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, interpret, and read the provided signage.  Each year 10’s of thousands of trail-users use these permanently installed trail 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 will be on your right-hand-side the vast majority of the race.

 

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

 

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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

 

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*Pictured Above: Plastic Superior Hiking Trail Sign, Typically 5″ Wide X 3″ Tall, Nailed to Trees at Eye Level – FOLLOW THESE

 

SPUR TRAILS – DO NOT FOLLOW THESE, EXCEPT…
Spur trails are trails that are not the main Superior Hiking Trail.  Spur trails usually lead to parking lots, overlooks and other points of interest. Spur trails are marked with white paint blazes instead of the blue blazes described above. In addition to white blazes you may also see plastic Superior Hiking Trail “SPUR TRAIL” signs (pictured below).

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE that the only time that you ever follow a spur trail, white blazes or plastic “spur trail” signs or depart from the main Superior Hiking Trail are as follows: (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


Pictured Above: White paint blazes are used to designate ‘spur trails’.

 

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Pictured Above: SPUR Trail Sign

 

SUPPLEMENTAL MARKINGS:
In addition to the Superior Hiking Trail Signage described and pictured above, the race will provide supplemental markers on the trail.  The markers from the 100 mile race start at Gooseberry Falls State Park to Silver Bay will be non-reflective survey style makers and have the Rocksteady Running Logo on them.  The markers from Silver Bay to the finish will be reflective, helping runners with night-time navigation. These reflective flags will have heavy-gauge wire stakes that will be stuck in the ground, with fluorescent and reflective ribbon tied through a lop on the top.  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.


Pictured Above: Daytime / non-reflective flags, used from the 100 Mile Race Start at Gooseberry Falls State Park, to Silver Bay

 

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Pictured Above: Fluorescent Orange / Reflective Superior 100, 50 & 26.2 reflective course marker placed on the left hand side of the trail from Silver Bay to the race finish at Caribou Highlands.

 

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 Trail 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 https://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 https://shop.superiorhiking.org/products/trail-atlas-of-the-superior-hiking-trail

 

Superior(F) 2022

The Superior Fall Trail Race 100M, 50M & 26.2M race(s) will be held Friday September 9 and Saturday September 10, 2022. We are currently in the permitting process and will update the website with the 2022 event details later this Fall. We are targeting January 1, 2022 as the registration open date. If you are not already on our mailling list, you can sign up to receive updates https://www.superiorfalltrailrace.com/join-our-mailing-list/ Please note that our email list is for all of the Rocksteady Running events, not just Superior. 

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Superior Fall Trail Race
100MI, 50MI, 26.2MI Trail Race(s)
Lutsen, Minnesota
(approx 4hrs North of Minneapolis, MN)
September 11 & 12, 2020
100MI Friday 8:00AM
50MI Saturday 5:15AM
26.2MI Saturday 8:00AM

Registration / Lottery:
Registration via 15 day lottery registration period.
Opens Wednesday January 1st, 2020 – 12:01AM CST
Closes Wednesday January 15th, 2020 – 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
16.75 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 26.2MI 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.