Hiking in Minnesota: Brewer Park Loop Trail in Duluth

Best Hikes Near Duluth - Brewer Park Loop Trail

Duluth is the gateway to the north shore of Lake Superior and an awesome town for a weekend getaway in Minnesota. The Brewer Park Loop Trail is one of the best hikes near Duluth, offering awesome views of the city skyline and Lake Superior from above.

This 3 mile hiking trail follows a portion of the 300+ mile Superior Hiking Trail. It winds through aspen and maple forests, with a mix of steep and flat sections. 

Add this to your list of must-see hiking trails in Duluth Minnesota!

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Where is the Brewer Park Loop Trail?

Brewer Park Loop Trail is just southwest of Duluth between Duluth and the town of Proctor. The trailhead is located near the free parking lot at the Brewer Park Mountain Bike Trailhead on Haines Road. 

Brewer Park Loop Trail Basics

  • Distance: 3.3 miles 
  • Elevation Gain: 472 feet
  • Elevation Loss: Approximately the same as gain
  • Maximum Elevation: 1299 feet
  • Trailhead Start: Brewer Park Mountain Bike Trailhead on Haines Road
  • Trailhead End: same as start
  • Difficulty: Moderate (steep uphill and downhill, uneven footpath, sun exposure)
  • Recommended Start Time: Anytime!
  • Time on the Trail: 1.5 hours
  • Facilities: No bathroom along the trail or at trailhead parking lots
  • Gear Needed: Day hiking essentials

Getting To/From the Brewer Park Loop Trailhead

From the parking lot at the Brewer Park Mountain Bike Trailhead on Haines Road, the trailhead is a short walk. If you face the street, follow the sidewalk to the right. After a short walk along the road, there is a gravel path to the right. Follow the gravel path downhill towards the tunnel labeled Superior Hiking Trail.

A gravel path leads downhill to a tunnel labeled 'Superior Hiking Trail', which is the entrance to the Brewer Park Loop Trail in Duluth.
From Haines Road, follow the gravel path down towards the Superior Hiking Trail tunnel which gives access to the Brewer Park Loop Trail.

After walking through the tunnel, the trail splits. Follow the signs to the left for the Brewer Park Loop Trail. 

Pro Tip: The Brewer Park Loop follows the main Superior Hiking Trail (marked by blue blazes) and the remainder is on a Superior Hiking Trail spur trail (marked by white blazes). This trail criss-crosses with mountain biking trails. The trail crossings are well marked but watch for the blue and white blazes along the trail to be sure you are on the hiking trail!

Brewer Park Loop Trail Highlights

Once you’ve passed the tunnel and walked across the small bridge over Merritt Creek, the trail starts out with a relatively steep incline.  At the top of the incline is where the ‘loop’ begins. So, you can choose to either go left or right as you’ll come back to this same spot  at the end.

A rocky hiking trail through a forest is marked with a blue blaze, indicating it is part of the main Superior Hiking Trail.
The Brewer Park Loop Trail starts with a steep incline and uneven terrain. This part of the trail is marked with blue blazes on the trees, meaning it is part of the main Superior Hiking Trail.

To the left are great views of Duluth and Lake Superior and to the right are beautiful stretches of forest and some prairie. I couldn’t wait to see the views of Duluth so I went to the left!

After a short section through the forest, you reach the first viewpoint. There are several lookout points with awesome views, so be sure to take your time and enjoy them! Watch for views of the St Louis River, Lake Superior and even the lift bridge in Duluth’s Canal Park.

This section has little shade, so be sure to have sun protection on and plenty of water.

Top: Peekaboo view of the Richard Bong Memorial Bridge which connects Duluth to Wisconsin over the St Louis River. Bottom Left: A view of the Duluth lift bridge and Lake Superior over my shoulder from Brewer Park Loop Trail. Bottom Right: The John Blatnik Memorial Bridge as seen from the Brewer Park Loop Trail.
Top: Peekaboo view of the Richard Bong Memorial Bridge (Hwy 2) connecting Minnesota and Wisconsin. Bottom left: The Duluth skyline and liftbridge over my shoulder. Bottom Right: View of John Blatnik Memorial Bridge, also connecting Minnesota and Wisconsin.

