Spirit Mountain’s Adventure Park



Picture this: You’re sitting at the top of a mountain in basically a snow-sled-on-rails with only a hand brake and a seat belt to give you any sense of control before you go zig-zagging through the trees, wind in your face and a knot in your stomach…And then, you look up to see Lake Superior in the far, far distance and (better yet) there’s a kiddo sitting in your lap smiling and giggling and shouting, “Faster, mom! This is the coolest thing we’ve ever done together! Fasterrrrr!!!” So I finally let go of the brake and sat back to enjoy that crazy alpine coaster ride.

That was my experience at the Spirit Mountain Adventure Park in Duluth. That was the memory I will take home with me and remember forever. Our trip to the northwoods was filled with so much happy – I saw my kids in their glory in a place where adrenaline meets courage. And let’s be real for a second – the scenery is tough to beat. If you’re looking for a fun and unique outdoor adventure, I’d like to suggest heading to Duluth for a stay in their Villas, a day at their Adventure Park, and a dip in Lake Superior (if you dare).

What is it?
I went to college in Duluth and I can tell you that Spirit Mountain was a fantastic way to spend those loooong winters – downhill skiing, snowboarding, and tubing with friends. Now they even offer downhill fat tire biking trails (yes, I’m so old that fat tire bikes weren’t even a thing when I was in college). But Spirit really comes alive in the summers as well!

The Adventure Park is an entertaining place to spend a day up north with your family. Open seasonally from Memorial Day weekend until mid- to late-October, a day pass to the park will get you unlimited rides on the Timber Twister alpine coaster (wheeeee!), the treetop zip line, chairlift rides, endless bouncing on the giant jumping pillow, and round after round of mini and disc golf.  There are many scenic hiking trails and plenty of mountain biking trails for all skill levels as well.

Fit for what ages?
Obviously there needs to be age restrictions for the Adventure Park since it’s not all that conducive to little bodies. The alpine coaster and zip line are not for the faint of heart, so know your child’s level of adventure before throwing them on one of those rides, even if they fit the age and height requirements.

We brought a one-year old and he could literally do nothing. but he was pretty happy picking up sticks and throwing rocks and riding around in the backpack while eating treats from the concession stand. Just know that an adult will need to hang back with any underagers so make sure you have a good adult/kid balance to make the riding efficient and enjoyable. My friend Melinda tagged along so both big kids had either her, me or my husband to ride with and one of us could throw sticks with the baby (sarcastic yay!).

So here’s the breakdown:

For the Alpine Coaster, you must be at least 3 years old and 38 inches tall to ride with someone over the age of 16. The taller passenger must sit in the back with the shorter rider in front. To ride alone, you have to be 54 inches tall.

For the Zip Line, you must be at least 3 years old to ride, but if you’re under 8 or under 48 inches tall, you need to go with someone over the age of 16. To ride alone, you must be 48 inches tall and at least 8 years old. But, just like the coaster, this one is WAY more fun with a friend by your side!

To ride the Scenic Chairlift, you must be 3 years old and accompanied by an adult.

Have a 2 year old? They will have a blast on the massive jumping pillow (where the minimum age is 2). This is an awesome way to burn their energy, but just be careful if your tiny toddler is sharing the pillow with tons of bigger kids – you know the drill.

How much are we talkin’?
Prices for the Adventure Park for individual attractions range from $6-16 per ride for single or double riders. Multi-packs of tickets are available at a cheaper rate per ticket and the website does offer occasional deals, such as Wednesday BOGOs and evening discounts.

Plan on spending a good chunk of time at the Adventure Park? Want the most bang for your buck? If yes, the Day Pass is definitely the way to go! While the $44 wristband is a bigger expense up front, we got our monies worth within the first 15 minutes with six rides down the alpine coaster. And you can save a little if you purchase your day passes online more than 48 hours in advance of your arrival.

However, some quick numbers in case a day pass isn’t what you’re looking for:

  • If you just want to experience the Alpine Coaster once (because you really should experience it), single riders pay $11 and double riders will cost $16 for their one ride down the mountain.
  • If you want one lift down the scenic chairlift or one zip down the zipline, the rates are the same ($11/single; $16/double).
  • If you have a little one who is only interested in jumping on the inflatable pillow, that will cost you $11 for 30 minutes or $25 for an all-day pillow pass.
  • One round of 9-hole mini golf costs $6 a game.

