Muddy Trails and COVID-19: Duluth Hiking in Spring 2020

Duluth’s Parks and Recreation division has released guidelines advising citizens how to use city parks and trails in a manner that will reduce the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. March and April are also the months when snow is melting and natural-surface trails can be easily damaged.

So, where is it OK to hike and how is it done safely?

First, with reference to COVID-19, the city advises people to:

  • Refrain from using parks or trails if they are exhibiting symptoms.
  • Follow the Center for Disease Control’s guidance on personal hygiene prior to, during and after use of parks or trails.
  • Be prepared for no access to public restrooms, potable water or protection from the elements.
  • Observe the CDC’s minimum separation of six feet from other individuals at all times.
  • While on trails, warn other users of their presence and step aside to let others pass.
  • Follow CDC guidance on the maximum advisable size of social gatherings.
  • Reduce crowding and travel by sticking to close-to-home parks and trails.
  • Select alternatives to crowded parks and trails like the Lakewalk.
  • Minimize use of high-touch park amenities such as benches, picnic tables, trash cans, and railings.
  • Obey all closures of community centers, playgrounds, and restrooms.

When natural-surface trails are wet, the best walking and running options are paved and gravel trails such as:

  • Duluth Lakewalk
  • Willard Munger State Trail
  • Cross City Trail
  • DWP Trail
  • Campus Connector Trail
  • Lincoln Park Drive, a portion of which is closed to motor vehicles for bike and pedestrian use
  • One-mile section of Seven Bridges Road in Lakeside/Lester Park closed to vehicles
  • Old Hartley Road
  • Amity Creek Equestrian Trail
  • West Skyline Parkway and Hank Jensen Drive from Twin Ponds to Enger Park Golf Course
  • Western Waterfront Trail (although it’s mostly closed this year)
  • Millennium Trail in the Superior Municipal Forest
  • Osaugie Trail along the Superior Bay
  • Beaches on Minnesota and Wisconsin points
  • Skyline Parkway on the western end beyond the barrier, which is closed to auto traffic
  • Roads around the Antenna Farm
  • Old State Highway 1 (terminus of Westgate Boulevard southwest of 68th Avenue West)
  • Paved driveways at cemeteries

The latter suggestions come from Perfect Duluth Day and not Duluth Parks and Rec. For the up-to-date trail conditions and notifications, visit duluthmn.gov/parks.

8 Comments

Dave Sorensen

about 6 months ago

Alas, the Western Waterfront Trail is currently closed.

Paul Lundgren

about 6 months ago

Yeah, thanks for mentioning that. I added a parenthetical note there. I was just walking on parts of the Western Waterfront Trail this past weekend and it was difficult to determine whether it was partially closed or totally closed. I think the ends of it are open and the center is closed, but it might be that the whole thing is closed and some of the signs that formerly indicated closure were removed by people who are opposed to it.

Dave Sorensen

about 6 months ago

A new trail etiquette is evolving. Up until today the few people on the Lakewalk stayed well within their lanes. An exception today was a couple jogging two-abreast, ONE IN EACH LANE, as I swerved onto the grass to keep my distance. Bound to rub elbows at the grocery store in a week or two, regardless.

Helmut Flaag

about 6 months ago

Sing it with me!  You picked a poor time to screw me Covid...

Paul Lundgren

about 6 months ago

Update from Duluth Parks and Rec:

In response to reports of unsafe crowding on the Lakewalk, the city of Duluth is encouraging citizens to disperse to other paved trails including three additional trails that the city has made available for immediate use. “The level of crowding observed on the Lakewalk last weekend and most evenings this week makes it difficult for residents to maintain the six foot separation necessary to prevent transmission of COVID-19,” said City of Duluth Parks and Recreation Manager, Jessica Peterson. “We have made additional trails available so that residents can recreate without endangering public health.” The three newly available locations are: • A mile-long section of Seven Bridges Road in Lakeside/Lester Park. The city has closed this road to motor vehicle traffic to make it safer and more appealing for cyclists and pedestrians. When added to the ongoing seasonal closure of Skyline Parkway at Hawk Ridge, the move creates 3.5 miles of scenic park road open only to bikes and pedestrians. • A half-mile section of Lincoln Park Drive. This scenic road parallels a cascading section of Miller Creek through a peaceful wooded area. • A one-mile section of the Munger State Recreation Trail. With DNR permission, the city of Duluth plowed the portion of the trail from Pulaski Street to Beaudry Street. As moderating temperatures and softening of snow permits, the city will strive to plow other portions of the remaining five-miles of the Munger Trail within the city.

Paul Lundgren

about 6 months ago

Another update: I added Old State Highway 1 to the list. This is a very short trail, and it's noisy due to its proximity to I-35, and there is a lot of deer turds on it, but it is a dry paved trail that provides a change of scenery from the usual stuff. Walking to the end and back takes about a half hour.

It's in West Duluth. The trailhead is near Sam's Florist, Cody Inn, Allyndale Motel and Westgate Townhomes. Just head west on Westgate Boulevard and go past the blockade at its terminus.

Paul Lundgren

about 6 months ago



And yet another update: The city of Duluth has closed West Skyline Parkway from Twin Ponds to the Enger Park Golf Course parking lot, including Hank Jensen Drive, to vehicular traffic. Parking is available at Twin Ponds and the Enger Park Golf Course.

Update: Effective April 24 hikers should no longer park in the golf course lot due to the golf course opening. Parallel park along the roadway to access the from the west. Parking is still available at Twin Ponds on the eastern side. 

Paul Lundgren

about 6 months ago



Another update from Parks & Rec: Effective April 9 the two-mile section of West Skyline Parkway from Haines to Getchell roads will be closed to traffic and open to walkers. Parking is available at either end of the road closure.

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