Duluth’s natural surface trails closed during annual freeze/thaw cycle

It’s that time of the year. All natural surface, or dirt trails are closed due to the annual fall freeze-thaw cycle. According to the City of Duluth, the trails will be closed until further notice. This is in collaboration with the Superior Hiking Trail Association and the Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores.

The overnight below-freezing temperatures combined with daytime above-freezing temperatures create wet soil that can damage trails with continued use.

“If you see footprints or bike tire ruts in the underlying dirt, then it’s best to turn around and find a different outdoor recreation opportunity,” Matt Andrews, Parks and Recreation Trails Coordinator, said in a press release. “Until everything is frozen solid, the trails are highly vulnerable to damage, which could create erosion on the trails when the snow melts next spring.”

There are winter trail opportunities in the area. Gravel surface trails will remain open throughout winter, including the Duluth Winnipeg Pacific (DWP) Trail and Waabizheshikana (formerly Western Waterfront Trail). While the trails are open, they will not be plowed.

Paved surface trails that include the Campus Connector Trail, Lakewalk, and Cross-City Trail, are cleared of snow and will open regardless of weather conditions.

The City anticipates fully reopening natural surface trails once surface conditions allow and the ground has completely frozen. To learn more about the City of Duluth’s trails, please visit https://duluthmn.gov/parks/trails-bikeways/natural-surface-trails/