Snowshoe the Split Rock River Loop Trail

State Highway 61 Wayside Trailhead

Snowshoe one of the most popular sections of the Superior Hiking Trail. This day hike loop offers spectacular scenery, including views of the Split Rock River gorge, river valley, Split Rock Lighthouse, and Lake Superior.

Beginning at the Split Rock Wayside rest stop, start your hike up the Spur Trail. About half a mile in, the Spur Trail will junction with the Superior Hiking Trail. The trail gradually ascends along the west side of the Split Rock River. Within the first mile, you will cross over a small bridge overlooking a frozen waterfall; a nice vantage point for photography. Enjoy excellent views of the river gorge, rhyolite red rock, and the surrounding cedar and birch forest as the trail continues to gently climb. Near the halfway point of the trail, you will come across a large split boulder. There is speculation that this "split rock" was how the river came to be named the Split Rock River. This is a great spot to take a brief rest and enjoy a small snack before moving on.

You will know you've reached the halfway point of the loop when you reach an old bridge that crosses the river. The bridge looks rather rickety but is a lot more stable than it appears. Cross the river bridge and continue along the trail. The east side of the trail gently descends and is relatively flat. There are nice views of the river valley along this side. The trail then leads away from the river and back into the birch forest. One final jaunt up a hill will take you to a small picnic shelter where you will find grand views of Lake Superior. From the lake overlook, descend back down a short series of wooden steps, where you will link back up with the Spur Trail for a short distance before finishing out along Highway 61. Walk back up Highway 61 to the Wayside rest, about 1/3 mile back to your vehicle.

Depending on how used the trail is, you may not need to wear snowshoes to do this hike in the winter. I found that when I did this hike, the trail was packed down enough where I didn't need to wear my snowshoes. My pair of Yaktrax worked nicely for this hike.

Pack List

  • Snowshoes or appropriate footwear for hiking in snow
  • Warm clothing in layers; hats, gloves, etc.
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Camera
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RT Distance 5 Miles
Elevation Gain 280 Feet
Activities Photography, Snowshoeing, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Winter
Trail Type Loop
Features
Easy Parking
Forest
River
Scenic

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Great Scenery, Trail Needs Work

Beautiful hike today with yesterday's snowfall. Unfortunately trail seems over hiked and does not drain well. Final bridge across the river is not there.


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