The Duluth Traverse
Epic Traverse Trail Across Duluth, MN
Duluth Traverse Overview: West to East
Direction: there is a segment at Spirit Mountain called "Happy Camper" which is one-way, downhill trail (when the park is open and lifts are running), which requires this route to go from west to east.
START: Mission Creek to Spirit Mountain
Park/start in Chamber's Grove Park and start out riding north on the St. Louis River Trail. Watch for the official "Duluth Traverse" trail marker signs. Continue up Valley West, and take a short jog west on Mission Creek Pwky (gravel doubletrack) then east on new singletrack. You'll come out on a wide gravel path with bridges over a paved bike trail and several RR tracks. Continue north on this, cross Becks Rd (paved hwy), and get on Skyline Parkway (gravel road) going east. Ride the gravel of Skyline Pkwy for about five miles until you get to Spirit Mtn, where you'll look for signs for Happy Camper.
Big climb: Spirit Mountain to Observation Hill
At the base of Spirit Mtn. chalet, look for signs for the DT and follow it through the Kingsbury section. Then continue northeast on a recreational trail until you pass under I-35. From the I-35 underpass, you'll start a big "cat 3" climb on singletrack. Follow the DT segments Keene, Lollygager (top of the climb), under the Haines Road tunnel and onto Lower Burner, Skyline, Miller Creek, Enger, and the Observation Hill sections.
Observation Hill to Hartley
This is the longest cross-city paved road part of the ride; Follow W 9th St toward the antennas but hop onto the "Antenna Farm" trail (singletrack) shortly after crossing 4-way intersection. This trail will take you across a long bridge, along a ridgeline, and terminate at W 13th St - go right. Follow roads through Harbor Highlands housing development and grab paved pike path on your left just as you leave. Then cross Central Entrance and immediately dive back into singletrack on "Hilltopper" trail. Continue to follow the DT trail ("Westchester" section) and soon, you'll be in Chester Park. Zip around the Chester Bowl Rim segment. Exit into a neighborhood and hang a couple lefts to head north past the UMD campus. It's a right onto Arrowhead Road, then a quick left back onto DT singletrack.
Hartley to Lester - END!
Take the Fairmont street spur trail, go down Fairmont Street, cross Woodland Ave and take Carlisle Ave east until you hit Vermilion Rd (then go north). Ride the gravel road between cemeteries and watch for the DT singletrack to pick up again on your right (east). Follow that trail, Morningside, through to the Hawk Ridge Trail and on down the final stretch - the Lester River Trail to the bottom in Lester Park.
Mapping and Navigation Resources:
Current as of November 2018
The Duluth Traverse ("DT") is progressing toward completion with each trail-building season that passes. It is the result of a shared vision that COGGS and the City of Duluth has for a multi-use, singletrack trail that is purpose-built for mountain biking and completely traverses the entire length of the City of Duluth. As beginner level singletrack, the DT connects extensive and more difficult trail networks in clusters at Lester Park, Hartley Park, Piedmont-Brewer Park, Spirit Mountain and Mission Creek.
This route is drawn strictly using sanctioned, purpose-built singletrack, and public roads. End to end is over 40 miles.
As mapped here, the route is roughly 75% singletrack. Much of the non-singletrack is on gravel road, doubletrack, or paths. The longest section of non-singletrack is a roughly 5 mile stretch of gravel road (Skyline Parkway) connecting Spirit Mountain with the Mission Creek area. There are a couple of on-street 'weaves': through the UMD campus between Hartley Park and the Chester Park (1.5 miles), and between Marshall School and the antenna farm on Observation Hill (1.75 miles).
This route will be updated periodically when additional sections of sanctioned singletrack are filled-in. Check out the full details on our MTB Project Riding Area. Get Duluth Traverse on-trail navigation for Android and iOS.