Superior Hiking Trail: CR 3 to Kingsbury Creek Loop

Hike past rushing creeks, numerous overlooks, and verdant hills on the Superior Hiking Trail, then bike back on the Munger Trail on this 14.4-mile loop near Duluth.
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Hike past rushing creeks, numerous overlooks, and verdant hills on the Superior Hiking Trail, then bike back on the Munger Trail on this 14.4-mile loop near Duluth.

Stash your bike at the Superior Hiking Trail’s Kingsbury Creek Trailhead, and then start the hiking portion of this route at the Munger Trailhead just west of Gary, MN. After a brief walk on the paved Munger Trail, head uphill into an oak and pine forest for an 8.5-mile hike along newer sections of the Superior Hiking Trail.

The trail runs along a ridgeline for several miles with grand views of the St. Louis River and beyond before dipping down to follow Stewart, Knowlton, and Kingsbury creeks. At the Kingsbury Creek Trailhead, retrieve your bike, then zigzag .6 mile to the Munger Trail’s northern terminus on 75th Avenue. From here it’s a 5.9-mile ride through a corridor of hardwoods to return to the start.

-Mapped by Steffan Fay

TO TRAILHEAD: Bike: From Duluth, take I-35 S to exit 251B (on left). Merge onto Grand Ave./MN 23 S. In .7 mile, turn right onto Waseca St. Go .2 mile to Kingsbury Creek Trailhead.

Hike: From Kingsbury Creek Trailhead, head east on Waseca St. In 300 feet, turn right onto S. 72nd Ave. W. In .2 mile, turn right onto Grand Ave./MN 23. In 3.9 miles, turn right onto Becks Rd./CR 3. In 1.7 miles, turn right onto N. 123rd Ave. W. Go .2 mile to Munger Trailhead parking on left. 

Plan it

GUIDEBOOK AND MAP Guide to the Superior Hiking Trail: Linking People With Nature by Footpath Along Lake Superior’s North Shore ($16, shta.org); Five Map Set ($3, shta.org)
SEASON Spring has clear, rushing water. Fall is leaf season (peaks in early October) and holds respite from mosquitoes.
PERMIT None
CAMPING Make it an overnighter by hiking into a primitive campsite at Spirit Mountain Campground (spiritmt.com).
CONTACT Superior Hiking Trail Association (218) 834-2700;
shta.org/Trail/Duluth.php

GRUB
BLACK WOODS RESTAURANT
195 Co. Hwy. 2
Proctor, MN
(218) 628-0628
blackwoods.com

GAS
SPIRIT VALLEY LITTLE STATION
231 North Central Ave.
Duluth, MN
(218) 628-2493

GEAR
DULUTH PACK STORE
365 Canal Park Dr.
Duluth, MN
(218) 722-1707
duluthpack.com

GROCERIES
WHOLE FOODS CO-OP
610 E. 4th St.
Duluth, MN
(218) 728-0884
wholefoods.coop

Dayhiking gear list

Wear
Synthetic T-shirt
Synthetic shorts or pants
Synthetic undies
Wool hiking socks
Sunglasses
Hiking shoes or boots
Sunscreen (SPF 15+)

Pack
Midweight synthetic or fleece long-sleeve top
Wool or fleece hat
Waterproof/breathable jacket and pants
Map, compass, GPS unit
Water containers and water treatment (drops, tablets, or filter)
First-aid kit
Extra food and snacks
Firestarting kit
Lighweight gloves
Extra pair of socks (optional)
TP and trowel

PRINT & GO: To download a PDF of this route, go to backpacker.com/printandgo.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 23.2

Waypoints

SHT008

Location: 46.6851081848144, -92.2355804443359

Cross Skyline Parkway (gravel road).

SHT036

Location: 46.7273902893066, -92.1906661987305

Hike ends at SHT Kingsbury Creek Trailhead. Continue by bike to Munger Trailhead on city streets. Take Waseca St. east .1 mile to S. 71st Ave. W. Turn right (south); go .1 mile to Grand Ave./MN 23. Turn right (southwest) and go .3 mile on Grand Ave. Turn left (east) on S. 75th Ave. W./Pulaski St. Go 250 feet to Munger Trail on right.

Kingsbury Creek

Location: 46.7296257019043, -92.1989135742188

Kingsbury Creek from trail bridge

SHT025

Location: 46.7162704467773, -92.2054290771484

Turn left, uphill. Knowlton Creek rushes below.

SHT033

Location: 46.7234916687012, -92.2136764526367

Trail leaves old road; turn left to go up short, steep climb into woods.

View at Spirit Mountain Campground spur trail

Location: 46.7097473144531, -92.2158050537109

SHT013

Location: 46.6999206542969, -92.2282333374024

Cross Skyline Parkway again.

SHT018

Location: 46.7034912109375, -92.2224426269531

Spur trail to overlook

SHT001

Location: 46.6766357421875, -92.2579116821289

Hike southeast on paved Munger Trail/Superior Hiking Trail for about .3 mile to a rock outcrop.

Bridge crossing

Location: 46.7232513427734, -92.2157211303711

SHT012

Location: 46.6943092346191, -92.2348403930664

Cross ski trail.

SHT031

Location: 46.7229690551758, -92.2146301269531

Turn right @ Y-junction.

Kingsbury Creek rapids

Location: 46.7301712036133, -92.200813293457

Cairn and view northeast from SHT

Location: 46.6844635009766, -92.249870300293

SHT002

Location: 46.6747589111328, -92.2541275024414

Cross railroad (Munger Trail follows old railroad grade).

