2024 Superior Spring Trail Race Pre-Season Updates

Thank you for your interest in the Superior Spring Race 50KM, 25KM and 12.5KM. We are currently in the permitting process for the 2024 event. The tentative date for the 2024 race(s) is Saturday May 18 - the race having historically been held the weekend before Memorial Day weekend. Race registration is held via lottery as demand outstrips available race spots. The 15 day lottery registration period is tentatively set to open on Monday January 1, 2024.  The information currently available on the website is for the 2023 race - the majority of the information for the 2023 race will be applicable for the 2024 race, but there may be some changes. Most of the significant updates to the event website will be made prior to registration opening. If you are interested in running the 2024 race we encourage you to review the information that is available now, but require that all of the information be reviewed again once it has been updated for the 2024 race, and prior to you registering for the race. We reserve the right to make changes to dates, the course, logistics, cutoffs, entry fees, the registration process, and any other aspect of the event - that said we do expect that most of the details will be the same as the 2023 race. Final details will be published late fall / early winter 2023 - please check back. You can join our mailing list HERE. You can join the Rocksteady Running Community HERE. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact Race Director John Storkamp HERE.

2023 Superior Spring Trail Race 25KM Participant Guide

Race Date:
Saturday May 20, 2023

Superior Hiking Trail
Lutsen, Minnesota

Lottery Registration Period:
January 1st – 15th, 2023

About This Page:

The information on this page and associated links comprise the official Superior Spring Trail Race 25KM Participant Guide. It contains all of the information and links you will need in order to research, register for and run the race. Runners are required to review this page, along with the registration info page in their entirety prior to registering for the race. This information should then be referenced as needed in the months and weeks leading up to the race. Keep in mind that information may be updated and changed right up until the race, so a final review of the information about a week out is encouraged. Registered runners can expect a welcome email from us with any new / additional information about one week out from the race. This page contains the following sections:












Date, Time and Location:
Saturday May 20, 2023
Start / Finish Location –
Caribou Highlands Lodge
371 Ski Hill Road
Lutsen, Minnesota  55612
Google Maps Link HERE
Race Start Time: 8:00 AM 


Quick Stats:
Race founded in 2003, Start / Finish is in Lutsen Minnesota, Race start is about 4.5 hours north of the Minneapolis (MSP) International Airport, Out and back 25KM trail race (course is actually a bit short of 25KM) on 99% single-track trail, Elevation Gain 2,300 FT, Elevation Loss 2,300 FT, NET Elevation Change 4,600 FT, 4 Aid Stations, 8 hour cutoff.


Superior Spring Trail Race Description:
The Superior Spring Trail Race 50KM, 25KM & 12.5KM are extremely hilly, rugged and technical trail-races which traverse the Sawtooth Mountain Range via the Superior Hiking Trail in far Northern Minnesota. The 25KM and 50KM races are run out and back, starting and finishing at Caribou Highlands Lodge in Lutsen Minnesota and the 12.5K is point to point, finishing at Caribou Highlands Lodge.  The race is approximately 4.5 hours North of Minneapolis. The course parallels Lake Superior, the largest lake in the world by surface area, climbs to near 2000′ peaks with breath-taking vistas of the lake and inland forests, and crosses whitewater rivers and serene streams while traversing through boreal forests.

The Superior Spring Trail Race is organized by Rocksteady Running and directed by John Storkamp. Rocksteady Running produces several trail and ultrarunning races in the state of Minnesota. Our races are put on by longtime trail and ultrarunners. Our focus is on sustainability, runner safety, runner experience and giving back to the trail, parks and communities where our events are held. Our mission is to create experiences that facilitate connection.​ All credit is due to our army of volunteers and our wonderful Minnesota trail running community.





