Superior Mountain Hike
Superior Mountain is a lumpy set of peaks located west of the Mouth of Huron river. Rising from the edge of Lake Superior and sandwiched between Little Huron River and Mount Benison, the mountain has many rocky outcroppings with excellent views of the surrounding area, some over 1400 feet of elevation. This rugged peak offers some of the best climbing and hiking options of the western Huron Mountain range outside of Huron Mountain Club boundaries.
Starting on the western end of Little Huron River, a number of rocky outcroppings rise before the large, forested Mount Benison. These peaks do not have official names, but the majority of them are grouped together as Superior Mountain (or Clause Mountain) with the two southern ones as Tick Mountain. While I had visited two tough rocky mounds of Superior Mountain during my Tick Mountain climb, I never attempted climbing the bulk of the peaks. The sheer, south-facing cliffs blocked my usual route from Little Huron Road, and I thought I would have to devote a good portion of a day to climb Superior Mountain.
I headed east along Erick's Road past the two-tracks for Bald Mountain and an unnamed peak, eventually turning north on a wide road that wasn't on my maps. I usually continued east past it, but this led to two fenced off roads and a small group of cabins clustered around the Little Huron River. By heading north, I easily circumvented the cabins and found myself on a road parallel to Little Huron River's last run to Lake Superior. I stopped briefly at the site of something truly surprising, a wooden bridge over the river (I had assumed that there were no bridges over the small stream), then crossed it and started heading further east, uphill, to the base of Superior Mountain.
These roads were wide and easy driving, as the entire western side of the mountain had been recently logged. I parked a short distance along it and followed the cluttered paths uphill, eventually reaching the first of many rocky outcroppings. Similar to other nearby outcroppings, the rocky was partially covered by scruffy grass, stunted trees, and bushes, yet offered a decent view of the trees below. This mountain did have particularly steep bluffs surrounding the outcroppings, though, and I had to choose my path carefully. After climbing reaching the first one, I continued to head north and east towards the higher peaks.
Each peak was separated by a gorge - sometimes only fifteen feet high (a fun, if rough, slide down) and other times reaching over a hundred. Climbing up these usually meant looking for a large crack that the earth above had slid down into so we could scramble up, though there were a few gorges we followed out of our route to approach the peak from the north, where the slopes were milder. After a mile of this, we finally reached the eastern peaks and sweeping views of Mount Benison and Huron Mountains, as well as the tiny Cliff Lake to the south. The Little Huron River formed a deep valley between us and Mount Benison, though we had no interest of visiting that mountain anytime soon - it's a private conservancy with few, if any, rocky outcroppings.
There was still two peaks to visit before heading downhill - the 'true' summit of this mountain and Raven's Nest. A USGS benchmark, called 'Super' on topographic maps, was located on a peak a short distance from the eastern peak. About a mile to the northwest was a surprising cliff to the north, one of few in this area, which promised unparalleled views of the Huron Islands and the Keweenaw Peninsula. However, as we were heading to the next point, the sky decided to open up with large, stinging drops and lightning. Logan and I ran into the gorge, thankful now for the limited protection they provided, and ran, slipping, back to the car. Finding our road again was a surprise, as had I stuffed my GPS with the rest of the sensitive gear into my small pack, and we were over a half mile from our original route up. Even though we were both soaked to the skin, Logan and I managed to survive another thunderstorm without injury, and we were happily jumped back in the car to wait it out.
This was the last of the four major rocky mountains of the Western Huron Mountains to visit, as the others outside of Huron Mountain Club property offer height but no good views. I do plan to visit Mount Benison one day, but as it would involve either climbing over Superior Mountain or hiking around Cliff Lake (both requiring two miles of bushwhacking), I would have to do some serious planning prior to that adventure. Of the four major outcroppings, this one was the most varied and intense, and I highly recommend it to any adventurers in the area.