Updated: August 06, 2021 07:41 AM
Created: June 10, 2021 10:29 AM
With the International Mountain Biking Association deeming Duluth one of only 6 gold level ride centers in the world, pride in Northland trails is justified.
That gold status is earned in part by the Duluth Traverse (DT), a trail that extends across the entire city.
Ski Hut manager Dave Neustel said, “When I kind of first started here, this whole Duluth Traverse project was just getting started and there’s been a lot of work put in, a lot of volunteer hours to get this thing done.”
The DT is a passion project driven by the trail users volunteering their time with Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores (COGGS) and the City of Duluth. The DT has been expanding with each trail building season, and it now spans over 40 miles.
Dave said, "Now in Duluth, it's like everybody's got a trail in their backyard. And once you get on that trail, you can ride wherever you want to go, whether it's to work, get some food, you can just commute all over town on your mountain bike, and that's super unique."
The DT ultimately connects Lester Park to Mission Creek. It’s two-way trail, so it can be ridden in either direction. It’s mostly beginner level singletrack. You can ride it in segments, or tackle the whole beast in one day as Dave likes to do.
"The first time I did it, we were just kind of cruising and we didn't really have a route super planned out, so I think it took, like, 6 hours. I've seen people do it as fast as 3 hours," Dave said.
Dave’s tips for anyone looking to make a day out of it include bringing along biking gloves, a few tools for a quick fix-up, and snacks.
Dave said, "It's a lot of hard work, so you're going to be burning calories, so bring a lot of food."
It’s also important to stay hydrated. It’s recommended that you drink one bottle of water for every hour on a bike. Dave says hydration packs are a great way to bring all the water you’ll need with you on the trail.
Or, with the trail being embedded within the city, you’re never too far from a spot to pick up refreshments along the way.
"Being in Duluth, there's tons of great places to stop, a lot of great restaurants and little areas to go in, quick grab something to eat, maybe a cup of coffee, and then keep going," Dave said.
The route is roughly 80% singletrack with most of the other 20% split up between gravel road, doubletrack, and paths. Dave says navigating on and off the trail can be tricky.
He said, “Along the Duluth Traverse there’s a lot of parts that aren’t well signed and aren’t necessarily marked."
Dave says trailforks is a great resource for fiding your way along the DT. Ski Hut is currently working on a series of videos that will demonstrate trail navigation.
Every Thursday, WDIO News will bring you a story about the sport of bike riding. We will focus on the trail systems in our viewing area as well as equipment and bike maintenance.
If you have a biking story that you think we should cover, e-mail Brandon Weathers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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