United States

Duluth, MN

A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Places to Run in The Duluth Area

Courtesy: Pixabay

This major port city, located on Lake Superior, is the second largest metro area in Minnesota. Duluth is a major tourist destination of the midwest, owing to its waterfront location, Aquarium, and numerous cultural amenities. Duluth is also regarded as one of the top outdoor recreation cities in the United States, featuring 11,000 acres of green space, more than 100 parks, and dozens of miles of paved, multi-use trails, mountain biking trails, and hiking trails. There’s a great variety for running in Duluth, featuring gorgeous lakefront trails, parks, and some excellent trail running close to the city, with hills rising to 1,000 feet just to the west. There are fantastic wooded trails all around, with something for every ability. Runners should note this is a four-season city: winters are among the coldest and snowiest of any major city in North America!

The signature run in Duluth is the 8-mile Lakewalk.  Our ‘runseeing‘ tour features the Canal Park area, over the Lift Bridge, and out the piers. North of the city, we’ve mapped a 7.5 mile section of North Shore Drive (‘Scenic 61’). For park and trail running, the routes in Chester Park, Hartley Park, Lester Park, and Jay Cooke State Park (south of the city) have excellent variety and some great views. Also, be sure to check out our routes on the lightly trafficked parkways, such as W. Skyline and Seven Bridges Rd. Good neighborhoods for running include Lakeside, Woodland, Hunters Park, and Observation Hill. For a long, flat run on a multi-use path, the William Munger Trail is a great bet.

Some notes about running in Duluth: The city is on a hill, so any run from the lakefront to downtown will require somewhat of a climb. Runners should be aware of Duluth’s ‘four season’ climate, which includes severe winters — 106 days where temps remain below freezing and nearly 100 inches of annual snowfall. It’s a mecca for those who love winter sports, but bring your Yaktrax and use the proper etiquette. For transport, there’s a decent local bus system. And, thank you to the folks at Duluth Running Co. for their help with this guide!

Editor's Picks

Some of our favorite runs in Duluth, MN

The Lakewalk

Among the signature places to run in Duluth. The multi-use path follows Rt. 61 along Lake Superior... more...

See All Routes
  • All Routes
  • Iconic Routes
  • Weather & Climate
  • Where To Stay
  • Stores & Group Runs
  • Events

The Lakewalk

Duluth, MN

Among the signature places to run in Duluth. The multi-use path follows Rt. 61 along Lake Superior from the Canal Park area for 7.5 miles, north to Brighton Beach. There are spectacular views of the lake, especially for the first 4 miles.
Explore

North Shore Drive

Duluth, MN

For those who want a longer, straightforward waterfront run, this is a good bet! We've mapped a 7.5 mile section of North Shore Drive along Lake Superior, starting near Brighton Beach and heading north to Palmers. Wide shoulders and water views.
Explore

Park Point and Nature Trail

Duluth, MN

This long, narrow sand spit that extends out from Canal Park, makes for a nice run. Combination of road and 2-mile long Nature Trail, that ends at the spectacular point of the Superior Entry Channel. Note: sections of Nature Trail are soft sand!
Explore

Chester Park and University Area

Duluth, MN

A wooded and quite challenging trail run right near downtown. The Chester Park Trail is a wooded and steep ~3 mile loop, going up and down ravines. The Univ. of Minnesota at Duluth, just east of the park, has a nice campus and track for running.
Explore

Hartley Park

Duluth, MN

A 640-acre park featuring more than 10 miles of mainly wooded multi-use trails. Mainly trail running and quite hilly. Use attached map to create your own route. The Woodland and Hunters Park neighborhoods adjacent to the park are also pleasant for running.
Explore

William Munger State Trail

Duluth, MN

Great option for a flat off-road run on this collection of multi-use trails between Duluth and Hinckley. Starting near the Superior Zoo, it's 6 miles to Short Line Park, and another 6 miles to Jay Cooke State Park. Terrain is mainly wooded, with some giant rock formations.
Explore

Jay Cooke State Park

Duluth, MN

Large state park 18 miles south of Duluth. Great running opportunities on trails through hardwood forests, with views to gorges, river valleys, and large rock formations. We provide recommendations for flat, paved paths and trail running of varying challenge.
Explore

The Lakewalk

Duluth, MN

Among the signature places to run in Duluth. The multi-use path follows Rt. 61 along Lake Superior from the Canal Park area for 7.5 miles, north to Brighton Beach. There are spectacular views of the lake, especially for the first 4 miles.
Explore

Weather is a factor in Duluth. It’s truly a four season climate. Winter is the story here, with 106 days where the temperature does not rise above freezing and 80+ inches of annual snowfall. Average high temperatures in January are 19F (-7C) and lows are near zero (-17C). Lake Superior helps moderate temperatures a bit, but is also the source of an often chilly east wind. Fall is gorgeous but short. Summers are mild and delightful, with average high temperatures in the mid-70s (25C), with nights that can be cool. Always bring a layer!

usclimatedata.com

Duluth is a popular tourist spot, especially in summer. Our recommendation is to stay downtown or near the waterfront if you can, in order to enjoy some of the lovely waterfront routes in Duluth.

RUNNING STORES

There are three dedicated running stores in Duluth — not bad for a city this size!

Duluth Running Company.  Centrally located in Leif Erikson Park. They offer numerous group running opportunities and events. More info. And shout out to them for their help with this guide!

Austin-Jarrow. North of the city in the Stone Ridge Shopping Center. A running store that has been around since the 1980s!

Tortoise and Hare Footwear. South of downtown.

GROUP RUNS

Duluth Running Company has numerous group events. More info.

Good events calendar:  http://www.northlandrunner.com/run?page=Home