In November of 2021, after hosting a season of Covid-modified races, I was updating our race website(s) for what we hoped would be (and thankfully was) a mostly “normal” 2022. While doing so, I decided to include a preface to our Participant Guide(s) titled “Setting Expectations for 2022”. It was a great way for Cheri and I to pull back the curtain and share our experience of the pandemic as race directors. It was a way for us to temper expectations for an upcoming season with many lingering unknowns. It also ended up being a valuable touchpoint for connection with you; our participants, volunteers and partners. I am taking the opportunity to do something similar again this year. In the interest of real-estate, it will not be front and center in the participant guide, instead it will reside in THIS blog post https://www.superiorspringtrailrace.com/setting-expectations-for-2023 – we would appreciate it if you took the time to read it.





Rocksteady Running welcomes everyone to our events and into our broader trail running community. You are welcome and valued regardless of your race, gender, sexual identity, orientation, or preference, religious, spiritual, or political beliefs, socioeconomic status, age, how quickly or slowly you run. We love and respect all beings. We ask all of our participants to be kind, compassionate and open minded, and to help lift up their fellow runners.






Do not register until you have reviewed this page (Superior Spring Trail Race 25KM Participant Guide) in its entirety. Once registration is open, complete details including entry fees, field limits, and the link to our registration page on UltraSignup (third party registration provider) can be found HERE https://www.superiorspringtrailrace.com/registration-info/


There are No Refunds, Transfers or Switches:
Entry fees are not refundable under any circumstance. Race registrations are not transferable to other participants, to future years races or to other Rocksteady Running events. We do do not allow transfers between race distances.  Please consider these factors carefully before registering.


Waiting List:
Once a race distance sells out, we do not keep a waiting list – instead we accept extra runners up front so that everyone has the same opportunity to train, make reservations, get a babysitter, etc. This means that a withdrawal from a sold out race prior to race day does not create an opening in the race field – it just brings us down to our predetermined field limit which is set in agreement with our permitor(s). We have found that a percentage of those who register will not make it to the starting line due to injury, illness, or other real life interventions and adjust the number of allocated spots accordingly year to year based on historical averages.


Cancellation Policy:
The Race Director reserves the right to modify or cancel the race or course for safety concerns, trail condition concerns, natural disaster or pandemic. In such cases there will be no refunds of race entry fees. Each athlete must accept any such risk of their entry fee paid. There is no complimentary race entry to a future race. Entry fees collected are used to develop and produce the event, starting well in advance of the race date – including course preparation, race supplies, permits and administration. We will make every effort to produce a fair and safe event for all participants. Any decision we make that impacts the race date or potential cancellation is carefully considered and based on the overall event safety, sustainability and manageability.


Automatic Acceptance For Registered Runners Affected By 2022’s Change of Venue:
Automatic acceptance into the 2023 race will be given to those runners who were selected in the lottery / registered for the 2022 race. We are doing this because of the last minute change in venue that moved the race off of the Superior Hiking Trail for the 2022. This change was due due to weather / trail / environmental conditions that were out of our control – https://www.superiorspringtrailrace.com/2022-superior-spring-trail-race-recap/. Should these individuals like to participate in the 2023 race, they will still need to enter themselves in the lottery during the 15 day lottery registration period and pay the full entry fee. We will identify and select these runners using the email address associated with their UltraSignup account that they used to register for the 2022 race. If the email address associated with their UltraSignup account has since changed, they will need to contact us and provide us with the updated email address.






What’s Included:
A well marked course with plenty of aid and tons of friendly, experienced volunteers. Knowledge that you are supporting the Superior Hiking Trail; to date we have donated 10’s of thousands of dollars and 1000’s of volunteer hours. Runners who register by April 10 will have their name custom printed on their race numbers. Chip timing. All finishers will receive a WOOD MEDAL.  For 2023 we will either do a a t-shirt or a hat (TBD). If it is a t-shirt it will be the same awesome Rocksteady Running Tri-Blend ( non-technical / casual cotton blend ) t-shirt with a super cool design. Shirts are unisex but fit both genders really well – you can see past years race shirts and hats HERE  https://www.superiorspringtrailrace.com/category/shirts-swag/. Post race refreshments and chili. Knowledge that you are supporting the Superior Hiking Trail; to date we have donated 10’s of thousands of dollars and 1000’s of volunteer hours.


