberg Mountain trailhead we will retrieve our vehicle(s) from Cascade River State Park, and then return to the Twin Cities by approx. 9pm.

CARPOOLING:  If you want to carpool up from the Twin Cities, or are willing to drive your vehicle as a carpool, reply to this meetup event asap. 

I will drive my Suburban.  I can take three carpoolers and will have room in back for a lot of backpack and gear.

We will need at least one more vehicle for carpoolers and to leave at the Oberg Mountain trailhead.  

Carpoolers will meet Friday evening no later than 5:30pm at the Walmart in Forest Lake, MN, on the south-east corner of I-35N and CR-2.  Meet in the parking lot near Arby's.  I will be driving a dark green 2001 Chevy Suburban truck with a black Thule luggage carrier on top.

The address is:

200   12th Street Southwest, Forest Lake, MN 55025

The store manager told me we can leave vehicles there, at your own risk, over the weekend.


The leaders and your fellow hikers are a helpful, friendly bunch.  Should you have issues on the trail we will try to help as much as possible.  If it’s not an emergency and you decide to end your hike early, we will help you get to the next road crossing where you can exit or wait for carpool pickup Sunday afternoon.

We will be crossing 2 roads on our hike: The Caribou Trail (CR-4) Saturday afternoon, and 36 at Lutsen mid-day Sunday.  Should you have issues on the trail you can end your hike at these roads.  If you are car-pooling, your driver can pick you up at these junctions on the way home approximately 4:30 Sunday afternoon.  If you drove yourself, you can walk or try to get a ride down those roads to Highway 61 which is heavily traveled.  Likewise if you are carpooling and know you can't reach the Oberg trailhead by 4:30 Sunday, you need to reach one of these roads before 4:30 Sunday afternoon.

Cell phone coverage is spotty in that area, so don't rely on being able to call your driver.  

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:  You will need to bring at minimum the following equipment:  backpack, comfortable (and broken in) hiking boots or trail runners, waterproof tent or shelter, sleeping bag (rated 30 degrees or colder), food, and water bottle.  A rain suit is highly recommended along the north shore this time of year.

We should be able to share cook stoves and water filters/purifiers.  I suspect some people will be up for sharing meals/potluck too.

If you need gear, the University of MN rents quality backpacking equipment at reasonable rates - see:  

ANTICIPATED COSTS:  your share of the gas if you carpool, and of the $57 fee for the group camp site Friday night at Cascade River State Park.

PRE-TRIP MEETING:  I will host a meet-n-greet on Monday April 21 at the Crooked Pint in Minneapolis, from 6-8pm.  This meeting is for hikers to meet each other and plan out trip details.  This meeting is strongly recommended for attendees of this meetup.

If you have questions, speak up!  I'm sure there are many willing to help out.

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  • Charles R.

    I will be riding up with Heidi separately. See you on Friday evening.

    May 15, 2014

  • Katie

    I am happy to drive. I have a subaru outback with plenty of space for people and gear. I also have the state park sticker so if I need to leave my car at Cascade SP that isn't a problem. See you all on Friday!

    1 · May 14, 2014

  • Craig M.

    Ha! Funny timing. I just finished a 6 mile loop w/loaded pack at Baker Park, trudging through rain/snow and puddles most of the way. And my feet stayed dry! Wish I could say the same about my rain pants.

    I may join you Saturday.

    April 29, 2014

  • Josh W.

    I am doing a 10 mile training hike with a full backpack at Murphy Hanrehan this Saturday. If you are interested in joining me you can sign up for it on the MN Sierra Club Outings Meetup or email me.

    April 29, 2014

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