At the Adventure Park, you could also spend cash on food and drink from the concession stand, disc rentals (for disc golf) or Spirit Mountain souvenirs (including action photos from the alpine coaster – $12.99 for a 5×7 or $9.95 for a keychain).

As far as accommodations go, our family stayed at the Mountain Villas right down Skyline Parkway atop Spirit Mountain. The views were beautiful and the villas were cute and absolutely unique. Villa rentals sell out quickly during peak months and range from $180-$240 per night. The Villas are available for rent year-round and vary in style and furnishings because they are privately- and individually-owned. Pets are allowed in certain Villas for a fee. 

Want some tips?
I have a huge soft spot in my heart for Duluth. I love almost everything about it – the views, the water, the hiking trails, the lift bridge, Black Woods (yes, the restaurant), and now that I have children, I’m super happy they have the Spirit Mountain Adventure Park. And just like I would suggest you order the Pasta Luca Brasi at Black Woods (for real, man. THE BEST!), I also have some tips for making the most of your family time at the Adventure Park and in Duluth in general.

At the Adventure Park

  1. Figure out your adult to child ratio to make sure your kiddos are old enough to either ride alone or they have an adult to go with them on the rides, OR are patient enough to wait their turn if there aren’t enough adults to go with all kids every time (especially true if you have a little one under 3).
  2. Wear tennis shoes. These are particularly important when you’re flying over the trees on the zip line or chillin’ in the chairlift with your legs a’danglin.
  3. When you arrive at the park, head into the small building just off the parking lot to pick up or pay for your tickets. Here, you can also pee, change a diaper, cool off in the A/C or grab a quick snack as well.
  4. Everything is very close together so no need to bust out the strollers or anything if you can prevent it and there’s lots of land to run. There’s no admission fee for the Adventure Park (tickets are sold by attraction) so spectators can sit on one of the many picnic tables to rest or munch on some grub.
  5. There is NO refund on tickets due to bad weather. The jumping pillow, chair lift and zip line shut down when it rains. The alpine coaster runs through rain or snow, but will shut down if there is lightning in the sky. We got caught in a downpour on our first ride down the mountain and it was A-MAZING. And cold. It was also very cold. 
  6. There are a number of rules for each attraction, especially the alpine coaster, so make sure whoever is driving is smart and aware of those rules. For example, you must stay 160 feet behind the cart ahead of you. Just make sure there is common sense.
  7. There can be long lines on weekends especially, but they go relatively quickly and the workers are efficient and helpful. We were there post-storm, so it wasn’t as busy immediately afterwards, but as the sun came out, so did the people.
  8. Mini golf was sort of unimpressive. We spent most of our time on the coaster and jumping on the pillow. The zip line took awhile to load, so we only went on that a couple times due to impatient children. And sadly, the chairlift was down that day due to rain, but I’m sure that would’ve been gorgeous and insanely relaxing!
  9. There is a restaurant at the bottom of the chair lift called Riverside Grill. We drove there because the chairlift was down due to weather and it took us a surprising 15 minutes to get there from the top of the mountain. But it was sweet with a fireplace and cafeteria-like tables and a kind bartender who makes a mean wild rice burger and pours a generous glass of vino.
  10. If I were a mountain biker, that would definitely be how I would’ve spent some of my time on Spirit Mountain. With well-groomed trails and a killer view, it just seems like it would be an incredible way to spend a day in outdoor Duluth. If your family has interest in mountain biking, know that there are rentals available at the chalet and that trail fees are only $29/person for all-day access. Spirit Mountain also has some cool looking summer camps for kids who are interested in mountain biking and outdoor adventures as well, so be sure to check those out if you’re local.

At the Mountain Villas

  1. Check-in time is 4pm. Check-out time is 11am. Quiet time goes from 11 pm to 8am.
  2. The Villas are furnished similarly to the furnishings in a hotel. Think coffee pots and coffee, beds and sheets and pillows, TVs, fireplaces, sunrooms, pots and pans and hair dryers to name a few. But do pack your own toiletries. These products were not included in the Fox Den (our Villa) and shampoo was sorely missed by my oily scalp. Lesson learned.
  3. The Villa office has board games and DVDs to rent when the office is open.
  4. Feel free to bring your own food and drink and utilize their nice kitchen and save money on going out. Although, I must say, Duluth has some fantabulous restaurants!
  5. Just down the street from the Villas are a couple of gas stations if there is anything you forgot or if you have any late-night Dorito cravings (true story).

