Camping, biking near Duluth, Minnesota

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of August 7-13, 1997
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Camping, biking near Duluth, Minnesota
Question: What are a few campgrounds along the north shore in Duluth, Minnesota, that are secluded and have good hiking and biking trails?

Sara Jacenko
Minneapolis, MN
[email protected]

Adventure Adviser: It's not often I get to answer a question about my neck of the woods. I grew up in Duluth and loved every minute of it! Bear in mind I haven't lived there for about 10 years, so the following information may be a little rusty.

I'm not aware of any state parks that are actually in Duluth, but if you drive north on Highway 61, you'll find plenty of parks with access to rocky beaches and hiking trails that peek out at sweeping vistas of Lake Superior.

My absolute favorite state park is Tettegouche (218-226-6365), approximately 10 miles north of Silver Bay and an hour's drive from Duluth. It may not look spectacular as you pull off the highway, but take a walk on one of the many paths leading toward the lake and you'll soon get an eye-full.

If you head north on the path, you'll meander for about a half-mile through pine and birch forests until you start making your way up a relatively steep, rocky incline. At the top, you'll find a lookout area where you'll have sweeping views of Lake Superior and the terrifyingly steep Shovel Point, a cliff that drops hundreds of feet into the lake.

There are also a few natural arches along the shoreline and smaller cliffs jutting out into the lake. But unless you enjoy swatting mosquitoes, it's best to keep moving along the park's 23 miles of trails.

Tent campers can choose from about a dozen drive-up sites or 14 cart-in sites, where you can hike in about a half-mile for more privacy. The one drawback is 70 percent of the sites can be reserved, and most of them are booked solid until the end of October. The other 30 percent, however, are first-come, first-served. All of the sites are $12.

Unfortunately, Tettegouche has less than 2 miles of bike trail. But if you don't mind hopping in your car, you can drive north to Lutsen Mountain Resort. There you'll find 30 miles of mixed road and singletrack biking, with gondola access for those who don't like uphills. The cost for access to the trails is $10, even if you don't take advantage of the gondola ride. Call 218-663-7281 for a detailed description of the trails.

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