Duluth Mountain Biking for Beginners and Kids

Lester ParkA friend asked me last week where beginners should go for a good first-time mountain biking experience in Duluth.

“I want good views — not afraid of some hills — but nothing crazy where I would have to be an expert,” she said.

I don’t mountain bike, so I can’t answer the question … or maybe that makes me the perfect guinea pig for an experiment. Anyway, a quick search of the internet seems to suggest Lester Park has a good “easiest” trail. Is there a middle-aged klutz out there who can endorse the Lester experience as a good trail for a first-time mountain biker? Or is there somewhere better suited to persons of limited balance?



about 8 years ago

I would endorse the Lester Park section of the Duluth Traverse as a good beginner section.  Avoid the Hawk's Ridge section as this is a lot more technical.  Start at the lower Lester Park trailhead and pedal up the Duluth Traverse along the Lester River.  When you get to the top at Seven Bridges Road and Maxwell Road, turn around and head down (it's a lot more fun going down than up).   If you don't want to go back down the Duluth Traverse you can take either Amity East or Amity West down, but I recommend the DT going down.  Enjoy...

Mark Nicklawske

about 8 years ago

I am that old klutz who restarted a mountain biking career after a 20-year layoff. I wouldn't call it an ideal trail for beginners but the Lester Trail is the best ride I've found in Duluth. It's smooth and fast going down. Few rocks or roots and no technical boulder climbs. Bridges are wide and flat.  And every once in awhile you have to stop and enjoy the view.


about 8 years ago

With the exception of one tricky bridge (you know the one) I'd add all of the easy-marked sections of Mission Creek to the list of "suitable for most any skillset on most any bike" trails. Plus Lollygagger at Brewer.


about 8 years ago

The traverse between Hawks's Ridge (Skyline) and Vermillion Road is pretty easy too. It's a new section that was completed last fall. Be aware this section of trail replaced the Supeiror Hiking Trail Hawk's Ridge spur trail, so there usually are a number of walkers, runners, and friendly pooches on the trail -- including mine!

mole Z

about 8 years ago

Since I chose the year of my 50th birthday to begin mountain biking, I would also put myself in the middle-aged klutz demographic. I logged my 25th ride, all but one on Duluth trails, last night. I truly believe I have not encountered anyone with fewer mountain biking skills as I, so if I can do it, probably anyone can. I agree that Lester is a great place to start. Personally, I would start by going down Lester first if it is your first ride ever. I avoid the blue trails at Lester. I have tried but find myself stopping and getting off my bike more than I would like. In general I stay away from intermediate or harder trails. I have high hopes for next year but for now there are plenty of "easy" rated trails to learn on.

I live near Enger and I have mostly biked the Traverse from Haines to Observation Road. All of the Traverse trails seem doable for beginners except for the Hawks Ridge section. The Traverse does not have any man-made obstacles (that you can't avoid) and minimizes natural obstacles such as roots and rocks. The thing you will encounter are long sections of up or downhill switchbacks and some pretty tight corners at times. I find it pretty easy to hop on and off my bike to avoid anything I am not comfortable attempting.

When I first started I was quite intimidated and had to give myself little pep talks to get out there. After a little practice I feel pretty comfortable and am enjoying the new trails and beautiful views they offer.

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