12 Parks in Duluth, Minnesota

Last Updated on March 8, 2024 by Emily Johnson


Duluth, Minnesota is a beautiful city situated on the shores of Lake Superior and the St. Louis River. With its scenic location and abundance of green spaces, Duluth has no shortage of spectacular parks for residents and visitors to enjoy. From sprawling nature preserves with miles of wooded trails, to community parks dotted with playgrounds, to scenic outlooks with panoramic views of the lake, Duluth’s parks offer something for everyone.

Park NameFeatures
Chester ParkSports fields, playgrounds, walking paths
Lester ParkHiking trails, picnic grounds, fishing pier
Leif Erickson ParkScenic views, playground, volleyball courts
Hartley ParkCross country skiing, mountain biking, trails
Brighton Beach ParkBeach, kayaking, picnic facilities
Enger ParkPanoramic views, Enger Tower, gardens
Lake Superior ZooWildlife exhibits, interactive experiences
Lincoln ParkTrails, creek, fishing, playgrounds
Magney-Snively ParkWilderness area, hiking trails, campsites
Bayfront Festival ParkAmphitheater, playground, events
Chambers Grove ParkArboretum, walking paths, picnic facilities
Piedmont Trail SystemTrail running, mountain biking, scenic views

In this article, we will highlight 12 of the best parks in Duluth and all the amenities and attractions they have to offer. We will provide an overview of each park, detailing their size, location, recreational facilities, and any special features that make them worth visiting. Whether you’re a family looking for places to take the kids, an outdoor enthusiast hoping to explore Duluth’s many trails, or simply someone who wants to enjoy Duluth’s beautiful open spaces, you’ll discover 12 can’t-miss parks in this guide.

1.Chester Park

Name and Location: Chester Park, located in the heart of Duluth, Minnesota.

History and Significance: Chester Park was established in the early 1900s and has been a beloved green space for the Duluth community for over a century. The park is named after Charles Chester, a prominent Duluth businessman who donated the land to the city.

What to Expect: Visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking and biking trails, picnic areas, and a playground. The park also features a scenic creek and beautiful views of the surrounding hillsides.

Visitor Information: Chester Park is open year-round, with hours varying slightly depending on the season. The park is free to visit and offers ample parking. Restroom facilities and drinking water are available on-site.


Covering 132 acres just north of downtown Duluth, Chester Park is one of the most popular and easily accessible parks in the city. Families flock to Chester for its wealth of amenities, including several sports fields, numerous playground areas, walking paths, and access to Cross City Trail, which heads east for several miles along the lakefront.

The recreation area offers something for everyone – kids will love the rocket ship playground structure, while adults can enjoy lawn bowling, tennis, volleyball, or disc golf at the park’s well-maintained facilities. Several picnic shelters are available to host gatherings as well.

With lovely natural scenery and views of the St. Louis River, Chester Park is a prime spot to walk Fido or simply relax in an open green space just minutes from the heart of Duluth.

2.Lester Park

Name and Location: Lester Park, located in the eastern part of Duluth, Minnesota.

History and Significance: Lester Park was established in the early 1900s and has been a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts ever since. The park is named after the nearby Lester River, which flows through the park and into Lake Superior.

What to Expect: Visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking and cross-country skiing trails, picnic areas, and a playground. The park also features stunning views of the Lester River and Lake Superior.

Visitor Information: Lester Park is open year-round, with hours varying slightly depending on the season. The park is free to visit and offers ample parking. Restroom facilities and drinking water are available on-site.


Situated along the Vermilion River just upstream from Lake Superior, Lester Park encompasses 488 acres of diverse landscapes, making it one of Duluth’s most scenic and popular parks.

The park’s peaceful surroundings include hills, valleys, mature forest, and open meadows, which visitors can explore on over 5 miles of hiking trails that wind through the park. For spectacular panoramas, head to the park’s observation tower – standing 60ft over the river gorge, it offers unbeatable vistas of the river valley and surrounding fall foliage.

