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General Information

Superior National Forest
Copyright: - US Forest Service
Superior National Forest
Description - The Superior National Forest spans 150 miles along the United States-Canadian border. On this 3 million acre Forest, you can find recreation opportunities year round, including travel in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Over 445,000 acres or 695 square miles of the forest is surface water. In addition, more than 1,300 miles of cold water streams and 950 miles of warm water streams flow within the boundaries of the Superior. Fish species such as walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass, lake trout, brook trout, rainbow trout, and brown trout can be found in abundance in these waters. The northern forest community thrives with its pine, fir and spruce trees and is home to numerous wildlife species including deer, moose, the gray wolf, and black bear. Northern Minnesota is the last stronghold of the gray wolf in the lower 48 states. Approximately 300-400 wolves continue to roam within the boundaries of the Superior National Forest today.

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) is approximately one million acres in size. It offers over 1,500 miles of canoe routes, nearly 2,200 designated campsites, and more than 1,000 lakes and streams. It is home to threatened and endangered species, but is also visited by over 200,000 people a year. It is the most heavily used wilderness area in the country.

Recreation - Popular recreation activities include camping, picnicking, boating, canoeing, fishing, hiking, backpacking, and biking. The forest also is an ideal place for swimming, horseback riding, kayaking, sailing, waterskiing, rock hunting, berry picking, nature study, photography and so much more. In addition to summer activities, northwoods winters are ideally suited to winter sports such as cross-country and down hill skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice fishing, skating, and sledding.

Camping opportunities range from fully developed campgrounds to secluded wilderness as well as backcountry (non-wilderness) sites that have few or no facilities. If you are interested in hiking, the Superior offers trails varying in length and difficulty to provide an adventure of just a few hours to an extended trip of a week or more. Boating opportunities are nearly endless. Outside of the wilderness, there are numerous lakes, rivers, and streams that are regularly visited by motorboaters. The BWCAW is not the only place where you can go canoeing. The Superior has 13 canoe routes located outside of the BWCAW.

Climate - Lake Superior influences the climate of nearby land, moderating extreme temperatures and increasing precipitation toward the northeast. Yearly rainfall ranges from 26 to 31 inches and average snowfall is approximately 60 inches. Temperatures range from -50 F. in the winter to 98 F. in the summer. Average seasonal temperatures are 42 F. in the spring, 64 F. in the summer, 45 F. in the fall, and 12 F. in the winter.
Fall colors are spectacular. The colors begin to show by mid-September and usually peak near the end of September to early October.

Location - The Superior National Forest is located in northeastern Minnesota's arrowhead region. Duluth, Minnesota, headquarters for the Superior, lies 60 miles just south of the Forest. U.S. Highway 61 runs along the north shore of Lake Superior to the forest's eastern edge. U.S. Highway 53 travels north from Duluth, to the western portion of the Forest. State Highway 169 meets Highway 53 at Virginia, Minnesota and continues northeast to Ely, in the center of the Forest.

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More Information

Contact Information:
Superior National Forest, 8901 Grand Avenue Place, P.O. Box 338 , Duluth, MN, 55808, Phone: 218-720-5324

Additional Information:
Minnesota National Parks, Forests, and Monuments -


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