Superior Hiking Trail: Jackson Lake Road to Judge Magney State Park

The Jackson Lake Road Trailhead is miles off Highway 61 near the town of Hovland, Minnesota. We kept thinking, “Did we miss it?” Finally we found it, just a small pullout, no bathrooms or pit toilets. It was big enough for three vehicles. The first thing we noticed when we got out of the car was the mosquitoes! We were thankful for our bug hats. There were also lots of berry bushes, but it was too early for berries. We were there in mid-July, 2022.

We camped at North Carlson Pond. There was one place near South Carlson Pond camp where the trail was overgrown and we missed where it crossed the creek. We used a combination of our Garmin device, compass, and map to get back on track. It is good to have an understanding of how to find your way without the aid of electronics! It is also good to practice with your devices before you need to rely on them! It sure felt good to find the trail again.

By the time we reached the rock formation called “Devil’s Kettle” it was getting dark and we were TIRED. I’d like to return there when I can more fully appreciate the unusual way the water disappears into the rock. We had a campsite reserved at the State Park campground and thought it was close to Devil’s Kettle. We were wrong. We were also unaware of the damage to the trail from the floods earlier in the season. I thought I had checked the website, but I missed that bit of information. There were places where the trail was completely washed away. We just followed the river downstream and were not worried about being lost, but it was a bit rough in spots. Just before Devil’s Kettle, we found ourselves on the wrong side of “trail closed” sign. I wonder if there was a sign on the other end that we missed? Soon after we came to THE STEPS. We did not count them. I’d estimate about 200. They were very nice wooden steps with railings and benches, but it was getting darker and we were finding it harder and harder to stay positive!

We set up our tent in the dark and slept very well.

The next morning we took our time and charged our batteries (for both our phones and ourselves). We planned an easy day of sitting on the shore of Lake Superior. More on that next time.

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