In July of 2017 I took my family to the Duluth Traverse. We’re a diverse group, so this took some planning.
I studied the superb work done by the Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores (COGGS) and REI’s MTB Project (Duluth) . And by study I mean a LOT of study. I had a hard time wrapping my head around the relationships of road, trails, interesting sites, places to eat, emergency exit options and the like. So I assembled two booklets about the Duluth Traverse.
By assembled I mean I didn’t write these booklets. I compiled screenshots and text from the MTB Project and Google Maps into booklet form. One covers the enter trail, the other the portion I tackled with my wife and children:
- DuluthTraverseFull.docx (3MB, Microsoft Word)
- DuluthTraverseLesterFamilyRoute.docx (7.3MB, Microsoft Word)
 If you try this you will discover Duluth’s weather is as severe as its landscape. It was sunny when my weather app said it was raining, and raining when it was supposed to be dry. You need to review the Coggs trail updates to know what’s rideable. They do allow some trails to be used when they aren’t completely dry.
This sage advice was posted on a Facebook MN Mountain Biking group by Tara R-A:
If you are the XC type Mission Creek is your best bet or the Duluth Traverse.
If you prefer a climb followed by descending, then start at the base of Lester, climb up Lester River Trail, continue up Hawk Ridge to Morningside, turn around and descend Morningside and Hawk Ridge and continue down on Amity East or West.
If you like more of a technical challenge with lots of rocks, Brewer is a great loop. Park off Haines Road, go through the tunnel under Haines Rd to Lollygagger, do the Homebrew loop and then either go farther on Lollygagger or return to car. Across the street is Piedmont, Upper and Lower Stovetop have lots of B-line option.
If you like tech, steeps, jumps and drops then any of the black and double black descents off Piedmont, DM, BOB, Kissing Booth would be good choices. Having said that the double blacks are legit double blacks and most have no B-lines.
I would also say the blacks in Duluth are harder than any in the metro.