Race Start / Finish Location:
Caribou Highlands Lodge
371 Ski Hill Road
Lutsen, Minnesota  55612
Google Maps Link HERE


The race start is approximately 1:15 North of Two Harbors, 1:45 North of Duluth and 4:00 North of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Minneapolis (MSP) has a large international airport and Duluth (DLH) has a smaller regional airport.


Caribou Highlands Lodge in Lutsen, MN is the race host hotel – the race finishes at Caribou Highlands and the finish-line will be just a short walk to your room. We recommend that you stay here and support Caribou Highlands as they do a great job supporting us!  Call 1-800-642-6036 or visit their Website at http://www.caribouhighlands.com. Caribou Highlands’ address is 371 Ski Hill Road, P.O. Box 99 in Lutsen, MN 55612.

There are also other lodging options right on Lutsen Mountain including Eagle Ridge https://eagleridgeatlutsen.com/ and the Mountain Inn https://www.mountaininnmn.com/

Finally, there is no shortage of lodging and camping options throughout Cook County https://www.visitcookcounty.com/stay/


There are many camping options in the area but the best bet is probably one of the Great Minnesota State Parks!  Below is a DNR Map showing all of the state parks on the North Shore. https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/map.html


Emergencies / Hospital Information:
Cook County North Shore Hospital & Care Center
515 5th Ave W
Grand Marais, MN 55604
(218) 387-3040


Packet Pick-Up
Friday May 19 2023, Caribou Highlands Lodge 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM and Saturday May 20 2023, 5:30 AM to 7:30 AM. All runners must check in / check back in on race morning prior to starting otherwise you are unofficial / not in the race.


Race Start
Saturday at 8:00 AM on Ski Hill Road in front of Caribou Highlands Lodge


Drop Bags
There are no drop bags for the 25KM race.


Weather and Clothing:
Early Mid-May in Northern Minnesota – we can have highs in the mid 80′s and lows in the mid 30′s or, believe it or not, a combination of both!  Rain is not uncommon and either is mud.  All of the snow is usually gone but you may see a small patch here or there.  Be prepared, watch the forecast and plan accordingly.


Race Numbers:
The Superior Spring Trail Race hosts three races simultaneously, the Superior 50KM Trail Race (starts at 7:00 AM Saturday) and the Superior 25KM Trail Race (starts at 8:00 AM Saturday) and the Superior 12.5KM (starts at 9:00AM Saturday).  Each distance will have its own unique race number (unique color and number series) so runners can be easily identified by race officials, volunteers, spectators and other runners.  We ask that all competitors wear their number on the front of their body on their outer-most layer at all times.  Runners will be tracked coming into and out of each aid station.  If we cannot see your number, we cannot track you or take your finishing time and if we cannot do that, you will be disqualified and will not earn an official finish.  More info and a graphic illustration can be found HERE


Your timing chip will be affixed to the back of your race number.  Do not remove your timing chip.  Do not bend or fold your timing chip or crumple your race number – this may break your timing chip. Your race number and your timing chip must be pinned on your outer-most layer at all times.  Above guidelines must be followed in order ensure that split times and finish times are recorded. This chip is disposable and does not need to be returned.  HERE is a rendering of the back of your race number / bib illustrating where your timing chip will be placed.


Course Markings:
The course will be marked with ORANGE FLAGS, which will always be on the right hand side of the trail outbound and on the left-hand side inbound.  The Superior Trail 25KM primarily follows the Superior Hiking Trail – you can also look for the official Superior Hiking Trail signs for assurance that you are on the right trail.  Throughout the race you will encounter intersecting trails and Superior Hiking Trail “Spur-Trails”  – in the 25KM the only time you will ever take a “Spur-Trail” or a trail that is not the superior hiking trail is just after the start and right at the finish as you follow the road to the Poplar River / the SHT trail-head on the way out (reverse on the way back) – this will be clearly marked.