Other amenities at Lester Park include playground equipment, picnic grounds, access to mountain bike trails, a handicap-accessible fishing pier, and Amity Creek, perfect for skipping stones. With its abundance of natural beauty and attractions, Lester Park provides easy access to Duluth’s gorgeous surroundings.

3.Leif Erickson Park

Name and Location: Leif Erickson Park, located along the Lake Superior shoreline in Duluth, Minnesota.

History and Significance: Leif Erickson Park was established in the 1920s and is named after the famous Norse explorer who is believed to have visited the area around 1000 AD. The park features a iconic statue of Leif Erickson, which was donated by the Norwegian-American community in 1956.

What to Expect: Visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including walking and biking trails, picnic areas, and a beach. The park also features stunning views of Lake Superior and the Duluth harbor.

Visitor Information: Leif Erickson Park is open year-round, with hours varying slightly depending on the season. The park is free to visit and offers ample parking. Restroom facilities and drinking water are available on-site.


Sitting beneath the iconic Aerial Lift Bridge, Leif Erickson Park offers 12 acres of green space in the heart of Duluth’s vibrant Canal Park district. Named after Duluth’s notorious Viking explorer settler, the scenic park runs along the shore of Lake Superior and offers top-notch views of the ships gliding beneath the bridge.

Visitors can take in the sights on the boardwalk, on one of several park benches, or at a front-row picnic table. Kids can burn off some energy at the playground facilities while adults play a game on the volleyball courts.

The Rose Garden encircles a grassy open area popular for throwing Frisbees and laying in the sun. Walking paths wind through the park’s trees and foliage, eventually leading to a stairway down to the Lakewalk trail which hugs the shoreline for several stunning miles. With its ideal location, abundance of activities, and picture-perfect setting overlooking the lake, Leif Erickson Park is a Duluth jewel.

4.Hartley Park

Name and Location: Hartley Park, located in the northern part of Duluth, Minnesota.

History and Significance: Hartley Park was established in the 1920s and has been a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts ever since. The park is named after Guilford Hartley, a prominent Duluth businessman who donated the land to the city.

What to Expect: Visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking and mountain biking trails, picnic areas, and a nature center. The park also features a scenic pond and beautiful views of the surrounding hillsides.

Visitor Information: Hartley Park is open year-round, with hours varying slightly depending on the season. The park is free to visit and offers ample parking. Restroom facilities and drinking water are available on-site.


Boasting 400 acres just northwest of downtown Duluth, Hartley Park is best known as the city’s premier cross country skiing destination. Over 19 miles of trails cater to Nordic skiers during winter months, winding through peaceful forests and across hills that offer gorgeous views.

An adults-only chalet offers warm respite and equipment rentals after logging miles on the scenic trails. During warmer seasons, Hartley Park transforms into a prime spot for mountain bikers and trail runners, who flock to its winding single-track paths and wooded terrain.

The park also features a playground, picnic facilities, access to Amity Creek, and connections to an extensive trail network beyond its borders. With entrances located in both Lincoln Park and Hunters Park neighborhoods, Hartley Park provides a convenient natural getaway minutes from downtown.

5.Brighton Beach Park

Name and Location: Brighton Beach Park, located along the Lake Superior shoreline in Duluth, Minnesota.

History and Significance: Brighton Beach Park has been a popular destination for beachgoers and outdoor enthusiasts for many years. The park is known for its unique volcanic rock formations and stunning views of Lake Superior.

What to Expect: Visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including swimming, sunbathing, and rock hunting. The park also features picnic areas and a walking trail along the shoreline.

Visitor Information: Brighton Beach Park is open year-round, with hours varying slightly depending on the season. The park is free to visit and offers ample parking. Restroom facilities and drinking water are available on-site.


Nestled in a quiet residential neighborhood along the St. Louis River, Brighton Beach Park offers 29 acres of recreational facilities in a peaceful, scenic setting. Its biggest draw is the stretch of sand beach along the river, offering swimming, sunbathing, and unmatched views across to Spirit Island.

