Recreational Programming

Hartley Nature Center offers recreational programming for adults throughout the year. These programs can range from introductory lessons for recreational activities (ski lessons, bike lessons), to small weekly social events (group bike rides, group ski events), and large seasonal community events (Candlelight Ski, Global Fat Bike Day, Trails Fest). Below you will find descriptions of our recreational programming for the current season. We will update this page as new events or programs are added, or when a new seasons begins.

Summer Recreation Programming (June 2023-August 2023)

The 2023 summer recreation season kicks off in early June. Thankfully a dry spring has allowed us to use the trails earlier than usual, and we’ve already had some fantastic hiking and biking. While spring trail closures meant a lot of indoor events in April and May, summer means shifting our focus back out onto the trails. Join us for these events and more, and help us have the best summer yet!

Seasonal Trail Opening Celebration and Film  – Friday, June 2nd

Join Hartley Nature Center and our friends at COGGS and Continental Ski & Bike for a free screening of the short bikepacking film “Roll With It”, by Blackburn Media, and help us celebrate the seasonal opening of trails in Hartley Park with a film, social group ride, light refreshments, and giveaways. Help us kick off the bike season with this fun event!
Social Ride will start at 6pm at the main parking lot. We will ride the guardrail loop and finish at HNC for the film screening at 7pm.

Weekly Social Group Bike Ride – Thursdays, June 15th-August 24th- 7pm


Beginning on Thursday, June 15th HNC’s weekly ride returns to Hartley. Join us each week at 7pm for a social bike ride on the Hartley (and nearby) trails. Ride length will vary each week, but the pace will generally be relaxed as this is a social ride. All skill levels welcome, and new riders are encouraged to join.


Much more to come! Stay tuned on our webpage and social media for more information. We have a lot of fun planned for this summer.


Spring Recreation Programming (April 2023-May 2023)

Spring in Duluth can be a very challenging time for recreational programming. In early spring (April/May) the weather is inconsistent and the trails are generally wet and muddy leading to trail closures or poor hiking and biking conditions. However, that doesn’t mean we need to stop having fun around here. For the spring months HNC is bringing some of our recreation events indoors or blending it with elements of environmental education/conservation. Read below to find out more information about the fun activities happening in April, May, and June.

 “Living the Change” Earth Day Film Screening

Saturday, April 22nd – 7:00 PM

Living the Change is a documentary film that looks into how we as individuals and communities can be a part of the solution to create a more sustainable future. Based in New Zealand, the film follows several individuals and communities as they talk about ways they have changed their own lives in an effort to live in a more sustainable way. Even though the people may be far away, many of the solutions could be applied locally. This film is rated PG, but does contain language that may be offensive to some.

Citizen Science Training – Vernal Pools

Thursday, April 27th 6-8 PM

Sunday, April 30th 2-4 PM

Vernal pools are small seasonal wetlands that provide critical habitat for many amphibians, insects, migratory birds, and the endemic fairy shrimp. Because of their small and temporary nature, vernal pools are easily overlooked. It’s critical that these pools are protected, but that can be challenging to do if an inventory of pools does not exist. That’s where you can help. Hartley Nature Center is recruiting volunteer citizen scientists to help map vernal pools in Hartley Park. Volunteers are required to attend a classroom and in-field training session, where they will learn everything they need to accurately identify and map vernal pools in the park. Once trained, volunteers will be assigned to areas of the park that have been identified as having potential vernal pools, and will collect data at these locations that will help determine if and where a pool exists.

MAEE BioBlitz

Saturday, May 6th – 10:00 AM

The Minnesota Association for Environmental Educators is hosting a day of community conservation at Hartley Nature Center. The event, Great Lakes Bioblitz, is an event which pairs community members and naturalists to find and record as many plant and animal species as possible in a specific area, in a set amount of time. Join MAEE and HNC for coffee and cookies, visit learning stations about birds, vernal pools, and trees, and go outside to make observations of living wild things as part of the event.

The Great Lakes Bioblitz at HNC is part of a month-long Great Lakes Bioblitz project on iNaturalist. Participants can join the project on iNaturalist and make observations anywhere in the state of Minnesota from April 22nd to May 20th. More information at

“Hike the Divide” Film Screening

Friday, May 19th – 7:00 PM

Join Hartley Nature Center for a film screening of “Hike the Divide – A Conversation About Climate Action on the Continental Divide Trail”. Come see the film about Connor DeVane’s backpacking trip on the Continental Divide Trail, and hear the stories from people Connor met along the way, who are working towards a more livable future. Free registration by clicking “going” on our Facebook event page. Light refreshments will be provided.

Wildflower Hike

Tuesday, May 23rd – 6:00 PM

 Wildflower walk with a Hartley naturalist. Participants will enjoy an evening stroll through the park to see what’s blooming this time of year, and learn how to identify the plants that live in Hartley Park. No registration required.


Winter Recreation Programming (December 2022-January 2023)

Introduction to Cross Country Skiing (classic skiing only)

Tuesday, February 21st / Saturday, March 18th / Wednesday, March 22nd – 10am-12pm (note, each one is an individual session)

Have you ever wanted to try classic cross country skiing, but don’t know where to start? Hartley Nature Center is hosting two introduction to classic cross country skiing sessions this winter season. Designed with the novice in mind, participants will spend time getting familiar with the equipment, safety considerations & etiquette of skiing, before learning the basic skills needed to get you out on the trails. These lessons will consist of some classroom instruction, on-snow (on & off ski) training, and time on the ski trails. Participants must be at least 12 years old (minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian) and should feel comfortable spending extended periods of time exercising outside in potentially inclement weather. Registration costs $15/members of Hartley Nature Center, and $25/non-members. The price includes ski rental and lesson, but does not include the Great Minnesota Ski Pass, which is required to ski the trails of Hartley Park. Please note, these are individual sessions of the same one-day class.

Register by using the links below

Saturday, March 18th

Wednesday, March 22nd

Fat Tire Tuesday (January-March)


6:00 pm

Join us every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month (beginning January 10th) for a social fat tire bike ride through Hartley Park. These rides will be short to moderate rides on beginner and intermediate trails through Hartley Park. Bikers need to bring their own bikes, helmets, and lights. Participants must be at least 12 years old (minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian). Rides will be weather dependent.

Thursday Sip & Ski (January-March)


10:00 am

Join Hartley staff members every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the Month (beginning January 19th) for a social ski on the Hartley Trails followed by hot cocoa in the exhibit hall in Hartley Nature Center. These social skis will be a slow to moderate pace on beginner and intermediate trails. Participants must be at least 12 years old (minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian). A limited number of skis are available for rent on a first come first serve basis for those that need equipment. Ski days will be weather dependent. All participants must have a valid Greater Minnesota Ski Pass to ski on Hartley Trails (not sold on-site).

Please visit our Facebook page here for more information and event details.