Students explore outdoor recreational activities by campus
The University of Minnesota Duluth is situated in an area surrounded by not only academics, but nature areas.
These areas offer a variety of outdoor recreational activities. Whether you want to hang out with friends, relieve some stress, or be immersed in the tranquility of Duluth, these areas will help. Freshman year, I spent many weekends exploring these parks, nature areas and trails with new friends. The best part about these spots is their proximity to campus. They are all almost within walking distance. Don’t have a car? Don’t want to lose that amazing parking spot you just scored? Don’t want to wait for the bus? These close recreational areas are perfect.
Here is a list of some UMD students’ favorite places with tips and tricks about what they offer:
Bagley Nature Area
Located on the Northwest side of UMD’s campus, this nature area offers 59 acres of forests, a pond and a large grassy area with benches.
This area was one of UMD sophomore Abigael Smith’s favorite places to explore as a freshman due to the close proximity and hiking trails.
“Bagley is amazing because of how expansive it actually is,” Smith said. “I went walking in Bagley all the time my first year. It’s an amazing stress reliever and even gorgeous during the winter.”
Here, winding trails are available for hiking and trail running. When winter hits, Recreational Sports Outdoor Program (RSOP) grooms the paths for cross-country skiing. UMD students can rent equipment on campus at the RSOP rental center.
If hiking, running or skiing through the day isn’t enough for you, no need to worry. A campground is featured with six campsites leading off from the trails. For $25, four camp sites can be reserved and two are available based on first-come first-serve.
Another area located right by campus, is the Overlook trail. It is located directly behind Green Lot U. At the very edge of this parking lot, the trail leads uphill into a forest. This trail does not have a sign indicating the trail head. However, rest assured that once you find the path, it leads up about half a mile to an overlook of the city.
This nice, short walk to the top is a fun place to bring family on parents’ weekend to show off your college town. Up there, a rimmed platform allows hikers to walk out and catch a view of the city below and Lake Superior.
With views of Lake Superior, Smith believes “there is nothing else like it.”
Nestled as a valley in a residential area, a flowing creek with multiple bridges and waterfalls acts as the backdrop for a two-and-a-half mile loop trail (Duluth Trails).
This park was another big favorite for Smith to frequent.
“[It’s] amazing, because it was only about a 10-minute walk from campus,” Smith said. “I loved the waterfalls and the dynamic views from above, especially when walking around the creek.”
This tree-lined hiking trail doubles as a cross-country ski trail during the winter months.
Chester Park also has downhill skiing during the winter.
Hartley Nature Center
Tucked away a couple blocks from Bagley Nature Area, is Hartley Nature Center. This 660-acre wooded park has trails perfect for hiking and mountain biking during the warmer seasons and cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, according to Hartley Nature Center’s website.
Along with forests and views, there are streams, Hartley Pond, and a collection of smaller ponds found throughout the area. Canoeing, kayaking, and fishing—during the fishing season—are allowed on Hartley Pond.
Current junior at UMD Rhett Lila likes the area so much, he lives by it now.
“I live within walking distance,” Lila said. “I love it. My favorite part is probably the pond or the bike trails.”
Superior Hiking Trail
This 310-mile famous trail has many access points in the city of Duluth, and UMD is positioned by many of them.
Some of these access points can be found at Chester Park, Hartley Nature Center, Bagley Nature Area and by the Super One located at Kenwood Shopping Center.
“I hike through the Superior Hiking Trail up by the Super One all the time,” Lila said.
Another UMD junior Brayden Tripp, also enjoys hiking this famous trail.
“I love the Superior Hiking Trail though I haven’t done a lot of it,” Tripp said.
Another favorite of Tripp’s is an area in Duluth, but not as close to campus as the previous on the list.
“I would say Ely’s Peak is a big favorite of mine with some great views, fun climbing and a pretty spicy hike for being that close to town,” Tripp continued.
Whether your interest is hiking, biking, climbing, skiing, camping or kayaking there is a park for you.