Jul 8, 2009 at 12:05 pm #1237604
I am considering the SHT for my first thru hike in October this year. October is the soonest I can set aside 2 weeks and I would like to avoid bugs and the heat anyway. What are the pros and cons of doing a thru this time of year?Jul 8, 2009 at 1:04 pm #1512700
@sharaldsLocale: Gallatin Range
- Fewer people
- leaves are off trees providing more views
- No bugs
- Cooler temps
Jul 8, 2009 at 3:06 pm #1512727
- Hunting related trail closures
- Potential for snow
- Cold temps
If you go in early October, you'll still get pretty spectacular colors (see Photos below, taken end of first week in October).
Weather is cool…good to great for hiking, essentially no bugs other than the occasional fly, moderate day hiker foot traffic.
Sam is right that on some weekends, in the state parks, the trail may be temporarily closed because of hunting permitted during deer season.
As the month progresses, it will be noticeably cooler. Night time lows in the teens for late October or 20s for early to mid are typical.Jul 8, 2009 at 3:55 pm #1512739
Ditto everything Sam and Bill said. I went last year in mid September and in mid October. The leaves changed overnight in September.
Here's my trip report from September: http://crazyrunnerguy.blogspot.com/2008/09/blitz-successful-612-miles-completed.html My pictures are not as spectacular as Bill's, though. Here's one from my trip is October with my father (his first hiking trip!). Bonus points for guessing the locations (without looking at my Facebook page).
All photos from each trip are on my facebook page.
Oh, and Bill:Jul 8, 2009 at 6:43 pm #1512794
Thanks for the pictures and info guys. I don't mind low temperatures in the 20's and teens and it looks like the colors would be great. The hunting season looks like it would be an issue though. If parts of the trail are closed there really isn't much I can do to work around that. I may have to consider the middle of September. Are all the bugs gone by then? I really despise mosquitoes.Jul 8, 2009 at 7:05 pm #1512798
By September, the bugs are pretty much toast.
And the hunting isn't all the time. We encountered it briefly on an October weekend (only) and in a State Park (only).
If I were you, I'd call the Superior Hiking Trail Association in Two Harbors MN (Phone: 218-834-2700, Fax: 218-834-4436,
E-Mail: email@example.com) and ask them about more info on the timetable for hunting that might affect trail access. FWIW, the story we were told last year was that hunting in the state parks was "rare" and was allowed because of an excess deer population in the area.Jul 8, 2009 at 7:50 pm #1512806
I am also planning on doing another section of the SHT in the first week in October. Here is an excerpt from the "Guide to the Superior Hiking Trail" put out by the SHTA.
"Fall is a symphony of colors and smells on the SHT, and the lack of biting insects make it the friendliest time of the year to hike. Fall also brings deer hunting season. Many sections of the SHT are closed during deer season. Check with the SHT office or check the website for a list of closures."
I guess I will be calling the office to see what is closed, and when…Jul 8, 2009 at 7:59 pm #1512808
Matt's last picture … looking at the Poplar River Valley from a rock outcrop that's a 100 yard bushwack west of the West Lake Agnes campsite?
Oh, October IS a great time to be on the trail (unless you get that very very rare foot of snow). Most years the maple belt is at peak color approx the last weekend of Sep. Birch about two weeks later. It's nice even after the leaves are down … the see-thru season … you'll see things that have been hidden by foliage all summer. I'm up there the third weekend of Oct every year regardless of weather)Jul 8, 2009 at 8:50 pm #1512819
@sharaldsLocale: Gallatin Range
Matt's first picture is tough and I'm not even going to guess. Picture two is probably Bean or Bear overlook, and three is definitely Poplar river like Jim said. I love the bend in the trail when hiking NOBO that loops out to this overlook and then swoops around the ridge and down to the Lake. There's poetry in that little swoop for me.Jul 9, 2009 at 9:33 am #1512918
OK, I emailed the SHT office and asked about hunting-related trail closures. Here's the answer.
"Hi, there are no trail closures in October due to hunting. The only closure is in November during the firearms deer hunting season."
Based on that, you'll be good to go for the entire month.Jul 9, 2009 at 2:16 pm #1512995
Thanks for the info William. Now how about transportation. I'm looking at taking the Amtrak from Michigan to Minneapolis and then a bus to Duluth. After that I'm not sure.Jul 9, 2009 at 2:38 pm #1512999
If you can get yourself to Two Harbors (about 20 miles north of Duluth), you can use the Superior Hiking Trail Shuttle (www.superiorshuttle.com)to get you to and from almost any point on the trail. Check their website for schedule and prices. For drop off or pickup at the far northern trail terminus, you'd have to make specific special arrangements for that with the shuttle since the normal schedule doesn't go all the way to the end. FYI, the shuttle is an independent company, not an official part of the Superior Hiking Trail Association.
You might just call the shuttle folks to see if they'd pick you up in Duluth…or if not, whether they could recommend an alternative.
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