The rough trail on this popular section of the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT)
heads by many waterfalls
and has a magnificent lake view at the east end. This featured hike has sections that are hilly and rocky, with some boardwalks, too.
To access this loop, head to the DOT Wayside parking area of Hwy 61 (44 miles north of Duluth). Head northwest on the Split Rock River Spur
as it climbs parallel to the Split Rock River up to the first falls by Strand Creek.
Just past these first falls, the trail intersects with the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT)
. Turn right and continue the ascent past another falls, marking three-quarters of a mile from the start.
Continue along Split Rock River to the high point, just under 2.5 miles. This wil be right before the easternmost point of the loop and has terrific views back east toward the lake. Make the bend to the right (east) and begin the descent past the southeast Split Rock campsite.
At just over 3.5 miles, the trail will leave the river heading southeast toward a shelter and overlook at mile 4.6. Just past this point, look for the SHT - Merrill Logging Trail Connector
to the right and take this short connector to the Merrill Logging Trail
Turn right onto the Merrill Logging Trail
for a few hundred yards toward Hwy 61. At the highway, look for the driveway that connects to the paved Gitchi-Gami State Trail
pathway which is a great way to stay off the road on a multi-use path for the final leg to the parking area.