Solo Winter Backpacking on the Superior Hiking Trail


I was itching to escape. I wanted to head north to camp in the snow. I wanted to do a loop (so I didn’t have to back track or shuttle) that wasn’t too remote (for safety reasons). I wanted to be near moving water that would hopefully be able to provide drinking water. I opted to drive 4 hours to the Cascade River, which is located about 15 miles south of Grand Marais, MN. The loop is about 8 miles with roads on the north and south ends.

Being the early part of December, the days are short (7:30 am to 4:30 pm). The area was having an unseasonable warm year. Things were pretty frozen and there was a few inches of snow, but water wasn’t super frozen yet and there wasn’t feet of snow yet.

I started from the Cascade River State Park on the south end late in the afternoon. I walked a short distance up to the Trout Creek Campsite and set up camp prior to dark. On day 2, I hiked the majority of the trail. I hiked up to County Road 45, crossed the bridge and headed back south on the west side of the river. The partially frozen river and water falls provided some scenic views. I saw some ice climbers scaling a frozen water fall. I passed the Log Cut campsite and settled in a the Big White Pine site for the night. Away from the river, it was REALLY quiet. No people. No wind. No leaves. No animals. I built a nice campfire and enjoyed a good meal before retiring. On day 3, I slept in and made my way the rest of the way around the loop. Seeing the cascades from the other side of the river was awesome.

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Gear I frequently Use:
Backpack – Zpacks Arc Haul-

Hammock – Warbonnet Ridgerunner –

Rain Fly – Custom 13′ Warbonnet Mountain Fly –

Top Quilt – Hammock Gear 0 Degree Economy Burrow –

Under Quilt- Loco Libre -20 Degree Ridge Reaper with 900 – fill power goose down –

Steegar Mukluks –

Garmin In-Reach Mini Communicator

Anker Power Bank –

Nitecore NU25 Headlamp –

Z Packs Food Bag –

REI Magma 850 Hooded Down Jacket (seasonal) –

Custom Printed Dual Pocket Gadget Bag from Hilltop Packs-

Justin’s Shoulder Strap Water Bottle Carrier-

Justin’s UL Original Cell Phone Shoulder Strap Accessory Pocket –

Sea to Summit Compression Dry Sack

Cascade Mountain Hiking Poles-

Toaks 550ML Cook Pot-

Fancy Feast Stove-

Toaks Long Handle Spork

ULA Rain Kilt –

Outdoor Research Helium II Rain Jacket –

CNOC 2 Liter Water Bag –

Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter –

Sit Pad –

Camera- Cannon G7X Mark ii Discontinued –

Ultrapod Lightweight Camera Tripod-

New Gear in this Video:
Zpacks Duplex Tent-

#Winterbackpacking #superiorhikingtrail #midwestbackpacker

MSR Groundhog Tent Stake –

Nemo Tensor Insulated Sleeping Pad –



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