North Shore Drive-up Scenery

I am UMD student and an avid outdoor enthusiast. I love hiking, camping, climbing to hard-to-reach places to get some amazing views, etc. My family wants to come visit me here in Duluth, and wants to see some of my favorite nature spots, however, my family is a bit old and my favorite spots all require an hour-long hike and 500-foot climb, of which most of my family is incapable of doing. So I am wondering if anybody knows of any amazing scenery spots along the North Shore that do not require any strenuous activity to get to, and what I like to call drive-up scenery.

So far I have come up with areas such as Palisade Head, Gooseberry (of course) and Split Rock Nature Area. I am looking to find hiking trails and secluded beaches. Any recommendations are greatly appreciated!


Cory Fechner

about 7 years ago

Depends how far north you want to go..??

Fall River is a short easy hike down to lake with secluded beach and nice 35 foot waterfall right at the beach.

Pigeon Falls is easy paved trail to the largest waterfall in MN.

Sugarloaf Nature Area is nice easy walk to secluded beach area.


about 7 years ago

There is a book called Gentle Hikes of Minnesota's North Shore. I haven't read it, but it promises to help get folks with limited mobility out to pretty places on the shore.

If Seven Bridges Road is open again by the time they get back, that's some lovely drive-by scenery. And if it's not open, it's not a very strenuous hike.


about 7 years ago

Besides Seven Bridges Road there's also Hawk Ridge for a great view. And the Deeps is a very accessible and beautiful waterfall. You can all hike up from the pavilion in Lester Park to see it. Devil's Kettle, 14 miles north of Grand Marais in C. R Magney State Park is worth seeing. It requires a mile to mile-and-a-half hike (depending where you park in the park) and a descent (and ascent) on about 200 steps on a wooden stairway to get to the viewing platform. Not too difficult and afterwards you can take them to see (and possibly dine in) Naniboujou Lodge and Restaurant which is right across the highway. The dining room decor is pretty wild to see.


about 7 years ago

I second that Gentle Hikes Book.  We used it for finding cool places to go with our (then) toddler.

I'd also add -- Jay Cooke is pretty dang spectacular right from the road. The swinging bridge for instance is just steps from a visitor's center.


about 7 years ago

Stoney Point is an easy drive up the North Shore.  It's a flat place to walk and look at great lake views, good birding, and usually there are surfers out too.  Then you can grab lunch at Scenic Cafe, just a short drive from there.


about 7 years ago

The paths by the Two Harbors Lighthouse are easy plus there is the pier to walk along and catch a boat coming or going if you are lucky. Also, Iona's Beach by Gooseberry is beautiful too. The beach is a little bit different since most of the rocks are pink rhyolitede.


about 7 years ago

One of the world's great urban hikes is the trail at the end of Park Point. It is flat, easy walking. There's old growth forest, good birding, views of the lake and the harbor, and miles of beach. It's not a good choice if members of your party are susceptible to poison ivy. 

If you get all the way up to Grand Marais, the very short walk out to Artists' Point is spectacular.


about 7 years ago

There are so many great places, and you don't even need to leave Duluth!

1. Enger Tower is beautiful, with great easy walks and views without even climbing up the tower.

2. Hartley Nature Center has beautiful, easy walks right around the main building.

3. The nature trail at the end of Park Point, as mentioned above, is great, but a walk on just any part of the Park Point beach is amazing.

4. The whole Munger Trail is a great paved walking trail.  It starts in West Duluth by the Munger Inn, but a favorite spot is by the Ely Peak parking lot.  It is an easy, flay hike on paved trail and you get to see Ely's Peak and a spectacular view of the St Louis River Estuary from above. 

5. For another beautiful walk right in the St Louis River Estuary, the Western Waterfront Trail is serene and otherworldly.

6. Anywhere on the Lakewalk.  The newer bridges over Tischer Creek and Lester River are worth seeing.

7. Brighton Beach gives some great views by the water.

8. Hawks Ridge, as stated above, is a must see.  Nice walks, amazing views.

8. Lester Park next to The Deeps, as stated above, is also a must see.

9. Tischer Creek/Congdon Park, on Superior St, is one of the prettiest spots in Duluth.

10. The Lincoln Park Trail is a series of waterfalls that are to die for.

11. Chester Creek Falls are also very nice.

12. Last but not least, the whole Superior Hiking Trail is wonderful.  Many sections are easy hikes.


about 7 years ago

I/We once saw a ghost/spirit hanging out around the buoy depot out on the Point. She was wearing sequins. I am not kidding.


about 7 years ago

I have some family members that have very limited mobility and we have enjoyed the Harbor Cruise and the Lester River train ride with them.

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