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Duluth Traverse


Project Status: Design

Construction Update: Design for 2019 trail construction is in progress. Construction to commence spring 2019.

Project Overview:

The Duluth Traverse is a multi-use trail system linking neighborhoods and people to green spaces and our parks. It is a single-track, natural surface trail, purpose built for mountain bikes, stretching the entire ridge line of Duluth from Lester Park in the east to Chambers Grove Park in the west. It will be the first 100-mile trail system of its kind, wholly within an urban environment. By the end of the 2017 build season, 85 miles will have been completed. This project is a shared vision between The City of Duluth and the Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores (COGGS).

Although purpose built for mountain biking this trail is intended to be a multi-use trail system open to all human-powered users. Besides mountain bikers, trail users include runners, hikers, dog walkers in the summer and fat tire winter biking, snowshoeing and backcountry skiing in the winter months

When completed the Duluth Traverse Trail System will improve upon, expand, and link existing multi-use trail centers at Lester Park, Hartley Park, Piedmont/Brewer Park, Spirit Mountain and Mission Creek Park.

Project Details:

Trail Centers

Trail Centers are clusters of trails, ideally featuring trails of all the difficulty ratings (green, blue, black, etc.), concentrated in a contiguous park or green space. They include: Lester Park, Hartley Park, Piedmont Recreation Area/Brewer Park, Spirit Mountain Recreation Area, Mission Creek Forest Preserve

Duluth Traverse Trail (Spine/Connector)

Connecting all of these Trail Centers will be an approximately 40-mile beginner friendly bike optimized “Green Level” singletrack trail called the Duluth Traverse Trail. This trail is the spine/connector essentially following the ridgeline in the City of Duluth connecting neighborhoods with all five Trail Centers and multiple park spaces across the length of the city.  It will have a special designation overlay and unique trail wayfinding identifiers. It runs from Lester Park in the East to Chambers Grove Park in the West.

Spirit Mountain Trail Center

Spirit Mountain is the downhill mountain bike focused Trail Center in the Duluth Traverse Trail System with lift assist during the summer for paid admissions on the existing downhill mountain bike trails. In addition to the existing and proposed downhill trails is the proposed All Weather Trail. This is a special designation and build specification given to a looped segment of the cross country mountain bike trail system at Spirit. Once built it will be will be hardened and constructed in such a way to support high-volume trail usage in wet trail conditions.

Spirit Mountain has its own bike trail master plan for the downhill and cross country trails and is in the process of building it out. This trail system is also to function as a neighborhood Trail Center for the nearby neighborhoods at the top and bottom of the mountain. All the trails are open to the public, as any other Trail Center, but when the lifts are running specific downhill trails turn into one-way-only routes and are closed to any uphill traffic.

Bike Skill Area

Included as part of the Duluth Traverse Trails System will be, two to three urban bike skill locations less than one acre in size preferably placed on already developed locations. Keene Creek Park has already been identified as one of these locations per the Keene Creek Park mini-masterplan. Modern bike skill areas offer purpose-built trails, designed and built by mountain bikers. They are to function as a progressive skill development area for youth, not unlike skateboard parks that you see in town. 

 Important Documents:

FINAL Council Approved Mini-Master Plan: Download Here.

Jim Shoberg
Senior Parks Planner
Parks and Recreation
411 West First Street
Duluth, MN 55802
(218) 730-4316


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