5 Adult-Friendly Reasons to Visit Spirit Mountain This Summer

Scenic chair lift at Spirit Mountain in Duluth MN with a view of St Louis Bay and Lake Superior.

I had driven past Spirit Mountain dozens of times, incorrectly assuming it was just for cold weather and family-friendly fun. Finally, I decided to stop on a warm summer day and was surprised to discover their adult-friendly summer things to do!

This popular skiing destination transforms itself in the summer making it a year-round destination for outdoor lovers and adventurers. Whether you add it to your Duluth itinerary or make it your destination, check out these Spirit Mountain summer activities made for adults!

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Where is Spirit Mountain?

Spirit Mountain is located about 2 hours north of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul, on the south end of Duluth, and is easily accessible from Interstate 35W. 

Map showing Spirit Mountain on the south end of Duluth along the Saint Louis Bay in Minnesota.
Spirit Mountain is located in Duluth, just south of the city center near Proctor.

Places to Stay Near Spirit Mountain

There are loads of places to stay nearby in Duluth, but if you’re looking for something closer to the park and away from the city here are a few options. 

Spirit Mountain Campground

You can’t get much closer than camping at Spirit Mountain! Located just across from the Spirit Mountain Adventure Park, the campground has convenient access to all the fun and activities. Plus, enjoy views of Lake Superior, St Louis Bay and even the Aerial Lift Bridge in nearby Canal Park just steps away.

Spirit Mountain Campground has over 70 campsites with electrical hookups in addition to walk-in tent camping sites. Walk-in campsites fill up quickly in the summer so book early or plan to come mid-week for the best odds of getting one!

// Check availability at Spirit Mountain Campground now!

Best Western Plus Spirit Mountain Duluth 

Located just 1 mile from Spirit Mountain, this Best Western Plus is a great option to be close to the action. The hotel has an indoor pool and fitness center plus free wifi and a hot breakfast. 

// Check availability and prices at Best Western Plus Spirit Mountain now!

Willard Munger Inn 

The Willard Munger Inn is a bit more rustic than the Best Western but it has some pretty awesome perks! The inn is located just steps away from the paved Willard Munger Trail, a popular biking trail that is over 70 miles long. During your visit get free access to a bike rental so you can explore as much as you’d like and even bike the 1.2 miles over to Spirit Mountain.

Another perk is free Lake Superior Zoo passes, which is just a 5 minute walk away. Each room at Willard Munger Inn comes with a patio area and access to a grill giving it complete Minnesota cabin vibes.

// Check availability and prices at Willard Munger Inn now!

5 Reasons Spirit Mountain is an Adult-Friendly Summer Destination

Spirit Mountain is a family-friendly skiing and outdoor adventure destination, but that doesn’t mean it’s not for adults! Here are six reasons Spirit Mountain is fun for adventurers of all ages in any season.

1 | Hike a section of the Superior Hiking Trail.

The Superior Hiking Trail trailhead from the Grand Avenue Chalet at Spirit Mountain is accessible from the parking area near the chair lift.
The Superior Hiking Trail trailhead at the Grand Ave Chalet is at the bottom of the chair lift and well-marked.

Spirit Mountain is home to a section of the 300+ mile Superior Hiking Trail. There are two trailheads, which can be found near the top at Skyline Parkway (Main Chalet Parking Lot A) and the other at the bottom near the Grand Ave Chalet (8551 Grand Ave, Duluth).

The Grand Ave section is at lower elevation and closest to St Louis Bay. The Skyline Parkway section is at higher elevation and offers views of St Louis Bay and Lake Superior from above. You can hike between the two trailheads if you want a taste of both!

Pro Tip: Use Spirit Mountain Parking Lot D as a backup option for the trailhead at Skyline Parkway. Keep in mind, there is no overnight parking allowed.

2 | Catch a ride on the scenic chair lift.

My feet stretched out in front of me while riding the scenic chair lift at Spirit Mountain in Duluth. The St Louis Bay is in front of me and green forest is on either side.
Enjoy a leisurely ride on the scenic chair lift, but be aware you will not be strapped in or secured while riding it.

