Skiing at Duluth’s Bagley Nature Area: Nearly free and always fun

Smack dab in the middle of eastern Duluth is the only ski trail that costs a quarter to ski … if you’re really fast. Most people should bring three quarters. 75 cents buys you 60 minutes of parking at UMD’s Bagley Nature Area. That’s enough time to ski the 2.7 lovely kilometers of loops and hills twice.

The trail is right next to the UMD campus and dormitories. The school has done a great job grooming the trails and keeping walkers off them. Check out the latest reports on

The East Loop is supposed to be “easy,” though there is a brutally steep dip down into the creek valley followed by the steepest possible climb back up. Many skiers side-step up the hill.

The West Loop is rated more difficult, and has a very long climb up the back side of “Rock Hill.” That may be the longest climb for any ski trail in Duluth. Step a few meters off the trail at the top and enjoy one of the best views of Lake Superior around (note the ore boat in the iced-over lake, 500 feet lower and miles away).

The trail runs through mature sugar maple forest. Although you’re surrounded by the campus and busy roads, the trail feels pretty wild and remote. Hard to believe you plugged a parking meter to ski here!

How to get there:

From I-35, head up from the 21st Avenue East exit to Woodland Avenue. Turn right on Woodland. Take St. Marie Street from Woodland Avenue in eastern Duluth to the Bagley Nature Center parking lot near the Oakland Apartments. The right lot is labeled “Lot T2.”



about 13 years ago

You can also take the 6, 11, 12 or 13 bus to UMD and walk out to the trailhead at Bagley from there (all these routes also go along St. Marie, and the 12 goes along Arrowhead, and you can get into Bagley from there too).  Bagley is just one of the awesome wildernessy places in Duluth accessible by public transit.

about 13 years ago

I went shoeing up at Hartley last weekend. The powder was pretty nice. The bog's thin ice over by the beaver dam.

I betcha Bagley's got some nice powder to pound through.


about 13 years ago

Thank you for sharing this on PDD!

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