SHT004

Location: 46.6798286437988, -92.2517623901367

Pass spur trail on left to Elys Peak: a short climb for a great view. SHT follows ridgeline to the north and northeast from here over some rock outcrops and mixed deciduous and evergreen forest.

Munger and SHT junction

Location: 46.6749382019043, -92.2519454956055

View east towards rock cut on Munger Trail. SHT leaves to the north at this point.

Spirit Mountain ski area

Location: 46.7154312133789, -92.2061920166016

St. Louis River and Duluth

Location: 46.6876335144043, -92.2323379516602

Northeastern view: toward Duluth Harbor at mouth of St. Louis River, the cities of Duluth, MN, and Superior, WI, and the great Lake Superior beyond.

View from Elys Peak

Location: 46.6792030334473, -92.2525787353516

SHT037

Location: 46.7257385253906, -92.1875457763672

Convenience store: Good place to grab a drink or a bite before heading onto the bike trail.

SHT009

Location: 46.6863899230957, -92.2323532104492

Overlook

SHT039

Location: 46.7224922180176, -92.1906890869141

Northern terminus of Munger Trail. Ride Munger Trail southwest to start of hike.

SHT026

Location: 46.7178611755371, -92.2074584960938

Turn right onto old railroad bed.

SHT014

Location: 46.6994705200195, -92.2272186279297

Pass spur trail on right to overlook with views across Morgan Park to St. Louis River and Spirit Island.

SHT029

Location: 46.7192611694336, -92.2073593139648

Leave road; turn right into woods.

SHT016

Location: 46.703239440918, -92.2271881103516

Trail joins Skyline Parkway; follow gravel road across Stewart Creek on stone bridge.

SHT023

Location: 46.7148399353027, -92.2083969116211

Turn right to leave old railroad bed and head back into woods.

SHT007

Location: 46.6848907470703, -92.2370834350586

Spur trail to overlook

SHT003

Location: 46.6749382019043, -92.2520599365234

Turn left @ 3-way junction onto Superior Hiking Trail where it diverges from Munger Trail. SHT heads north for steep climb toward Elys Peak; follow blue blazes.

SHT027

Location: 46.7184600830078, -92.2070922851562

Bear left (north) to leave old railroad bed. Trail follows sharp ridge toward ski area maintenance building.

Bridge

Location: 46.6877365112305, -92.2438812255859

SHT bridge across small creek.

SHT020

Location: 46.7062492370606, -92.2194290161133

Pass under power lines.

Fall colors on the trail

Location: 46.6858711242676, -92.2487335205078

Abundant maple trees make the Superior Hiking Trail a vibrant fall foliage destination.

SHT035

Location: 46.7274513244629, -92.1935729980469

Go right, under bridge.

Railroad

Location: 46.6747436523438, -92.2540512084961

View south from trail bridge

Superior Hiking Trail

Location: 46.6878547668457, -92.24462890625

Cairn and view to southwest

Location: 46.6842269897461, -92.2499923706055

Fall on Superior Hiking Trail

Location: 46.6783714294434, -92.2521362304688

SHT011

Location: 46.6910400390625, -92.2349472045898

Cross ski trail.

SHT022

Location: 46.714469909668, -92.2086029052734

Turn left onto old railroad bed.

SHT010

Location: 46.6876182556152, -92.23193359375

Overlook with a great view of Duluth.

SHT006

Location: 46.6855697631836, -92.2383728027344

Spur trail to overlook

SHT017

Location: 46.703800201416, -92.224479675293

Trail leaves road; bear right (east-southeast) and head back down into woods.

Changing leaves

Location: 46.6876945495606, -92.2431335449219

Sunlight filters through lingering leaves on the Superior Hiking Trail.

SHT021

Location: 46.7097511291504, -92.2157897949219

Spur trail to Spirit Mountain Campground

SHT034

Location: 46.7295989990234, -92.1988677978516

Take Kingsbury Creek spur trail southeast (right turn) to trailhead; main SHT continues east.

SHT015

Location: 46.7017517089844, -92.2259826660156

Pass spur trail to Magney-Snively Trailhead parking lot.

SHT005

Location: 46.6791801452637, -92.2526168823242

Elys Peak

SHT028

Location: 46.7196998596191, -92.2065277099609

Trail turns sharply to left down onto gravel road.

St. Louis River valley

Location: 46.6856269836426, -92.238166809082

View across the St. Louis River valley

SHT038

Location: 46.7227897644043, -92.1916275024414

Munger Inn; bicycle rentals available. Head southwest on paved Munger Trail.

SHT019

Location: 46.7056999206543, -92.2205810546875

Cross stone-wall-bounded creek on wood bridge. Just beyond, look for an old house foundation with a few artifacts.

View over Morgan Park

Location: 46.6995811462402, -92.2269744873047

Overlook featuring views over Morgan Park to St. Louis River and Spirit Island

SHT030

Location: 46.721549987793, -92.209342956543

Spur trail to overlook; trail continues straight above Knowlton Creek.

Railroad bridge

Location: 46.7268333435059, -92.193962097168

Old railroad bridge over Kingsbury Creek

SHT032

Location: 46.7231483459473, -92.2160720825195

Pass spur to Spirit Mountain Trailhead. Stay on SHT by heading north. Just past here, trail picks up old road.

Junction of Munger and SHT

Location: 46.6752815246582, -92.2521362304688

SHT heads uphill from paved Munger Trail

SHT024

Location: 46.7153816223144, -92.2060089111328

Spirit Mountain ski area