When staying at Caribou Highlands there are two good hikes you can go on. Both are suited for one day hikes out and back. They are both on the same trail, but in opposite directions.

The Superior Hiking Trail runs 310 miles from Duluth to the Canadian Border and passes by Lutsen. People hike up and down it, camping along the way. If you are staying at Lutsen, you can use it for day trips. On Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays during the summer you can park your car at one end of the segment and take a shuttle to your start point. At other times of year you’ll want to have your cell phone handy to call for a pickup.

To access the trail from Caribou, simply head up on Ski Hill Road until you can’t go anymore. If you drive, you can park in the small parking lot at the end of the road. After the parking lot keep walking up a spur trail for about 900 feet you reach the turnoff for the SHT.

From here, you can pick the day trip to the right or the day trip to the left. The Superior Hiking Trail Site shta.org shows a 6.4 mile segment to the right going to the Caribou Trail and a left 7.0 mile segment which ends at Oberg Mountain. Both are good for a day’s adventure. Since the Superior Hiking Trail is rough terrain, you will likely want to get picked up at one end of the trail rather than going round trip–or feel free to cut either route short by turning around early. For another option, if you want an easier hike to Oberg Mountain, you can take the Mountain Tram to the top of Moose Mountain and continue on the high ridge going to Oberg with less distance and avoid some up and down hiking.

Hiking the Oberg Loop

When deciding whether to go right or left decide whether you want to see mostly inland views with access to inland rivers and lakes or mostly spectacular views of Lake Superior.

The path to the right does not have as many views of Lake Superior as the left path. The path starts as a fairly steep climb up to a ridge overlooking Lutsen with the lake in the background. The path then goes through a section of modest rises and falls with the view of the lake blocked by higher ridges. The open river valley of the Poplar is often in view to the left and there is a long section where the trail goes along the river. Then the path takes a sharp turn away from the river.

After the river the trail climbs for a while until it reaches a high point where Lake Superior can be seen. On this same ridge there are views of the Poplar Valley again. Then the path drops and runs along Lake Agnes before reaching the Caribou Trail.

The left day trip does not have much for inland water but has many great views of the lake. After some ups and downs the trail goes a long distance on a high ridge, with clearings where the lake can be seen. The path doesn’t come near much inland water until it reaches Oberg Lake with nearby Oberg Mountain. At the top of Oberg are great views in all directions including the lake.

These are two branches of the same trail that one can take day trips from. They each offer a somewhat different experience. Depending on how long you are staying at the resort, maybe you can try both.


PHOTOS

Not Lake Superior and Hiking the Oberg Mtn. Trail by Tim Wilson. Licensed under CC-BY-2.0.