With more than 200 miles of hiking trails and 9,168 acres of parkland all within the city limits of Duluth, Minnesota, there are options galore when it comes to getting outside. To help plan your next adventure, our friends at Duluth Parks & Rec shared this list of suggestions, which includes some lesser-known spots (denoted by *) to take a hike, so you can enjoy the fresh air and views without the crowds. For accessibility information, check out this interactive map with details about all of Duluth’s trails.
- Chambers Grove Park (Nagaajiwanaang) Interpretive Trail: This 0.5-mile, accessible gravel-surface trail near the St. Louis River provides a loop with signage through the riparian woodland west of the open park space at Chambers Grove Park (Nagaajiwanaang). This hike provides access to the natural area and historical sites such as an abandoned quarry and the first rail bed built in Duluth. This trail is a great choice for nature and history enthusiasts. The park offers accessible restroom facilities.
- Ely’s Peak and the Duluth Winnipeg Pacific (DWP) Tunnel: Beginning at Short Line Park, just off Becks Road in West Duluth, a dirt-surface trail meanders through the woods and leads up a staircase to the gravel-surface DWP trail, which was once a railroad line. Follow the DWP trail for about a half-mile to get to the historic DWP railroad tunnel which travels through the rock for approximately 500 feet. From here, hikers can access the Superior Hiking Trail (123rd Avenue W. (Beck’s Road) to Magney Snively Trailhead section) Ely’s Peak loop featuring stunning views of the St. Louis River and well beyond. Search “Ely’s Peak” on this interactive map to plan your route. There are no restroom facilities at this trailhead
- Fairmont Park Area Trails: Including paved trail, Superior Hiking Trail (Spirit Mountain Grand Avenue Chalet Trailhead to Waseca Street Trailhead and Waseca Street Trailhead to Skyline Parkway Trailhead sections) and Duluth Traverse trail, you can easily create loops offering different experiences along with great views. For a one-mile section of paved trail, visit the Fairmont Park trailhead off Waseca Street. Kingsbury Creek runs through Fairmont Park, and is an incredible natural resource to explore. Search “Fairmont Park” on this interactive map to plan your route. Restrooms are available seasonally (open Memorial Day) at the Fairmont Park parking lot.
- Quarry Park: Originally owned and worked by the Duluth Crushed Stone Company, Quarry Park is known for the 1,000-foot long, 100-foot high cliff left after the company ceased operations. The cliff is used today for mixed climbing throughout the winter months. Additional park amenities include a nine hole disc golf course and trails for hiking and dog walking. The spectacular views provide a unique experience. A 0.5-mile, accessible gravel-surface trail loops around the base of this old rock quarry, and additional dirt-surface trails lead up to the top of the quarry. Typically there is a portable restroom here during the summer.
- Brewer Park: Located in West Duluth, Brewer Park sits on land donated to Duluth in 1926 by Frank Brewer of Duluth Crushed Stone. A 3-mile portion of the Superior Hiking Trail (Skyline Parkway Trailhead to N. 24th Avenue W. Trailhead section) winds through the park and creates a loop showcasing a variety of experiences, including amazing viewpoints. Access to Brewer Park is from either the Haines Road trailhead, or parking areas on W Skyline Parkway. Local’s tip: When you start from the Haines Road trailhead, travel the loop counterclockwise to more easily spot the trail markings along the way. A portable restroom is typically available at the Haines Road trailhead during the summer.
- Piedmont Trails: The Piedmont Trail System is well known for rocky characteristics, where off-road cyclists enjoy challenging themselves up, over, and down steep rock faces or dropping and jumping their bikes off the many area boulders and outcroppings. However, the Duluth Traverse and the Superior Hiking Trail (Skyline Parkway Trailhead to N. 24th Avenue W. Trailhead section) both offer more reasonably smooth travel for hikers to explore this area as well. As typical throughout many Duluth parks, stunning views are part of the experience here. Access the Piedmont Trails from either the Haines Road, or Hutchinson Road trailheads. Search “Piedmont trails” on this interactive map to plan your route. Typically there is a portable restroom here during the summer.
Park Point/Canal Park
- Minnesota Point Pine Forest Scientific Natural Area (SNA): At the end of Minnesota Point, hikers can access a rugged, sandy trail leading past old lighthouse ruins, and out to the Superior Entry Shipping Channel. Due to the SNA designation, dogs and bikes should not enter this area in order to protect and preserve habitat that is home to 16 species of northern forest birds, many of them ground nesting. Use caution and stay on the established trail, as this area has been known to have prolific poison ivy. Restrooms are not available at the SNA, but there is a vault toilet open seasonally at the Park Point Recreation Area’s largest parking lot near the Beach House and Boat Launch.
- Chester Creek Trail: In Chester Park, upon the high banks of beautiful Chester Creek, this 1.5- mile trail creates a loop from Skyline Parkway to E 4th Street. There is access to the creek at several locations along the trail to enjoy being by the water or cool off during a hike. There are multiple trailheads for this trail system. Search “Chester trails” on this interactive map to plan your route. Typically there is a portable restroom at the Chester Park Playground during the summer.
For your planning and safety
- As with any outdoor recreation, please practice Leave No Trace principles and do your part to protect the amazing resources that make Duluth and the North Shore so special!
- Duluth natural surface trails are closed when wet or muddy, to protect you and the trail, so please turn around and choose another option if you are leaving noticeable footprints on a trail.
- Natural surface trails also have seasonal closures in the spring and fall to protect the trails from damage during freeze/thaw cycles.
- Check for any closures and information about current conditions here before you hit the trail.
- For trails that are part of the Superior Hiking Trail, maps (paper and on Avenza) and a guidebook are available for purchase.
- Wear proper footwear, and don’t forget to bring drinking water and snacks.
- Please also use caution around water, as rivers and creeks can be moving much more swiftly than they appear, and as water temperatures are often cold.