This morning was so beautiful I knew I just had to get out and do some hiking. Originally I had intended to head up to Tettegouche State Park to hike the 9 mile loop in the guide book that Noelle and I own. However, as I drove north up the Scenic Highway I just had to stop and appreciate the scenery several times. I made a stop at Brighton Beach in Duluth and then at Stony Point outside of town. When I got back on the road I noticed a sign for the Superior Hiking Trail at the town of Knife River. This is a section of trail that is not well advertised by the SHTA, and I decided I wanted to take the opportunity to find out what surprises this section of trail might offer.
From the parking lot the trail immediately followed alongside the Knife River. The water was pretty high due to yesterday's thunderstorms and so I got a view of the First Falls that was much more impressive than when I had visited them just last week.
From the First Falls the trail passed under the Highway 61 expressway. It was here that the trail wasn't quite obvious. I walked on the shoulder of the road and turned around before seeing a small SHT sign affixed to a wooden guardrail post.
On the other side of the highway the trail followed a grassy and wet path for a bit. Then I came to a trail intersection with a spur trail that led to an overlook. I decided to take the spur and was rewarded with a nice view of a serpentine bend in the Knife River.
I retraced my steps back to the main trail and soon crossed a gravel road. On the other side of the road the trail soon became more defined and showed evidence of much more use than the grassy one I had been following. I soon found myself on a section of trail I had hiked on before with Noelle, her mom and her Aunt Lisa. We had been back here to see the Second Falls back in March.
I passed the Second Falls and Coppeer Mine site and followed alongside the river for quite some time.
I found a nice place to stop along the river for lunch. It was a great lunch listening to the water cascade and my turkey with Swiss cheese and guacamole was delicious as was the nectarine I ate. After lunch the trail followed the river for a short distance before veering away and onto grassy, wet paths like the ones I had hiked earlier.
When I found myself at the eastern trail-head after 4.5 miles of hiking I decided to walk roads back to my car instead of walking the wet grass again. It was a good decision as I found a nice agate on the gravel road and also a deer skull and interesting caterpillar (actually an elm sawfly larvae).
It was also a much shorter way back to my car than following the trail back would have been.