It is unfortunate but is not unheard of at many of the major trail races that course vandalism has occurred and flagging has been intentionally moved or removed by small minded individuals – it is important that you study the course maps prior to running and have a concept of where you are going – also, always remember, you are supposed to be on the Superior Hiking Trail only – except in those specific instances listed above.


Aid Stations:
There is one aid station at the halfway point of the 25K race. You can review the race course and aid station location HERE https://www.superiorspringtrailrace.com/maps-and-data/ – Our aid stations are manned by volunteers, many of them spending their entire day out there – please be sure to thank the volunteers!


Cupless Race:
We are a cupless race, if you want to drink water or soda out of a cup, you have to have your own (each aid station will have a small stash of paper cups should you lose your reusable cup along the way.) If you are not familiar with these reusable cups they are easy to find and procure, HERE https://hydrapak.com/products/speed-cup-200-ml is an example.


Aid Station Food:
Aid stations will have salty and sweet pre-packaged snacks. We will have Coke and Ginger Ale.


Special Nutrition Items:
We will NOT have any gels, electrolyte tabs or sports drink – procure your own, carry what you need, and make use of your drop bag. With the proliferation of products on the market over the last number of years, everyone seems to have their own preferred brand and we spend more time reading expiration dates and throwing things out than you do ingesting them, and we can no longer justify the waste.


Support Crew and Spectator Access to Aid Stations:
Runners make it a race… crew, friends, family and spectators make it an event.  We love your people, and want them at the event, just like you do. Runners, we have an entire page for your crew, friends, family and spectators HERE https://www.superiorspringtrailrace.com/spectator-info/  Runners, please review, then share the following link with your crew, friends, family and spectators, YOU are responsible for your people.  Any failure on their part to follow the rules could lead to your disqualification – please make sure they are up to speed prior to coming to the event.


Pacers are not allowed.


Cut-off Times:
25KM runners have 8 hours to complete the race (4:00PM). Any runners not out of the the aid station below by the time listed will be pulled from the course. All cutoffs will be strictly enforced – we do however reserve the right to pull (or allow to continue) any racer as we see fit.

The Oberg aid station will close at 1:30.


If You DNF:
Should you need to drop out of the race you need to report this (providing your bib number) to the HAM radio operators at the aid station you are dropping at – if you are not sure who that is ask around until you find them. If you leave the course and fail to notify race officials, you will be asked not to come back to our race in the future.


Headphones are allowed. Please keep the volume low, or one earbud out so you can hear what is going on around you. Full awareness of one’s surroundings, and the ability to communicate with other participants, race volunteers, and trail users not associated with the event are critical to everyone’s safety.


Out-Loud Music:
Playing music out-loud from your phone or other speakers is not allowed.


Trekking Poles:
Trekking poles are allowed, please be cognizant of those around you when using your poles.


You may not run the race with your dog. That said, on-leash dogs are welcome at the race, with your crew, family and spectators at the race starts, at crew-accessible aid stations and at the finish.


Please help to keep the trail clean.  Try not to drop anything, and if you see something that someone else has accidently dropped, please pick it up.


Results will be available on our website.


We do not do specific overall winner or age group awards.  Every finisher will be handed a medal as they finish.


Post-Race Clean-Up:
Caribou Highlands Lodge will furnish shower facilities and towels for runners who are not staying at the lodge.


Post-Race Meal:
A huge thank you to Caribou Highlands / Moguls Grill and Taproom for doing a wonderful job catering Chili for our event and generally being a great host. We will have meat and vegetarian chili for participants after they finish the race. For crew, pacers, family members or runners that need something more, Caribou Highlands / Moguls will be doing a cookout, selling burgers and other items near the finish line as well.


For those interested in volunteering, more information can be found HERE https://www.superiorspringtrailrace.com/read-first/


Superior Hiking Trail Association
The Superior Trail Races (both Spring and Fall) take place on the Superior Hiking Trail. The Superior Hiking Trail Association is the non-profit organization that builds and maintains the Superior Hiking Trail. The Superior Trail Races / Rocksteady Running make an annual donation to the trail association, organize volunteer efforts, promote membership and generally advocate for the trail. If you are not already a Superior Hiking Trail Association member, we encourage you to join, you can do so HERE https://superiorhiking.org/joinsuperior/ – if you are already a member and would like to make an additional donation, you can do so HERE https://superiorhiking.org/donatesuperior/ – we thank you for your support of the Superior Hiking Trail!