In Duluth

Some of my must-see stops when visiting Duluth with the family include:

  • Enger Tower: See all of Duluth from this crazy high point on a hill. Kids love climbing the steps and I love walking through the Japanese garden.
  • Jay Cooke Park and Gooseberry Falls: If you have little ones, consider bringing a hiking backpack if you are interested in heading to these parks. They are Gorgeous with a capital G!
  • Brighton and Park Point Beaches: Both are enjoyable for kids to find unique stones and rocks to collect and bring home. And both allow for kiddos to wade in the icy cold waters of Lake Superior.
  • Canal Park: Who doesn’t love climbing rocks and walking the pier to the lighthouse. And if you walk far enough, you’ll end up at Portland Malt Shop. Oopsie daisy, how’d we get there? Ice cream for the win!
  • Children’s Museum, Lake Superior Zoo and Great Lakes Aquarium: These are just your classic kid-stops, but they’re there. So, yeah.
  • Betty’s Pies: Technically it’s far outside of Duluth, but I would drive hour for their coconut cream.

Hours and location
9500 Spirit Mountain Place |  Duluth, MN 55810

Spirit Mountain Adventure Park is open seasonally during warm weather months, from Memorial Day weekend until mid- to late-October. Their hours vary month-to-month (sometimes day-to-day), so be sure to check out their online calendar for the most up-to-date hours before booking your trip or purchasing your passes. Also note that the chairlift and Riverside Grill can have hours that vary from those of the Adventure Park so plan accordingly.

The Adventure Park and the Villas are right off Hwy 35W and West Skyline Parkway well before you actually enter the “city” of Duluth (you know, the part with Canal Park and seagulls and that lighthouse that is in every picture of Duluth ever taken in the history of the universe?).

Parking is not an issue at all. There’s a large, free gravel lot that is mere steps from the ticket office and all the adventures. If you stay at the Villas, you could probably easily walk to the Adventure Park (we chose to drive because we had a one-year old and also…well…we’re a little lazy).

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary stay at the Spirit Mountain Villas and passes to the Adventure Park in exchange for my time sharing this post. All thoughts are my own.

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  • Lisa bonow
    07/27/2017 at 1:49 pm

    scenic chairlift person!

  • Thania ortiz
    07/27/2017 at 1:50 pm

    B. A treetop zip line!

  • Kate H
    07/27/2017 at 1:53 pm

    C) alpine coaster all day and night!

  • Christy CHristopherson
    07/27/2017 at 1:53 pm

    Zipline or Alpine Slide but man I love a chair lift!

    Life is short, Zipline.

  • Dolores blanquet
    07/27/2017 at 2:02 pm

    Oh man! Probably an Alpine coaster!

  • Jessica brandt
    07/27/2017 at 2:02 pm

    C). That alpine coaster looks pretty sweet! I think my girls would love it!

  • Lauryn
    07/27/2017 at 2:05 pm

    I’d love to try that treetop zipline!

  • Stacey
    07/27/2017 at 2:11 pm

    C) alpine coaster all day all night person!!!!

    We bought a groupon for this and couldn’t make it before it expired. How awesome, thanks for the chance!

  • Joy White
    07/27/2017 at 2:14 pm

    B tree line Zip person!!

  • Mary Thom
    07/27/2017 at 2:26 pm

    C) alpine coaster all day all night person

  • Teresa
    07/27/2017 at 2:39 pm

    I’d love to try the alpine coaster with my boys! Thanks for the chance!

  • BREanna O'Neill
    07/27/2017 at 2:49 pm

    Alpine coaster! Fun:)

  • Cassie o
    07/27/2017 at 3:00 pm

    B) tree top zip line for sure!
    But I’ve never done an alpine coaster sounds terrifyingly wonderful!

  • Melissa WIng
    07/27/2017 at 3:07 pm

    Alpine Coaster!

  • Nancy Joa
    07/27/2017 at 3:09 pm

    I’m a scenic alpine rider! Thanks for the opportunity!

  • Amie myers
    07/27/2017 at 3:17 pm

    Tree top zipline!