Playground equipment keeps kids entertained for hours, while picnic shelters, grills, and tables facilitate full days relaxing at the park. Visitors can launch kayaks and canoes straight into the river from the boat landing and spend the day paddling in the calm water.

Trails wind through stretches of forest and connect to an extensive trail network just behind Brighton Beach. And during winter months, the park converts into a prime destination for snowshoeing on miles of scenic, groomed trails. With its spectacular riverfront location and wealth of year-round recreation options, Brighton Beach Park has something for everyone.

6.Enger Park

Name and Location: Enger Park, located on a hilltop overlooking Duluth, Minnesota.

History and Significance: Enger Park was established in the 1920s and is named after Bert Enger, a prominent Duluth businessman who donated the land to the city. The park features an iconic stone tower, which was built in 1939 and offers panoramic views of the city and Lake Superior.

What to Expect: Visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including walking trails, picnic areas, and a Japanese peace garden. The park also features stunning views of Duluth and Lake Superior from the stone tower.

Visitor Information: Enger Park is open year-round, with hours varying slightly depending on the season. The park is free to visit and offers ample parking. Restroom facilities and drinking water are available on-site.


Boasting panoramic views high over Duluth’s harbor and Lake Superior, Enger Park encompasses 80 acres of perched green space along the Skyline Parkway scenic drive. Most visitors flock to the park’s Enger Tower – built in 1939, its observation deck sits 450 feet over the lake and offers unmatched 360-degree views.

The stone tower also features a nature center, gift shop, and charming flower gardens at its base. Elsewhere in Enger Park, peaceful wooded trails follow the cliffs and rock outcroppings overlooking the lake and harbor, perfect for leisurely walks with stellar vistas.

Picnic tables populate grassy areas ideal for soaking in the magnificent views across town and out over the vast Lake Superior. And located right next door is the smaller yet equally scenic Enger Golf Course, offering an 18-hole course with jaw-dropping lake views from many of its holes. Perched high over Duluth with breathtaking panoramas around every turn, Enger Park is a prime destination for sightseeing.

7.Lake Superior Zoo

Name and Location: Lake Superior Zoo, located in Duluth, Minnesota.

History and Significance: The Lake Superior Zoo was established in 1923 and has been a beloved attraction for the Duluth community ever since. The zoo is home to a variety of animals from around the world and is dedicated to conservation and education.

What to Expect: Visitors can enjoy a variety of animal exhibits, including big cats, primates, and reptiles. The zoo also features a children’s zoo, a train ride, and a gift shop.

Visitor Information: The Lake Superior Zoo is open year-round, with hours varying slightly depending on the season. Admission fees apply, with discounts available for children, seniors, and military personnel. The zoo offers ample parking and is accessible by public transportation.


Just up the shore from Canal Park along Lake Superior, the Lake Superior Zoo sits on 14 acres filled with animals from around the world. Home to over 200 animals, the zoo lets visitors get up-close views of exotic species like Amur tigers, grey wolves, snow monkeys, bald eagles, and red pandas in naturalistic habitats.

The zoo’s newest exhibit is Bayfront Festival Park, featuring a splash pad, animal yards, and an amphitheater for special events. Other highlights include the frozen tundra area to see polar bears and arctic foxes, as well as the Sensory Safari zone specifically for children with special needs.

Interactive exhibits like the raptor enclosure allow kids to get within feet of owls and hawks. And special events like Boo at the Zoo and conservation programs happen year-round. Located right along the famed Lakewalk trail, the Lake Superior Zoo is a top-rated attraction perfect for families.

8.Lincoln Park

Name and Location: Lincoln Park, located in the western part of Duluth, Minnesota.

History and Significance: Lincoln Park was established in the early 1900s and has been a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts ever since. The park is named after Abraham Lincoln and features a statue of the former president.

What to Expect: Visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking and biking trails, picnic areas, and a playground. The park also features a scenic creek and beautiful views of the surrounding hillsides.

