Superior Hiking Trail: Sugarloaf Road to CR 6

Take in big views of Lake Superior and Sawmill Valley on this 28.3-mile, two-day hike.
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Take in big views of Lake Superior and Sawmill Valley on this 28.3-mile, two-day hike.

This section of the Superior Hiking Trail starts off flat, but don't be fooled—you'll climb from tannin-laden rivers to big cliff-top views of thick forest, glassy lakes, and Lake Superior. Near mile 5, tackle steeper climbing into bluffs above the Manitou River. At mile 9.6, the trail descends to a well near Benson Lake. Slurp down a cool, clear drink before moving on through hardwood forest to your camp between the Baptism River and Blesner Creek at mile 12.5.
Head up the river the next morning and veer off to visit a series of glassy lakes (listen to the echo of loon calls). Cross the East Branch of the Baptism River at mile 21 and climb into rolling hills above the southern shore. At mile 26, the trail rises into the cliffs of the Section 13 area, where climbers scale the rock faces and eagles hunt above. The trail descends onto CR 6 at mile 28.2.
-Mapped by Steffan Fay

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 45.4

Waypoints

Walk in the woods

Location: 47.4197196960449, -91.1884994506836

The SHT is often a nice walk in the woods.

Manitou River

Location: 47.4796257019043, -91.0976867675781

Manitou River

Section 13 Area

Location: 47.4233322143555, -91.1540679931641

Climber in the Section 13 area.

SHT Trail Blaze

Location: 47.4753761291504, -91.1436614990234

Look for these blazes on the trail.

Egge Lake

Location: 47.4552879333496, -91.2147827148438

Crystal Creek Bridge

Location: 47.4838752746582, -91.0119171142578

Crystal Creek Bridge

View from Section 13

Location: 47.4244232177734, -91.1546096801758

View west from Section 13 Area

Sawmill Creek Bog boardwalk

Location: 47.4259834289551, -91.1702880859375

Sawmill Creek Bog from the boardwalk.

Sonju Lake

Location: 47.4823303222656, -91.2060546875

Enjoy Sonju Lake from the picnic spot between the campgrounds. On calm days, the water was smooth as glass, and the only sound is from the loons.

SHT001

Location: 47.4979515075684, -90.9978485107422

The trail begins on easy grades heading southwest. Watch for whitetail deer at clearings.

SHT002

Location: 47.4837112426758, -91.0122222900391

Crystal Creek Bridge

SHT003

Location: 47.470516204834, -91.0332183837891

Conditions permitting, enjoy a dip in the Caribou River. SHT campsites are located here also.

SHT004

Location: 47.4854507446289, -91.078369140625

Trail climbs steeply to north.

SHT005

Location: 47.4802665710449, -91.1000671386719

Just past the Manitou River, turn right @ West Manitou River Trail.

SHT006

Location: 47.4855842590332, -91.1056976318359

Turn left @ Middle Trail.

SHT007

Location: 47.4790687561035, -91.111686706543

At the Benson Trailhead, walk through the parking area and head down the park access road.

SHT008

Location: 47.4779510498047, -91.1170196533203

The short spur up to the old-fashioned hand-pumped well is worth it. Cool, crystal-clear water, and no need to filter.

SHT009

Location: 47.4794654846191, -91.1232299804688

Follow the trail back into the woods as it crosses CR 7.

SHT010

Location: 47.4733200073242, -91.1603012084961

Campsite. Fall asleep surrounded by rushing water--the site is surrounded by the noisy Blesner Creek and the Baptism River.

SHT011

Location: 47.4823303222656, -91.204704284668

Enjoy Sonju Lake from the picnic spot between the campgrounds. On calm days, the water was smooth as glass, and the only sound is from the loons.

SHT012

Location: 47.4555053710938, -91.2154693603516

Spur to Egge Lake

SHT013

Location: 47.4346313476562, -91.2210006713867

Follow the trail along CR 7 southwest.

SHT014

Location: 47.4327163696289, -91.224235534668

Leave CR 7 for the backcountry once again by veering left off the road.

SHT015

Location: 47.4239311218262, -91.1701126098633

Take the time to sign the trail register at Sawmill Creek Bog, and follow the boardwalk along the huge beaver dam.

SHT016

Location: 47.4248962402344, -91.1535339355469

Take in the views from the high ground in the Section 13 area. The SHT campsite here is one of the few without adjacent water. Watch for bald eagles riding afternoon thermals.

SHT017

Location: 47.4116859436035, -91.1544723510742

Turn left when the trail reaches CR 6 and head back to the parking area if your car is there, or turn right to continue on the SHT.

SHT018

Location: 47.4118995666504, -91.1511993408203

Parking on CR 6