  • Jennifer
    07/27/2017 at 3:26 pm

    A scenic chair lift

  • Nate diXon
    07/27/2017 at 3:33 pm

    Mountain Coaster All Day Long!!!!

  • Renada
    07/27/2017 at 3:49 pm

    Scenic Chairlift!

  • Heather Hunt
    07/27/2017 at 4:09 pm

    Alpine coaster all day all night person

  • Mary
    07/27/2017 at 5:51 pm

    Alpine coasters all day all night

  • Kerry
    07/27/2017 at 5:54 pm

    C! The alpine coaster looks great!

  • Cheri
    07/27/2017 at 7:09 pm

    Scenic chairlift all the way!

  • Traci yang
    07/27/2017 at 8:01 pm

    I’m a person who would enjoy C) alpine coaster all day all night person.

  • Becky miller
    07/27/2017 at 8:03 pm

    Alpine coaster, all day all night!

  • Amy Rivera
    07/27/2017 at 8:45 pm

    I’m usually a scenic chairlift person but I’d love to try a zipline!

  • Gretchen
    07/27/2017 at 9:47 pm

    Zipline! But the alpine coaster sounds awesome.

  • Natasha Talamantes
    07/27/2017 at 10:15 pm

    So hard to choose! I’d love all 3 but since it’s Duluth, the scenic chair lift!

  • Tracy kehr
    07/27/2017 at 10:16 pm

    I have never been but the scenic chair lift sounds amazing. I’d love to check this out with my family.

  • Michelle
    07/27/2017 at 10:20 pm

    I bet a scenic chair lift in Duluth would be amazing!

  • Lisa p
    07/27/2017 at 10:24 pm

    All of the above! Most excited for the zip line though!

  • Allison Risdal
    07/27/2017 at 10:50 pm

    I love it all but coaster are our favorite!

  • Brooke
    07/27/2017 at 11:01 pm

    It’s been a long time, but I think I’m still an Alpine coaster person! That scenic chairlift sounds pretty good too.

  • Rebecca
    07/27/2017 at 11:10 pm

    I’m all about the zip line!

  • Anna r
    07/27/2017 at 11:14 pm

    The scenic chairlift sounds really enjoyable, but the zipline sounds incredibly exciting!!

  • christy
    07/27/2017 at 11:21 pm

    A- scenic chairlift

  • Michelle
    07/28/2017 at 6:24 am

    top zip line kinda gal right here!! Fun!

  • Kristi
    07/28/2017 at 7:08 am

    C! Alpine coaster for me!

  • Chantel waller
    07/28/2017 at 7:37 am

    B – tree top zip line! Tried it once and loved it!

  • Amy R
    07/28/2017 at 7:43 am

    C. Alpine coaster all night for sure!

  • Pa lee
    07/28/2017 at 7:51 am

    alpine coaster all day all night person

  • Michelle
    07/28/2017 at 8:05 am

    Alpine coaster all day all night

  • Brittany moen
    07/28/2017 at 8:20 am

    Alpine coaster all the way!

  • Lindsey
    07/28/2017 at 9:25 am

    C) alpine coaster all day all night

  • Rhonda
    07/28/2017 at 9:38 am

    Coaster all the way!!!

    And thank you for this blog and all of your Facebook posts! My kids and I are so grateful for all of the wonderful ideas you share!

  • Andrea RObinson
    07/28/2017 at 9:55 am

    Since I am not a fan of heights, I think I would say an alpine coaster all day all night person! We have been looking for this for so long and so exited to find one for a day trip.

  • Jennifer
    07/28/2017 at 11:06 am

    Treetop zip line person

  • Korey Holtan
    07/28/2017 at 11:09 am

    alpine coaster all day all night person

  • RAchel
    07/28/2017 at 2:10 pm

    All of this looks like so much fun!!! I have always wanted to try zip-lining, so I’ll go B)! Thanks fir the tips. I always appreciate it 🙂

  • Aimee
    07/28/2017 at 5:48 pm

    HI, I’m sure I’m a treetop zipline person–I’d love to see what the birds see!

  • Sarah
    07/28/2017 at 10:16 pm

    It all sounds awesome! Lily would be in heaven. I’d say I’m C. If Mabel can handle it, then I can handle it…right??