Visitor Information: Lincoln Park is open year-round, with hours varying slightly depending on the season. The park is free to visit and offers ample parking. Restroom facilities and drinking water are available on-site.


Spanning 140 acres of diverse landscapes, Lincoln Park encompasses rolling hills, flat meadows, mature forests, and meandering creeks on Duluth’s west side. Its peaceful surroundings make it a popular destination for running, walking, and exploring nature just minutes from the city’s center.

The park contains over 2.5 miles of trails that wind through the terrain and along Lincoln Creek – anglers flock to the creek for its surprisingly good trout fishing. For families, numerous playground areas and park shelters dot the meadows and hills, perfect for picnics and kid fun.

Lincoln Park also connects directly to the larger Hartley Park trail network, offering access to over 20 more miles of trail less than a mile away. Nature lovers delight in frequent wildlife sightings of deer, beavers, foxes, and countless songbirds throughout the park. With plentiful facilities, scenic nature, and miles of multi-use trails at its doorstep, Lincoln Park checks all the boxes.

9.Magney-Snively Park

Name and Location: Magney-Snively Park, located in the western part of Duluth, Minnesota.

History and Significance: Magney-Snively Park was established in the 1970s and is named after two prominent Duluth families who donated the land to the city. The park is known for its rugged terrain and stunning views of the St. Louis River and the surrounding hillsides.

What to Expect: Visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking and cross-country skiing trails, picnic areas, and a scenic overlook. The park also features a variety of native plant and animal species.

Visitor Information: Magney-Snively Park is open year-round, with hours varying slightly depending on the season. The park is free to visit and offers limited parking. Restroom facilities and drinking water are not available on-site.


Nestled among the rock outcroppings along the North Shore, two-part Magney-Snively Park protects over 1,400 acres of remote wilderness straddling the Temperance River. The park contains over 27 miles of trails that deliver hikers through dense boreal forest to secluded waterfalls, panoramic overlooks of Lake Superior, and the breathtaking gorges along the river itself.

Experienced hikers can access trailheads that connect to the famous Superior Hiking Trail, which runs for 300+ miles along the ridge overlooking lake. The park also contains secluded campsites available through permit reservation – accessible only by hiking or kayaking in.

Amenities include primitive toilets, picnic tables, kayak landings along the river, and access to world-class rock climbing. With its remote wilderness setting and wealth of outdoor recreation, Magney-Snively Park is a top destination for hikers, backpackers, climbers, and nature lovers hoping to immerse themselves in unspoiled North Shore landscape.

10.Bayfront Festival Park

Name and Location: Bayfront Festival Park, located along the Duluth harbor in Duluth, Minnesota.

History and Significance: Bayfront Festival Park was established in the 1980s and has been a popular destination for outdoor events and festivals ever since. The park features a large amphitheater and a variety of recreational facilities.

What to Expect: Visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including walking trails, picnic areas, and a playground. The park also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including concerts, festivals, and fireworks displays.

Visitor Information: Bayfront Festival Park is open year-round, with hours varying slightly depending on the season and event schedule. The park is free to visit, but some events may require admission fees. The park offers ample parking and is accessible by public transportation.


Jutting out into Lake Superior beneath the towering Aerial Lift Bridge, Bayfront Festival Park provides almost 50 acres of green space in the heart of Duluth’s trendy Canal Park neighborhood. Its centerpiece is a 8,000-person capacity amphitheater hosting major concerts and events during summer months, like the renowned Bayfront Blues Festival every August.

Kids love the playground modeled after the Lift Bridge, while adults take in sweeping views of the harbor and lake from the grassy grounds and walking paths. Other amenities include volleyball courts, open spaces perfect for Frisbee, and access to docks along the harbor.

Food and drink is available at the Park Tavern restaurant located right in the concert pavilion. Walkways connect to Lake Superior, the Lakewalk trail, and the rest of the Canal Park district, surrounded by shops, cafes, and local attractions. Whether taking in a summer concert or simply enjoying its scenic setting, Bayfront Festival Park is one of Duluth’s top destinations.

