Trail Markings

*** We strongly encourage everyone running the Superior Trail Race to review this page in its entirety

The Superior 100, 50 and 26.2 mile trail races are held on the Superior Hiking Trail.  The Superior Hiking Trail is a well established and well-marked hiking trail that is easily navigated if you pay attention, look for signage and read said signage.  Each year 10’s of thousands of trail-users use these markings to successfully navigate the trail; on day hikes, trail runs, backpacking trips and thru-hikes – both during the day and night, every month of the year – running a 100, 50 or 26.2 mile race should not be much different.  We ask that you take responsibility for your own race, have a fundamental understanding of where you are going, how the trail is marked and what to look for – the information on this page will help further your understanding.

GENERAL ORIENTATION:
You will generally be running North / Northeast on the Superior Hiking Trail, following Superior Hiking Trail Signage in addition to supplemental flagging provided by the race which is primarily put in place for night time navigation of the trail.  An excellent landmark is Lake Superior, it should always be on your right-hand-side.

PRIMARY COURSE MARKINGS:
The Superior Hiking Trail is permanently marked with plastic, rectangular “Superior Hiking Trail” signs and also with painted, vertical-rectangular  “blue blazes”.  Signage and blazes are affixed or painted onto trees at varying intervals depending on several factors such as; number of intersecting trials, popularity of the trail section, whether or not the section is within a state park or on private land etc.  Generally, you will see one of these signs every 1/8 to 1/4 mile.

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*Pictured Above: Plastic Superior Hiking Trail Sign, Typically 5″ Wide X 3″ Tall, Nailed to Trees at Eye Level and spaced 1/8 to 1/4 miles apart – FOLLOW THESE

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* Pictured Above: Painted “Blue Blaze”, Typically 2″ Wide X 6″ Tall, Painted on Trees at Eye Level and spaced 1/8 to 1/4 mile apart – FOLLOW THESE

SPUR TRAILS – DO NOT FOLLOW THESE, EXCEPT…
In addition to the main Superior Hiking Trail Markers you will see similar signage but with a subtle but very important variation – they will say “Spur Trail”.  Spur Trails are trails that are not the main Superior Hiking Trail and generally lead off of the main trail to parking lots / trailheads, overlooks and points of interest, MOST IMPORTANT TO NOTE is that the only time that you ever follow this type of signage or depart from the main Superior Hiking Trail are per the following list (note that these deviations from the main trail will be marked with supplemental signage put in place by the race.)

  • Spur Trail to the Split Rock Aid Station
  • Spur Trail to the Finland Aid Station
  • Spur Trail to the Sonju Lake Road Aid Station
  • Spur Trail to Lutsen / Caribou Highlands / Finish Line

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*SPUR Trail Sign, DO NOT FOLLOW THESE SIGNS EXCEPT for Split Rock Aid Station, Finland Aid Station, Sonju Lake Road Aid Station, Lutsen / Caribou Highlands / Race Finish – these locations will be clearly marked with supplemental signage put in place by the race organization.

SUPPLEMENTAL MARKINGS:
In addition to the Superior Hiking Trail Signage described and pictured above, we will provide supplemental markers on the trail primarily to assist with night-time navigation, these are survey-type wire flags stuck in the ground and have fluorescent and reflective ribbon.  These flags will always be placed on the left hand side of the trail except in instances of two-way traffic (on the Spur trails referenced above), in this case they will be placed on both sides of the trail – upon exiting two-way traffic, the markers will again be on the left hand side of the trial only.  Generally these markers will be placed at and beyond critical intersections and will be between 1/8 and 1/4 mile apart.

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Pictured Above: Fluorescent Orange / Reflective Superior 100, 50 & 26.2 Course Marker placed on the left hand side of the trail.

