When you’re thinking up ways to have fun as a family, hiking should top your list. Of course, you want to make sure the setting you choose is easy enough for the kids to enjoy, too, and that can feel like a challenge when you don’t know where to look.

That’s why Crème de la Crème of Sugarloaf compiled this list of trails around the Duluth area you’re sure to enjoy with the kids in tow. From trails with access to playgrounds to hikes that let the kids connect with nature as they walk, you’ll find tons of fun options right here in our own backyard.

Bunten Road Park Loop

A toddler walking down a park trail behind his family.

Image via Unsplash by ilumire

If you’re looking for an easy hike close to home, you can’t go wrong with Bunten Road Park Loop. You’ll find this 1.5-mile loop trail right in Bunten Park. It’s great for all hiking skill levels and lets your family explore a forest setting, not to mention a variety of activities along the way. You can take your dog with you as long as you keep the family pup on a leash. The trail is located in a suburban sports park that spans 45 acres.

The loop itself includes a half-mile soft surface nature trail as well as a paved multi-use circuit that runs for a mile, split about evenly into open and wooded segments. The open area circles around sports fields, while the wooded area makes use of a series of bridges over spring seeps and switchbacks over steep grades. 

The two segments of this trail come together, but you can use either area alone depending on the kind of walk you want, accessing the loop at various points throughout the multi-use circuit. The trail takes around 40 minutes to explore. Bunten Road Park is open until 8:15 p.m. Monday – Thursday, 7 p.m. on Friday, and 5 p.m. on the weekends.

Jones Bridge Trail

Located in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Jones Bridge Trail offers the perfect trail for a family day out enjoying nature. The 4.1-mile trail creates an easy day of hiking along a heavily trafficked loop, and it’s a great choice for hikers of any skill level. You can even take the family dog along for the walk as long as they stay on a leash.

This trail offers a great opportunity for walking, running, or even just taking in nature as you’ll find a picturesque river along the way. The scenery changes along with the seasons, so you’ll have plenty of reasons to stop by this nearby trail time and time again. There’s plenty of shade in the summer, too, making Jones Bridge Trail the ideal spot for outdoor fun for the whole family. The whole trail takes approximately one hour and 40 minutes to travel and is typically open every day from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.

McDaniel Farm Park Trail

McDaniel Farm Park Trail offers another kid-friendly hiking spot close to the Duluth area. This loop trail spans 2.3 miles and offers easy walking that is well-suited to all skills levels. Whether you’re here for walking, running, or hiking, make sure you take in the scenery along the way. Highlights include a historic farm and homestead as well as several serene streams.

This is another trail that allows dogs kept on leash, and you’ll have an easy time walking along the trail with a stroller. The area even boasts a farm-themed playground when the kids want to take a fun-filled break along the way. The full trail takes just over an hour to walk. The park is open from sunrise until sunset unless posted otherwise.

Medlock Bridge Trail

You’ll find another great trail in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area when you’re searching for a great place to hike around Duluth. Medlock Bridge Trail offers an easy hike or walk for the kiddos as well as hikers of all skill levels in a forest setting. The 1.3-mile loop trail also allows dogs as long as they’re kept on a leash.

You can’t go wrong with a visit to Medlock Bridge Trail for a peaceful day fishing or just watching the river. You’ll have beautiful views if you stick to the riverside, and you’ll have the option to climb up a hill as well. While slightly more difficult, that part of the trail connects hikers with a woodsy area. Overall, this trail takes just over a half hour to hike. Medlock Bridge Trail is usually open every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Pinckneyville Park and Baseball Complex Trail

If you want another shorter walk, check out Pinckneyville Park and Baseball Complex Trail, a 1.2-mile loop trail in Pinckneyville Park that’s open throughout the year. Great for hikers of all skill levels, this trail provides area families with opportunities for trail running, hiking, and walking. Want to bring the dog along with you? You can take your dog here too, as long as it stays on a leash. Pinckneyville Park is open from sunrise until 11 p.m. unless posted otherwise.

You’ll encounter plenty of interesting sights along the way while you traverse this trail. The trail is located in the park’s baseball and softball complex, winding around the perimeter of the complex and passing ball fields as well as picnic pavilions, a skate arena, and a dog park along the way. When you walk along the wooded area, you’ll follow the trail across a brook and up a steep hill, not to mention along a pond and beside a railroad. That’s sure to keep everyone in the family entertained for the duration of the half-hour walk!

Shorty Howell Park Loop

Head over to Shorty Howell Park for yet another easy, family-friendly hike ideal for all skill levels. This loop trail stretches 1.3 miles and offers a great spot for trail running, leisurely walks, and a day out enjoying nature. The open, relaxing area keeps things interesting with some changes in elevation as you go.

Kids will love heading over to the pond to try to spot turtles in the water. You can stick to a paved path while you’re walking or enjoy the wooded area as well. The walk will take you about a half-hour to complete. Shorty Howell Park is also open from sunrise until 11 p.m. unless posted otherwise.

That’s Crème de la Crème’s list of great places to hike with the kids around Duluth! We hope we’ve inspired you to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Did we miss a favorite hiking spot you love close to home? Drop us a line so we can check out your go-to kid-friendly hike!