As the trail turns away back away from Duluth and back into the forest, you’ll begin a long, steady incline. Along this incline, at about 1.8 miles into the hike, is an intersection where the main Superior Hiking Trail continues and the spur trail is off to the right. This is where you join the spur trail, marked by white blazes instead of blue blazes.

Follow along on the trail using the AllTrails app or watch for this sign where the trail splits. 

A Superior Hiking Trail symbol and sign are posted on a tree along the Brewer Park Loop Trail where the trail splits into the main SHT and the spur (loop) trail which takes you back to the parking area.
The Brewer Park Loop Trail follows the main Superior Hiking Trail for a bit before splitting off into a spur trail. Watch for this sign to catch the loop (spur) trail back.

The trail weaves through forest of aspen and maple before bringing you back to where you started the loop. This section is well shaded.

Descend back down to the entrance of the tunnel, walk through it and back to the parking lot.

Brewer Park Loop Trail Tips

This trail is on uneven terrain, including large tree roots and rocks. Almost the entire Superior Hiking Trail is similar. Watch your step and consider using hiking poles if you are concerned about being unstable. 

Pro Tip: Visit the Superior Hiking Trial Association website for detailed information about trail conditions and to purchase maps. Check out my 5-day packing list for backpacking the SHT.

Be prepared for some decent elevation change, with a few notable steep sections mixed in with longer, flat sections. 

The easternmost section of the trail has great views of Duluth and the St Louis River, but has little shade.

Brewer Park has both mountain biking and hiking trails, which occasionally intersect. The intersections are well-marked with signs as shown below. On the left is the mountain biking trail post with the name of the MTB route. On the right is a blue sign that reads ‘FOOT TRAFFIC ONLY’ followed by the blue or white blaze (depending on what section of the trail you are on).

A trail intersection at Brewer Park is marked for a mountain biking trail on the right and hiking trail on the right. Intersections are well-marked on all sides.

Brewer Park Loop Trail Safety

Even on shorter hikes, it’s a good idea to bring these day hiking essentials with you! 

Specific risks on this trail include sun exposure, uneven hiking terrain, and dehydration. Black bears are unlikely but have been seen in the area. Make noise while you hike, especially around blind corners. Here’s more on bear safety tips for hikers!

Because Brewer Park is mixed use for hiking and mountain biking, be aware of your surroundings and pay close attention to signs. The intersections are well-marked. Avoid wearing earphones so you can hear if there are bikers (or bears) nearby!

Brewer Park Loop Trail is one of the best hikes in Duluth!

This 3.3 mile loop offers a taste of the Superior Hiking Trail with awesome views of Duluth and Lake Superior. The Brewer Park Loop Trail is one of the must-visit hiking trails in Duluth!

Related content to read next:

Hiking in Minnesota: Ely’s Peak Loop Trail

What to Wear for Hiking in Summer: A Prepared Girl’s Guide

Minnesota Hiking Guides: 15 Books About Hiking in Minnesota

Check out my Minnesota travel page for even more inspiration and tips!

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Text: Brewer Park Loop Trail: One of the best hikes in Duluth MN
Image: A steep rocky hiking trail stretches ahead in a lush green forest in Brewer Park, near Duluth Minnesota.

5 thoughts on “Hiking in Minnesota: Brewer Park Loop Trail in Duluth

  1. Yanitza says:

    This looks like a really good 3-mile hike! I love the fact that it has uneven terrain in some parts, making it a bit more of a challenge. I also love the view!

  2. Josy A says:

    Brewer Park Loop looks lovely on hot days when you can hide in the shade of the beautiful forest. Have you ever visited during the fall? i have a feeling that peekaboo view will be amazing when the leaves start to change colour!

    • This Big Wild World says:

      You’re right! I bet this view is incredible in the fall. I’ll have to go back during the fall colors to check it out sometime!

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