With our activities limited and restrictive guidelines changing daily, many of us are not quite feeling ourselves. It's a foreign feeling learning the new rules of exploring the wilderness while maintaining a new level of safety. It feels as though adventuring is now a luxury; and a necessity. We've arranged this inclusive resource to support hitting the trails so that our community can embrace the new art of hiking locally.
The urge to travel is stronger than ever, but we need to navigate this newly traveled path ahead cautiously, and support our communities physical & mental health with a makeshift approach. Give yourself permission to find the joy in the small things. If you are experiencing no symptoms, explore a new trailhead that is empty. Find woods with tons of space. People are repetitive to seek their favorite trails by nature, but the Northland offers plenty of space for us to do some soul searching among new paths while sticking to our neck of the woods.
Be sure to check for trail updates in your area as your pack your bag and head out the door. Respect if officials are discouraging visitors or if trails are closed. Plan ahead for weather updates and stick to your skill level of terrain when you set out, rather than having no plan in place. Don’t go overboard, and act with what your body is capable of.
Honor up to date CDC + WHO guidelines, including state parks and recreation recommendations in your local area. At this time, park buildings are closed and most restrooms are unavailable or removed. Playgrounds are secured to prevent entry and many beach areas are closing. Camping is not currently open to the public. While visiting parks and trails avoid tables, benches, and water fountains. Avoid traveling far enough where you will need to stop for gas, or for a bathroom break. Pack alone the essentials such as clothing, nutrition, sun protection, and hydration.
Hike with your healthy household and avoid gathering in groups. If you do pass others, feel free to give a friendly wave or “how ya doing?!” but keep the recommended 6-8ft distance to keep your fellow adventurers safe. If you notice the oncoming fellow explorers are getting to close for comfort, give an even friendlier, "Ope!" and regain your appropriate distance required. Exercise helps keep a healthy immune system, if we can do it appropriately! Friluftsliv!
Trails we recommend to responsibly stick to if you live in the Duluth, MN area:1. Hawk Ridge Loop (4.6 mi)
2. Lester River Trail (5.1 mi), Amity East and West Loops
3. Chester Park Loop (2.4 mi)
4. Hartley Nature Center (multiple trails available)
5. Lift Bridge to Enger Tower (5.3 mi)
6. Lake Superior Trail from Twin Ponds (3.7 mi)
7. Park Point (4.5 mi)
8. Superior Hiking Trail Loop (3.3 mi)
9. Superior Hiking Trail Section from Haines Rd. (3.6 mi)
10. Western Waterfront Trail (3.0 mi)
Bonus safe pathways for your outdoor activity:
• A mile-long section of Seven Bridges Road in Lakeside/Lester Park. The City has closed this road to motor vehicle traffic to make it safer and more appealing for cyclists and pedestrians. When added to the ongoing seasonal closure of Skyline Parkway at Hawk Ridge, the move creates 3.5 miles of scenic park road open only to bikes and pedestrians.
• A half-mile section of Lincoln Park Drive. This scenic road parallels a cascading section of Miller Creek through a peaceful wooded area.
• The Campus Connector Trail between the College of St. Scholastica and UMD and along Tischer Creek.
• Cross City Trail from Bayfront Park through Lincoln Park and above the Fairmount neighborhood.
Do you know of any local trails in this area that we missed? What trails are your favorite to visit? We'd love to hear about the trails you explore for the first time! Feel free to comment and add to our growing resources to support our community outdoors.