The chair lift at Spirit Mountain isn’t just for wintertime. Grab a ticket and take a ride on the scenic chair lift for incredible views of Duluth and Lake Superior even in the warmer months!

Pro Tip: Purchase tickets at the Spirit Mountain Adventure Park, which is a short walk from the  top of the chair lift, or the Grand Ave Chalet, which is at the bottom of the chair lift. 

Be sure to watch for mountain bikers catching a ride back up the chair lift with their bikes in tow. Read below for more info on Spirit Mountain mountain biking!

3 | Enjoy a thrilling day of gravity fed mountain biking.

A mountain bike is clipped onto the back of a chair lift at Spirit Mountain Duluth.
Enjoy downhill mountain biking all day at Spirit Mountain, where the chair lift is designed to carry your bike back up the mountain!

Everyone knows that the worst part of mountain biking are the inclines, right? Well, Spirit Mountain has solved that by offering nationally acclaimed mountain biking trails that are gravity fed. This means, you can get your kicks riding down the trails and catch the chair lift back up. 

Bike rentals are available at the Grand Ave Chalet. Helmets are required to bike at Spirit Mountain and are included with rentals.

There are trails for all skill levels, check out the Spirit Mountain mountain biking trail map here!

4 | Sip a beer and enjoy the view at Grand Ave Chalet. 

The Grand Ave Chalet has an assortment of local brews, non-alcoholic beverages and food. Take a break between adventures and enjoy the view of the St Louis Bay and mountain bikers hurtling down the mountain. 

5 | Take a ride on the Timber Twister.

View from inside the Timber Twister alpine coaster shows my feet resting in front of me and a long wooden and metal track extending up in front of me as I get towed back up to the top.
After rocketing down the Timber Twister alpine coaster, enjoy a leisurely tow through the forest and back up the mountain!

Do you like to go fast? If so, don’t miss the Timber Twister alpine coaster! Speed down the alpine coaster at up to 26 mph as it weaves along a 3200 foot track through the forest. This coaster is gravity fed with handbrakes to control your speed.

Once you reach the bottom, take a deep breath and relax as you get towed back up the mountain! 

If one ride isn’t enough, buy a multi-ride or day pass so you can ride as many times as you like.

Pro Tip: Purchase tickets for the Timber Twister at the Spirit Mountain Adventure Park. Here you will also find miniature golf, zipline and more!

A Spirit Mountain sign on Skyline Parkway shows which direction to the Skyline Chalet and the Adventure Park.
Spirit Mountain has several locations and parking areas. Watch for signs like this one on Skyline Parkway to get to your destination!

Don’t miss out on the Spirit Mountain summer fun!

After living in Minnesota for over a decade, I had always thought Spirit Mountain was a winter and family-focused destination. I was so wrong! I had a great time exploring Spirit Mountain, Duluth and nearby Proctor which is home to some amazing hiking trails.

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: Spirit Mountain, Duluth - 5 Adult-Friendly Reasons to Visit This Summer; Image: My feet stretched out while riding the chair lift at Spirit Mountain in Duluth MN with a view of Lake Superior.

11 thoughts on “5 Adult-Friendly Reasons to Visit Spirit Mountain This Summer

  1. Josy A says:

    Squeee! I think I love ski hills just as much in summer as winter – even more so if they transform into hiking/biking wonderlands. That alpine roller coaster sounds like s much fun!

  2. simplyjolayne says:

    I bet this looks pretty awesome in the Fall. It reminds me of Winter Park in Colorado which you expect to be a great place for the winter and snow season, but they have a lot of fun activities that make use of the chair lift too. Looks like a fun day.

  3. Ashlee Fechino says:

    Spirit Mountain looks so fun. We’d love taking a chair lift to see the amazing views. The Timber Twister looks so fun! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Megan says:

    I use to think that about ski resorts too, but I’ve found they are SO fun in summer! Looks like some great views from the chair lift!

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