Hiking is an incredible way to spend time with family, and Duluth, Minnesota is one of the top destinations to embark on outdoor adventures. In Duluth, you’ll find interesting hiking trails filled with picturesque views and points of interest. From lovely paved trails, to rustic pathways winding through woodlands, there’s a variety of footpaths in the surrounding areas to explore. Stay at one of many exciting vacation rentals at Duluth to have easy access to these go-to hiking spots. Here are the top trails for families with kids to check out in Duluth, Minnesota.
1. Grassy Point Trail
Grassy Point is located around the wetlands and open water habitats of the St. Louis River Estuary. The easy hike will take the family on a nature-filled adventure. Kids will delight in the variety of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians that can be spotted in the area. Both children and adults alike may find the surrounding plant life, swamp and forests an environment of intrigue. Start your stroll on the floating boardwalk into the marsh, and take full advantage of the elevated viewing platform. And when you or your kids need a break, snag a spot on one of the many benches that line the path.
2. Hartley Park Trail
Catch stunning views of Lake Superior and the St. Louis River Valley on one of Hartley Park’s many hiking trails. There’s no shortage of options when it comes to pathways for hiking, biking, dog walking and even cross country skiing in the winter. Take your family on a hike to explore forested hills and wetlands, or round up the gang for a bike ride on Old Hartley Road, the main route through the park. If you want to learn more about the park and how you and your family can participate in its programs, stop by the Hartley Nature Center located on Woodland Avenue.
3. Congdon Park Trails
Known for its rugged beauty, the trails at Congdon Park provide breathtaking views of waterfalls, canyons, streams, hills and woodlands. Your kids will be awed by the canyon, as well as the cedar and willows that cling to its walls. Walk with your young explorers across bridges built in 1930 to see a hanging waterfall. Follow the trails along both sides of the river, and make a game of spotting billion-year-old volcanic rocks along the way.
4. Lincoln Park Trail
Lincoln Park Trails are located in one of the oldest parks in Duluth. It’s easy to see why the 35-acre park is such a draw for many people; the natural features of Lincoln Park are breathtaking, and the trails are easy to navigate. Choose from a variety of easy to moderate trails, from paved, wheelchair accessible courses to dirt or limestone pathways. Family members, both old and young, will marvel at the park’s highlights, which include waterfalls, gorges and famous Elephant Rock, a bedrock worn smooth by glaciers.
or a longer stroll, the Duluth Lakewalk is a 4.2-mile path that follows the shore of Lake Superior. It’s studded with sights, sounds and smells bound to excite just about anyone in the family. Catch sight of the working port and vessels sailing on the lake, or smell the roses in the air as you pass Leif Erickson Park and the Rose Garden. Hear a tune as you walk past Bayfront Festival Park, where performers fill the air with their sweet melodies during the summer. If in need of additional entertainment, the iconic Aerial Lift Bridge, Great Lakes Aquarium and the Canal Park entertainment district are spots to check out along the way.
6. Western Waterfront Trail
With nearly five miles of a waterfront pathway accessible to all, your family hike can be as long or as short as you make it. The trail is an 8-foot wide graveled pathway, an easy amble along the banks of the S. Louis River estuary. It eventually links to the Lake Superior Zoo, but wildlife is abundant in the marsh habitats along the miles of shoreline. Get your kids into wildlife watching by teaching them about some of the 270-plus bird species or aquatic mammals along the banks. Start at the Western Waterfront Trail, and see where the road takes you. The Willard Munger State Trail and Jay Cooke State Park are just an amble away.
7. Lester Park Trail
Families can make a day of hiking, picnicking and playing outside at Lester Park. The hiking trail itself starts in the park, and is considered on of the easier trails inside the city. But just because the walk is short, doesn’t mean the day has to end there. Lester Park has picnic tables, grills, sand boxes and even a softball diamond for additional family fun.
8. Superior Hiking Trail
Walk a part of the Superior Hiking Trail for views of boreal forests, the Sawtooth Mountains and rushing waterfalls. While most people use the trail for long-distance hiking, the trail is also optimal for spotting wildlife and taking in the views. Families with children old enough to take camping can include hiking as part of a larger experience to foster a love of the outdoors.
9. Skyline Drive Scenic Byway
The Skyline Parkway overlooks the entire city, offering a bird’s eye view of the harbor and shoreline of Lake Superior. During the spring and fall, Hawk Ridge is one of the best vantage points to watch migratory birds. The trail is just one of many in the area, with recreational opportunities on neighboring trails and surrounding parks available nearby. If the trek is too hard on the little ones, consider a drive along the byway, and taking short walks to the observation points instead.
10. Hawk Ridge Trails
Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve offers a variety of trails that cover many different landscapes. Find aspen-lined streams and maple groves within the reserve, as well as the top hawk watching spots in the state. It’s a big of a trek, but the Ridge Loop Trail will take you to the best place to see migrating hawks. Views from the Summit Ledges are also considered some of the best of Duluth. While the little ones may prefer ambling around the groves, kids who can make the hike are in for a real treat.
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