|Distance||1 mile roundtrip|
|Terrain||A few hills|
|Best Seasons||Spring, Summer, Fall|
- Cool little waterfall
- Riverside views
I was on a work trip in Duluth, and the cloudy, wet, and generally miserable fall weather broke, revealing a beautiful, sunny autumn day perfect for viewing some changing leaves. Since I didn't have the time to drive further north, I blindly went to Lester Park. And what a pleasant surprise! Not only were the colors dazzling, I also unexpectedly found a waterfall on the Lester River. This city park is further evidence of Minnesota's fantastic devotion to nature and is definitely worth a stop whether you live in the area or are just visiting.
From the parking lot, cross the bridge over the Lester River and turn right immediately on the other side to follow the trail along the river. The trail winds through lovely forest with some surprisingly large trees (perhaps old growth?) -- there were a few white pines that I couldn't even wrap my arms around! Stay right to continue along the river at the trail intersection ahead. As you hike further upriver, you'll start to hear rushing water. Eventually it was loud enough that I excitedly realized there was a waterfall coming up. On the right side of the trail, you'll see some use trails leading to a high point with the downriver view pictured below and a view of the waterfall from above.
Dogs are allowed on leash. This is a fun city hike perfect for the whole family, and the area along the river is a great place for kids to do some rock hopping. You can hike this trail in the three warmer seasons, but in the winter the trail is groomed for skiing and off limits to hikers. Since this trail is in a city park, expect to see people no matter when you go.
From Downtown Duluth, head north on Interstate 35 and continue onto Minnesota Highway 61. Turn left on 60 Avenue, then turn right on Superior Street. Soon you'll see a sign for the park, then turn left to find the parking lot along County Road 12.
Google Maps Directions
Parking, Fees, and Facilities
Parking is free! There is a picnic area and playground nearby, though I'm not certain if or where there are bathrooms.