Parks & Recreation

Trail Conditions & Etiquette

Trail Conditions:

Duluth has many miles of natural surface trails for hiking, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing. During annual freeze/thaw cycles in the Spring/Fall, our trails are especially susceptible to damage due to wet conditions. Footprints and ruts on wet trails can cause significant damage, while increasing trail maintenance costs. Natural surface trails are closed each Spring/Fall until they are dry enough, or frozen enough, for use without damage. During these periods the paved or bituminous surface trails are a good recreation option.

During the winter, if single track trail is freshly groomed after snowfall, the best practice is to wait until the surface has hardened or setup prior to usage. This prevents deep foot prints and rutting on the trail surface. Natural surface trails are susceptible to damage due to improper usage. In hard-packed snow conditions, the best practice is to only use the trail if you are not breaking through.

Trails should not be used during wet weather or when trails are soft or muddy. If you’re leaving footprints or ruts deeper, please turn around.

We appreciate your patience in allowing trails to dry before use. When trails are closed because of construction, maintenance, or events we ask that you obey any closure signs and detours. These closures are in place for your safety and for the protection of our trails.

Check our Trails and Bikeways page often for updates regarding natural surface trail conditions and closures, or call our trail comment line at 218-730-4323.

Trail Etiquette:

To make the trail experience enjoyable for all users, here are some trail etiquette suggestions: 

  • Show courtesy to other trail users.  A smile, a nod and a “hello” goes a long way.
  • Travel on open trails only. Respect all trail and road closures and don’t trespass on private land.
  • Always use safe speeds.
  • Stay off wet and muddy trails.
  • Use low tire pressure during soft snow conditions.
  • Stay off freshly groomed trails during the winter until they set up or harden.
  • Don’t post hole and don’t leave ruts.
  • Stay on existing trails. Don’t cut switchbacks and avoid walking on the sides of trails which negatively impacts vegetation along the trail and causes trail widening and braiding.
  • Be a responsible dog owner. Dogs must be on leashes except in designated dog parks. Please clean up after your pets.
  • Use the right side of the trail except when otherwise designated. Pass carefully on the left, and give an audible warning when you’re about to pass.
  • Don’t block the trail. Move to the side of the trail when taking a break.
  • Pack it in, pack it out. Always pick up your (and others) trash. Don’t litter.
  • Have fun, respect other users and share the trail!
  • Respect wildlife.
  • No campfires.
  • Leave what you find: rocks plants and other natural objects as you find them.
  • Plan ahead and prepare.