  • Derek Halvorson
    07/28/2017 at 11:37 pm

    B) treetop zipline person

  • Lisa Langford
    07/29/2017 at 12:02 am

    Alpine coaster!!!

  • Cassie Merrill
    07/29/2017 at 12:42 am

    B) treetop zipline person

  • Sarah
    07/29/2017 at 9:38 am

    C alpine coaster all day all night!

  • Mackenzie
    07/29/2017 at 3:36 pm

    This place sounds so fun! Zip line for sure!

  • Tammy
    07/29/2017 at 6:40 pm

    I would love the coaster but really want to try the zip line thinking I’d love it to. I’ve always
    Been a fan of coasters and what better one Than in the great real outdoors! I will be
    Traveling to Duluth toward the end of Decmber might go take a ride on that coaster.

  • AngeLica Olague
    07/30/2017 at 3:57 am

    Scenic chairlift 🙂

  • jenny dennis
    07/30/2017 at 6:31 am

    Treetop zipline! We’re headed up to Duluth in a month. Thanks for the tips!

  • Toni Korpi
    07/30/2017 at 10:48 am

    Def an alpine coaster gal:)

  • Jessie o
    07/30/2017 at 8:23 pm

    I’ve never been on an Alpine Slide… but, man, it sounds awesome!!! I’d definitely give that a try

  • Kristie augustin
    07/31/2017 at 8:01 am

    Alpine Coaster All Day All Night Person

  • HOlly
    07/31/2017 at 11:18 am

    I’m SO afraid of heights….but I think I would love to do the alpine slide this with my 8,5, and 4 year olds just to show them I’m not a chicken (even though I really am)

  • Sylvia kehoe
    07/31/2017 at 2:57 pm

    Chair lift all the way!

  • Elizabeth
    07/31/2017 at 9:26 pm

    I am definitely a scenic chairlift type of gal!

  • Laurie Olesen
    08/02/2017 at 7:20 am

    Count me in for a Treetop Adventure!

  • Lori Ehlenfeldt
    08/02/2017 at 7:28 am

    My family and I would love to win – the alpine coaster sounds fantastic! We vote for C!

  • Lori
    08/02/2017 at 9:10 am

    Alpine coaster all day and all night!!

  • Rebecca Laesch
    08/02/2017 at 10:36 am

    Treetop Zipline!

  • Kristi
    08/02/2017 at 10:37 am

    These all sound super fun but I think I would like the treetop zipline!!

  • Alissa schrank
    08/02/2017 at 10:43 am

    This looks really fun! I love this area and will have to check this out!

  • KatIe DeYoung
    08/02/2017 at 11:26 am

    C. Alpine coaster!

  • Steve
    08/02/2017 at 12:04 pm

    D. Mountain biking all the way!!

  • Vickie Ollila
    08/02/2017 at 2:24 pm

    I live in phoenix az n am home for a few months to visit my sister n her young kids ages 5, 11 and it would be great for.me to do something like this with my niece and nephew this summer. Please consider me to the free passes it would really be a good memory for me n the kids.

  • Jenn
    08/02/2017 at 3:54 pm

    It’s gotta be the Tree Top Zipline!

  • Melissa Suniga
    08/02/2017 at 8:21 pm

    C) alpine coaster all day all night person

  • Cassie Smith Challacombe
    08/02/2017 at 8:39 pm

    C- alpine coaster all day all night

  • Holly erickson
    08/02/2017 at 9:49 pm

    Alpine coaster all day all night person

  • Jenny Anderson
    08/04/2017 at 2:51 pm

    This is awesome! What a great way to spend time with the entire fam. Something for everyone. I always thought Spirit mountain was just for skiing and snowboarding. The more you know 🙂

  • Danielle Everling
    08/04/2017 at 8:57 pm

    I have never beending but it all sounds amazing!! If I had to pick it would be the zip line!!!

  • Kaitlynn
    08/04/2017 at 11:38 pm

    C! I definitely love the thrill, and going fast! And so do my children!

  • Kathy
    08/05/2017 at 3:07 pm

    C) alpine coaster all day and night!

  • Melissa dahnke
    08/05/2017 at 3:10 pm

    C. Alpine slide!!!!!!

  • Jolene
    08/05/2017 at 5:04 pm

    B! Zip line… the alpine coaster scares me