America's Best Hikes
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Superior Hiking Trail, Minnesota
The hike: Even just thinking about the Superior Hiking Trail fills us with pine-scented, clear-lung wonder. The 205-mile route follows the shoreline of Lake Superior from Two Harbors, Minnesota, to the Canadian border through both cities and wilderness—which means that after a few days of remoteness, you can refuel on smoked trout in a North Shore restaurant. Backpackers will be keen on the 82 free campsites located every eight to ten miles. But thanks to a variety of lodging along the trail—yurts, inns, B&Bs—even indoors-y types who demand a real bed each night can enjoy the river-canyon overlooks and waterfalls.
Peak experience: Water, water everywhere—drinking in views of the great blue Lake Superior and the Split Rock River Valley from the shelter on the Split Rock River Loop.
Need a shortcut?: Pick up the five-mile Split Rock River Loop trail just south of Split Rock Lighthouse State Park (pictured).
Base camp: The Scandinavian-styled Cove Point Lodge in Beaver Bay (near the Split Rock River Loop). All 45 of the main lodge rooms face Lake Superior, while the Fjord and Coveside cottages, which sit among birch and pine trees, have Jacuzzis and fireplaces (lodge doubles from $79; cottages from $170).
When to go: Early October is prime season for fall foliage.