Getting to a great North Shore hike can mean as much driving as hiking. It's a pretty good haul up the Onion River Road or all the way to Grand Portage for your outdoor experience.
Not so for hikers in Duluth. Just walk to the corner, hop on the Duluth Transit Authority bus, then ring the dinger for your trailhead bus stop.
From downtown Duluth, you can catch the #3 bus going west toward Proctor. 30 minutes and a few quarters for the bus fare later, and you're at the corner of Highland Street and Skyline Drive. It's a rugged nine mile hike on the Superior Hiking Trail along scenic Peace Ridge and past Enger Tower back to downtown.
Or hop on the #13 bus headed up Woodland and ride all the way to Hartley Nature Center, about a 25 minute trip. Then hike back to downtown via Hartley, UMD's Bagley Nature Area, Chester Creek and the Lakewalk, 4.5 miles all on the Superior Hiking Trail.
One more trip from downtown Duluth: you can take the #15 bus from downtown all the way to the Park Point Recreation Area. From there, you can either hike past the airport into the pine forest and the Superior Entry, or you can walk the gorgeous sand beach all the way back to Canal Park.
For more information on any of these hikes, check out my book:
Hiking the North Shore: 50 Fabulous Day Hikes in Minnesota's Spectacular Lake Superior Region (There & Back Guides)