Mile in My Shoes (MiMS) Fundraising Opportunity:
Rocksteady Running is proud to have Mile in My Shoes as an official Superior Spring Trail Race charity partner. Get a free entry to the Superior Spring Trail Race, lots of great swag and support a great cause by becoming a Mile in My Shoes (MiMS) FundRacer!  Learn more HERE https://www.superiorspringtrailrace.com/mile-in-my-shoes/


Next years race date:
Historically the Superior Spring Trail Race has been held the weekend before Memorial Day weekend. The 2024 race will be held on May 18, 2024.






It is important for registrants / runners to understand that should county, state or federal mandates surrounding Covid change, be modified or reinstated, that certain aspects of our events may need to change.  This could happen at any time, without warning and could change the character of an event; i.e. take what is planned for a single day event and make it a multi-day event, take what is planned for a mass start race and change it to wave starts, change how our aid stations are set up / aid is provided, etc. Worse case we could see the cancellation of a race.  Listed below are the current considerations dealing with Covid.

• Runners, spectators, volunteers and staff are required to stay home if they are Covid positive, have been exposed to someone that is Covid positive in the past 14 days, are not feeling well or are experiencing any of the symptoms listed HERE https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html

• All event activities will be outdoors.

• Proper and frequent hand hygiene will be encouraged and numerous hand sanitizing stations will be available.

• Touchpoints and surface areas will be routinely cleansed.






Superior Spring Trail Race
50KM, 25KM & 12.5KM
Lutsen, Minnesota
Saturday May 16, 2020
50KM 7:00AM
25KM 8:00AM
12.5KM 9:00AM

Registration / Lottery:
Opens Wednesday January 1st, 2020 – 12:01AM CST
Closes Wednesday January 15th, 2020 – 11:59PM CST
* Due to high demand, registration for the Superior “Spring” Trail Race is held via a lottery, more details about the lottery can be found HERE

Directions to Race Start:
Caribou Highlands Resort / Lodge
371 Ski Hill Road
Lutsen, MN 55612
Google Maps Directions HERE
Approx Travel Times
1:15 North of Two Harbors, MN
1:45 North of Duluth, MN
4:00 North of Minneapolis, MN

Terrain / Course Description:
The Superior 12.5KM, 25KM and 50KM Trail Races are extremely hilly, rugged and technical out-and-back (100% trail) trail-races which traverses the Sawtooth Mountain Range on the Superior Hiking Trail in the far reaches northern Minnesota .  The course parallels Lake Superior, the greatest freshwater lake in the world, climbs to near 2000′ peaks with breath-taking vistas of the lake and inland forests and crosses whitewater rivers and serene streams while meandering through mystic Boreal forests.  The races start and finish at Caribou Highlands Resort in Lutsen Minnesota.

Superior 50KM
25KM Out & Back Course = 50KM (31MI)
Elevation Gain 4,200 FT
Elevation Loss 4,200 FT
NET Elevation Change 8,400 FT
4 Aid Stations
9 Hour Time Limit
Starts at 7:00AM Saturday
Compete 50KM Info HERE

Superior 25KM
12.5KM Out & Back Course = 25KM (15.1MI)
Elevation Gain 2,300 FT
Elevation Loss 2,300 FT
NET Elevation Change 4,600 FT
1 Aid Station
8 Hour Time Limit
Starts Saturday at 8:00AM
Complete 25KM Info HERE

Superior 12.5KM
12.5KM Point to Point Course. 12.5KM = 7.75MI
Elevation Gain  900 FT
Elevation Loss 1,050 FT
NET Elevation Change 1,950 FT
NO Aid Stations
7 Hour Time Limit
Starts Saturday at 9:00AM
Complete 12.5KM Info HERE

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.