The Piedmont trail system has 5.5 km of classical-style double-tracked trail for beginning, intermediate and advanced skiers. Aspen and birch dominate the rolling landscape, and several breathtaking views of the St. Louis River and City of Duluth are found atop rocky overlooks. In 1960, Jerry Nowak, an avid skier, first cut a small trail in the woods near his home. In 1965, Glen Nelson, then Proctor High School ski coach, learned of the nearby trail system, and in the fall, enlisted his athletes to assist with brushing and widening the trails. The following winter, a snowmobile was first used to groom trails for a track setter to follow.
One of the unique features of this ski trail system that exists today are the 45 wooden, hand-made, inspirational signs placed at strategic locations at the beginning of each ski season. As makers of the signs, Jerry and Glen thought that as one climbed a long hill, a bit of inspiration might coax an athlete to give a little more effort. In 1980, the City of Duluth, recognizing the value of the trail system in the Piedmont neighborhood, approached Jerry and Glen and suggested the City take over the maintenance and grooming of the trails. The Great Minnesota Ski Pass is required to use this trail.
The Superior Hiking Trail runs through the ski trail system. This foot-travel only hiking trail is a section of the national long distance trail, the North Country Trail, stretching from New York to North Dakota. In Duluth, this section of trail, from Jay Cooke State Park in the south to Hawk Ridge in the north, is maintained by the Superior Hiking Trail Association.
A local chapter of the International Mountain Bike Association, the Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores (COGGS), maintain about 12 kilometers of intermediate and advanced level singletrack trail. This system will eventually connect to their cross-city, beginner level single track trail call the Duluth Traverse.
Also located within this trail system is a snowmobile trail maintained by the Ridge Runners of Hermantown and Proctor. Other than snowmobiles, motorized use on any trail in the City of Duluth is not allowed. If you observe such activity, please call 911 and report what you observe.