Six Spots To Run In Duluth

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Happy May! With summer fast approaching, we hope you have been able to get outside, go for a run and enjoy the warming temperatures. No matter where you live, there are always great places to run, and Duluth is no exception. In Duluth, there are a multitude of places to run; whether that be on the road, on trails or in parks around the city. If you are looking for a new spot to run, here are six places in Duluth great for running!

1. Superior Hiking Trail

With hundreds of miles of trails, 300+ to be exact, the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) is one of Duluth’s best spots for trail hiking and running. The Superior Hiking Trail starts just outside the south side of Duluth, and runs along Lake Superior until you almost reach Canada. Broken down in sections, the SHT comprises seven sections of trails that together form the 300+ miles of trails. Whether you are looking for a hike, a section near Duluth, or up the shore, each section has around 40-50 miles of trails within which you can run. The SHT  trails are wooded and unpaved, but the views are breathtaking. As you make your way through each of these trails, the views of Lake Superior don’t stop, making for a great run. 

If you are looking to start hiking the SHT trail, there are around fifty parking areas for visitors of which start in Duluth and run along the trail. If you live in Duluth and would like to start hiking/running on the trail, there are parking lots at Chester Bowl, Hartley Nature Center and the Rose Garden that are great options for starting your hike on the Superior Hiking Trail. While each of those are great options, there are other parking trailheads that are available in the Duluth area, as each parking area is only around 5-10 miles apart. For more information on parking, or on the SHT Trail itself, check out their website, https://superiorhiking.org.

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2. Duluth Lakewalk

The Duluth Lakewalk, known to many, is one of the best spots for running in Duluth. With just over 7 miles of trails, this multi-use trail is not only a great running trail, but a trail with beautiful views of Lake Superior. In addition to the views of Lake Superior along the trail, as you head out of Canal Park you run into many unique sights along the way. Some of these unique sights include the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge, the boardwalk in Canal Park, Leif Erickson Park and the Rose Garden. No matter where you start on this trail, you see a unique park or part of Duluth, in addition to Lake Superior. 

The Duluth Lakewalk Trail starts in Bayfront Park, runs though the city, and ends just before Brighton Beach on the north end of Duluth. As this seven mile trail runs through Duluth, there are multiple parking points where you can hop on and off the trail to start your adventure. As mentioned the trail starts in Bayfront Park, moves to Canal Park, and from there the trail continues. Parking is offered at Bayfront Park, Canal Park, and the Rose Garden, where a restroom is also available to the public. Overall, this trail is relatively easy to access and parking is offered all along the trail. This trail path is a combination of boardwalk that is near Canal Park, and asphalt as you make your way out of Canal Park, leaving you with a nice paved trail along the lake. For more information about the Duluth Lakewalk, check out Visit Duluth’s page, https://www.visitduluth.com/parks-and-trails/lakewalk/.

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3. Willard Munger State Trail

Our third running spot in Duluth is the Willard Munger State Trail. The Munger-Trail is a multi-use paved trail, great for running, hiking, etc. The Munger Trail is segmented into two different sections; the Hinckley-Duluth Segment and the Alex Laveau Memorial Trail. The Hinckley-Duluth Segment covers 70 miles of paved trail that is open to the public, and runs from Hinckley to Duluth, as per the title of this segment. From this trail flows the Alex Laveau Memorial Trail which is a much shorter trail that occupies paved trails as well as paved highway shoulders and city streets. This trail connects Carlton and Wrenshall, which can be found to be just south of Jay Cooke State Park. Along both of these segments of trails are scenic views that coincide with a relatively flat paved trail for hikers and runners. 

This trail is located just outside the city of Duluth, and although it may not be located right in the city of Duluth, it is a great running trail nonetheless. To access either of these trails, there are three different parking points along the trails. The closest access point to Duluth is the Willard Munger Trailhead, which can be found at Willard Munger State Trail (Alex Laveau Memorial Trail), Duluth, MN 55807. For more information about the Willard Munger State Trail, check out https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_trails/willard_munger/index.html.

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4. Bagley Nature Area

Bagley Nature Area is located on the University of Minnesota Duluth Campus, and can be found in the heart of Duluth. This portion of trails is an escape from the city, the hustle and bustle, and provides great trails for running, hiking, with very easy access to them. With over fifty acres, UMD has turned Bagley into not only a natural space available for their students, but hiking/running trails for the public as well. This nature area is a great place to hike, to go for a run and enjoy the nature surrounding you. If you make it to this nature area, make sure you check out the Rock Hill Observation Point for a great view of the lake, as pictured below. In addition to this neat observation point, a unique aspect of this nature area is that the Superior Hiking Trail paves its way through this park in addition to the trails that Bagley Nature Area has to offer. 

In comparison to some of the other trails mentioned in this blog, this nature area is a little smaller than others, and has less overall trail mileage. The trails in this nature area combine for two main loops; the West Loop at 1.2 km, and the East Loop for 1.5 km. If you are looking for a shorter trail, you could choose to do one or the other, or combine the two loops to make a longer mileage trail. One advantage is that you are able to choose your length of loop and decide what you would like to do! If you are interested in hiking at Bagley Nature Area, there is parking offered nearby. Once on the UMD campus, head to Parking Lot T-2 or Lot S-8 to access the trailhead through metered parking.  It is important to note that during the school year parking can be a bit challenging as students are on campus, but during the summer months campus is much quieter and parking will be much easier to find. If you are interested in hiking/running at Bagley, check out their website, https://www.d.umn.edu/recreational-sports-outdoor-program/facilities/bagley-nature-center

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5. Chester Park

Also located in the heart of the city, Chester Park is a great running location for trail runners. With trails located within a smaller portion of the city, Chester Park provides trails for all. From hiking trails, to running trails, to trails for winter sports, you are bound to get a great workout at this park. Chester Park offers a great 2.4 mile loop within the park great for running. This specific trail follows the river within the park, and takes you within the wooded park. One item to note with this trail, is that it has been labeled as a more challenging trail; as you make your way through the park and trail, you come across parts of the trail that are more challenging and hilly. But while these trails might be more challenging, the nature you are surrounded by will make up for the difficulty on the trail. 

If you are familiar with Chester Bowl, you are likely familiar with Chester Park as well, and vice-versa. The two are one-in-one and make for a great park within the city of Duluth. If you are looking for this park, head to 1801 East Skyline Parkway. You will find a large parking lot that is available to the public for free, and from that point you will find the trailhead to access the Chester Park Trail.

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6. Duluth Traverse out of Lester Park 

Our last spot for running in Duluth is the Duluth Traverse out of Lester Park. The Duluth Traverse offers over 100 miles of multi-use trails to the public. With these trails being multi-use; many bikers, walkers and runners use these trails throughout the year. These trails are great for runners, as the trails are marked very well, and you can cruise on them for miles. In the winter, these trails are also open for snowshoe running, if you enjoy that! If choosing to run on this course, it is best to give priority to bikers if you meet them along the trail. While on these trails, the scenery is amazing, only adding to the overall quality of the trail. 

If looking to check out this park, the trail head can be located at Lester River, on the other side of the walking bridge. At the trailhead are maps, as well as along the way marking your location and desired location. For more information, check out this website, https://www.coggs.com/duluth-traverse-project.

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With many months of outdoor running ahead, we hope you are able to get outside and go for a run at one of these fantastic spots in Duluth!