When I arrived to Duluth a few weeks ago, I asked a friend for some suggestions and she immediately told me to check out the hiking spots and spend as much time outside as possible before it gets too cold. I have definitely noticed how important the warmer months are to the locals due to their unbearably frigid winter season, because everyone is outside whenever they get the chance. Since I am originally from Minnesota, I know exactly how everyone feels. I am also not looking forward to the days getting colder and colder and colder, so I am following the crowd and making my way to the nearby lakewalk and popular hiking trails.
The Duluth Lakewalk
The lakewalk is a beautifully paved two way lane that runs along Lake Superior from N Pier where the canal and Aerial Lift Bridge is to S 61st Avenue. Throughout the day you will find cyclists, runners and walkers enjoying the incredible views of the lake and watching the giant ships coming and going from the canal. There are also several benches and picnic tables along the water, so maybe one evening pack a picnic and enjoy your dinner at the water’s edge while watching the sunset.
Seven Bridges Road
Drive all the way up and over each bridge and then back down to the very first or second parking lot. I parked in the L2 parking lot and hiked the Amity East Trail that connects with Lester Creek Trail. Follow the Lester Creek Trail to your left for a brief distance and when you see Amity West Trail take another left and follow it to where it hooks back up with Amity East Trail. Continue on Amity East Trail until you’re back where you started. Along the path you will notice several paths leading in separate directions. Let yourself waver from the main trail and follow your way to the bridges and creek. Maybe wear your suit, because in some spots you will find it is deep enough to swim. Expect to get a bit of a workout in, and you’ll quickly learn how to share the path with the many cyclists (I don’t know how they do it). Also keep your eyes and ears open, because you may run across some woodpeckers and various other types of birds.
Take S Lake Street over the Aerial Lift Bridge and past Canal Park to the airport at the end of the the peninsula. Once you reach the airport you will find yourself at a dead end. Find a parking spot in the lot and instead of walking up the wooden steps to the boardwalk, look for a trail on your right. There will be a large sign for the Park Point Nature Trail. Follow the wide path along the airport into the woods. Continue along the trail until you reach the end of the peninsula. Then kick off your shoes and walk back along the beach. It is absolutely stunning a couple of hours before sunset. Take a break on your way back and sit on the beach or on one of the many washed up logs to watch the sky change from light blue to a pastel pink. Eventually the lights in downtown Duluth will slowly turn on, which will sparkle off the water.
Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory
Hawk Ridge is located at the very top of the hill providing beautiful views of the city and of Lake Superior. When you arrive find a spot on the side of the road and look for a crowd of people holding binoculars and talking about birds. Hawk Ridge is a main migratory path for birds of prey and other migratory birds in the Western Lake Superior Region. It is also known for its many trails through the woods leading to various lookout points. Make sure to take a break at each lookout point to scan for hawks, eagles and other birds that may be soaring passed. If you’re not in a hiking mood, stay at the main lookout point and let the professionals point out the different birds flying by while you enjoy the view.