COURSE VANDALISM:
It is very unfortunate and not unheard of at many of the major trail races around the country that course vandalism has occurred and flagging has been intentionally moved or removed by small-minded individuals – this is why it is important that you study the course prior to running and have a concept of where you are going , always remember (as illustrated above), that you are supposed to be on the Superior Hiking Trail (except in those specific instances listed) and tens of  thousands of people navigate this trail from point to point each year without additional markings and without incident.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
The Superior Trial Race has our our own set of maps unique to the race, the general purpose of these maps are to provide a basic understanding of the layout of the race course and distances between aid stations – these maps can be found HERE http://www.superiorfalltrailrace.com/maps-and-data/.  Additionally, the Superior Hiking Trail Association produces a great set of paper-maps with additional detail that are of great use when hiking and running the trail, they can be purchased directly from the Superior Hiking Trail Association HERE http://www.shta.org/

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+ Click HERE for Quick Info

Superior Fall Trail Race
100MI, 50MI, 26.2MI Trail Race(s)
Lutsen, Minnesota
(approx 4hrs North of Minneapolis, MN)
September 8 & 9, 2017
100MI Friday 8:00AM
50MI Saturday 5:15AM
26.2MI Saturday 8:00AM

Registration / Lottery:
Registration via 15 day lottery registration period.
Opens Sunday January 1st, 2017 – 12:01AM CST
Closes Sunday January 15th, 2017 – 11:59PM CST
Complete Lottery / Registration Details HERE

Directions:
100MI Start: Gooseberry Falls State Park, MN HERE
50MI Start: Finland Rec Center – Finland, MN HERE
26.2MI Start: Cramer Road – Schroder, MN HERE
Races Finish: Carbibou Highlands – Lutsen, MN HERE

Terrain:
The Superior Fall Trail Races 100MI, 50MI & 26.2MI are run on rugged, rooty, rocky, 95% single-track trail with near constant climbs and descents.  The race is held on the Superior Hiking Trail in the Sawtooth Mountains paralleling Lake Superior in Northern Minnesota / not far from the Canadian border.  The race located approximately 4 hours North of Minneapolis, Minnesota.   The Superior Fall Trail Races are very difficult / challenging races and are probably not a good choice for your first trail or ultra race (see Registration Info for qualifying requirements).

100 Mile:
Point to Point 103.3 Miles
Elevation Gain 21,000 FT
Elevation Loss 21,000 FT
NET Elevation Change 42,000 FT
13 Aid Stations
38 hour time limit
Complete 100MI Info HERE

50 Mile:
Point to Point 52.1 Miles
Elevation Gain 12,500 FT
Elevation Loss 12,500 FT
NET Elevation Change 25,000 FT
7 Aid Stations
16.5 hour time limit
Complete 50MI Info HERE

26.2 Mile:
Point to point 26.2 Miles
Elevation Gain 5,500 FT
Elevation Loss 5,500 FT
NET Elevation Change 11,000 FT
3 Aid Stations
14 hour cutoff
Complete 17MI Info HERE

More About the Race:
The Superior Trail 100 was founded in 1991 when there was no more than a dozen or so 100 mile trail races in the USA, back then if you wanted to run a 100, you had choices like Western States, Hardrock, Leadville, Wasatch, Cascade Crest, Umstead, Massanutten and Superior . Superior quickly earned it’s reputation of its namesake today – Rugged, Relentless and Remote and is known as one of the tougher 100 mile trail races.  Superior lives on now as one of the “legacy 100 milers” and is considered by many to be one of the most challenging, prestigious and beautiful 100 mile trail races in the country. Shortly after the inception of the 100, the Superior 50 was started and in the early 2000’s the Moose Mountain Marathon was added. None of the history or tradition of this race has been lost and is a great event for those looking for a world-class event with a low-key, old-school 100 miler feel.  The Superior Trail Race is put on by ultrarunners for ultrarunners.

More About the Area:
The North Shore of Lake Superior runs from Duluth, Minnesota at the Southwestern end of the lake, to Thunder Bay and Nipigon, Ontario, Canada, in the North to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, in the east. The shore is characterized by alternating rocky cliffs and cobblestone beaches, with rolling hills and ridges covered in boreal forest inland from the lake, through which scenic rivers and waterfalls descend as they flow to Lake Superior. The shoreline between the city of Duluth to the international border at Grand Portage as the North Shore.  Lake Superior is considered the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area. It is the world’s third-largest freshwater lake by volume and the largest by volume in North America.  The Superior Hiking Trail, also known as the SHT, is a 310-mile long distance hiking single-track hiking trail in Northeastern Minnesota that follows the ridgeline overlooking Lake Superior for most of its length. The trail travels through forests of birch, aspen, pine, fir, and cedar. Hikers and runners enjoy views of boreal forests, the Sawtooth Mountains, babbling brooks, rushing waterfalls, and abundant wildlife. The lowest point on the trail is 602 feet above sea level and the highest point is 1,829 feet above sea level.