11.Chambers Grove Park

Name and Location: Chambers Grove Park, located along the St. Louis River in Duluth, Minnesota.

History and Significance: Chambers Grove Park was established in the 1930s and is named after the Chambers family, who were early settlers in the area. The park is known for its beautiful natural setting and recreational opportunities.

What to Expect: Visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking and biking trails, picnic areas, and a boat launch. The park also features a scenic overlook of the St. Louis River and the surrounding hillsides.

Visitor Information: Chambers Grove Park is open year-round, with hours varying slightly depending on the season. The park is free to visit and offers ample parking. Restroom facilities and drinking water are available on-site.


Northeast of downtown along Fish Creek Trail, Chambers Grove encompasses a secluded 61 acres of mature forest and open meadow along the designated trout stream. The centerpiece of the park is its arboretum, planted with over 50 species of trees and flowering plants, bursting with color during summer months.

The park’s namesake oak grove pops with fall foliage later in the year. Well-maintained walking paths wind through the landscape, hugging Fish Creek through the meadow before entering dense forest. Playground and picnic facilities cater to families looking for green space outside the bustling city, while access to Fish Creek Trail connects joggers and cyclists to miles of paved trail extending out of town.

And wildlife lovers delight in plentiful sightings of songbirds, painted turtles, weasels, foxes, and even the occasional deer among the park’s diverse habitats. With plenty of natural scenery packed into a small space with helpful amenities, Chambers Grove Park makes an ideal urban nature getaway.

12.Piedmont Trail System

Name and Location: Piedmont Trail System, located in the central part of Duluth, Minnesota.

History and Significance: The Piedmont Trail System was established in the 1990s and has been a popular destination for hiking and mountain biking ever since. The trail system is named after the Piedmont neighborhood in Duluth and features a variety of challenging terrain.

What to Expect: Visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking and mountain biking trails of varying difficulty levels. The trail system also features scenic overlooks of the surrounding hillsides and the Duluth skyline.

Visitor Information: The Piedmont Trail System is open year-round, with hours varying slightly depending on the season. The trail system is free to visit and offers limited parking at trailheads. Restroom facilities and drinking water are not available on-site. Visitors should come prepared with appropriate gear and supplies for their chosen activities.


Cherished by trail runners, mountain bikers, and skiers alike, Duluth’s Piedmont Trail System encompasses over 25 miles of scenic wooded paths weaving along the Greenwood Stream gorge northeast of town. The area features numerous access points and parking lots which facilitate epic adventures linking huge chunks of the continuous trail network.

Highlights include access to Skyline Parkway Lookout with panoramas of Lake Superior, miles of downhill mountain biking flow trails, challenging climbs to ridge-top views of Duluth, and the iconic Rock Knob lookout where visitors feel perched in the treetops with the entire city laid out below.

Cross-country skiers take to Piedmont’s peaceful terrain and lengthy trail system once snow falls each winter. Hugely popular yet rarely crowded, Piedmont Trail System is beloved by Duluth’s thriving outdoor community as one of the area’s top trail running and mountain biking destinations.

Conclusion


Duluth’s spectacular parks encompass diverse landscapes and facilitate enjoyment of the area’s natural splendor in all seasons for all visitors. Chester Park and Leif Erickson Park facilitate recreation and relaxation right in the heart of town.

Magney-Snively Park and Piedmont Trail System immerse outdoorsmen and adventurers in rugged Northwoods terrain with seemingly endless trail networks to explore. And scenic destinations like Enger Tower, Brighton Beach, and Hartley Park boast sought-after amenities with bonus jaw-dropping vistas.

With boundless green space hugging its harbors and waterways, Duluth sets itself apart as one of the Midwest’s most scenic, livable cities. Hopefully this guide provides a helpful overview of Duluth’s can’t-miss parks. So next time you’re visiting, make sure to spend plenty of time getting to know these 12 urban and natural gems!

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