0.0 Begin at the north end of the Visitors Center. Follow the blacktop walkway toward the river, descend a flight of cement stairs, and bear left at the bottom.
0.1 Trail intersection at an observation platform that provides a view of the Lower Falls. Turn left here and ascend the stairs and walk under the highway bridge.
0.2 Upper Falls. Continue past a memorial plaque and bear right staying near the edge of the river.
0.6 Trail intersection at the southeast end of a footbridge and the beginning of the circuit portion of this hike. Cross the bridge and turn left onto the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) and ascend the east side of the river.
1.2 Trail intersection at the east end of the second footbridge. Cross it and turn left staying on the SHT.
1.3 Trail intersection; continue straight ahead passing the trail on the left. In about 400 feet, come to another intersection. Turn right staying on the SHT, passing a trail to the left.
1.5 Trail intersection; continue straight ahead, passing a trail to the left.
1.7 Trail intersection; stay on the SHT as it turns right and descends to the river bank.
2.3 Trail shelter (47° 9′ 16.4″ N 91 ° 29′ 24.1″ W). The hike continues past the shelter and soon begins a steep ascent as it veers away from the river.
2.5 Trail intersection; continue the steep ascent, passing the SHT which turns to the right for Nestor Grade and Castle Danger Parking in 2.7 and 6.7 miles respectively.
2.7 Trail intersection at the top of the steep ascent; turn right, passing the trail to the left. There are good views to the northwest of the Gooseberry River drainage and Lake Superior to the southeast.
3.0 The trail turns sharply to the left and descends the ridge through a stand of immature aspen. Beyond that, the forest, mainly white birch, with occasional cedar and balsam fir, is open with tall grass undergrowth.
4.4 Trail intersection; turn right passing the trail to the left.
4.5 Trail intersection; bear left passing the trail to the right. In 350 feet, at the next intersection, continue straight ahead, passing a trail that descends steeply on the left.
4.6 Trail intersection; bear left and descend steeply to the river bank. Follow the trail along the bank.
4.7 Trail intersection at the southeast end of the first footbridge completing the circuit portion of the hike. Retrace your steps down river, passing the memorial, Upper Falls, and under the bridge to return to the Visitors Center.