Friday, May 2, 2014

Trails amble along creeks, offer Lake Superior views in Duluth, Minn.

Aerial Lift Bridge from the Duluth Lakewalk. 
With a large urban population that values the outdoors, day hiking trails abound in the Duluth metro area. Among the many sites that can be experienced on Duluth trails are wooded streams, a sandspit in the world’s largest freshwater lake, and panoramic views of Lake Superior.

A short list of Duluth’s multitude of day hikes include:
g Chester Park Trail – The trail loops along Chester Creek, which sits in a wooded ravine. Park on the street and access the trailhead at Fourth Street and 14th Avenue East in Chester Park.
g Congdon Park Trail – The trail parallels Tischer Creek, as it flows toward Lake Superior. A trailhead is at St. Marie Street and Vermillion Road in Congdon Park.
g Duluth Lakewalk – Fantastic views of Lake Superior, a historic lift bridge, and a walk on a pier await day hikers of the Duluth Lakewalk. Park at the Fitger’s Inn ramp and head southeast on the paved walkway.
g Grassy Point Trail – A short trail heads over wetlands and Keene Creek near its confluence with the St. Louis River. Park at the end of Leisure Street.
g Hartley Park trails – Several trails run through Hartley Park, with a spur of the Superior Hiking Trail leading to the top of 1300-foot Rock Knob offering lots of scenery. Other trails head past Tischer Creek and up Hunters Hill to Gaebo Point. Park in the lot at the nature center.
g Lester/Amity MTB Trail – The loping trail follows wooded Amity Creek and the Lester River for several miles. Park in the turnout off Seven Bridges Road immediately south of the creek; cross the bridge north to the trailhead on the road’s east side.
g Lincoln Park Trail (Miller Creek segment) – The trail winds alongside Miller Creek in the narrow but forested Lincoln Park. The route is part of the Superior Hiking Trail. Park in the Piedmont Avenue lot immediately east of North 24th Avenue; the trailhead is south of the lot on North 24th Avenue.
g Miller Creek Interpretive Trail – The 0.66-mile loop circles Miller Creek behind Lake Superior College with signage for 14 points of interest. The trail can be accessed from a spur on the southwest side of LSC Entrance Road, across from the West Parking Lot.
g Mission Creek Trail A pleasant walk alongside Mission Creek awaits in Fond Du Lac Park. Park in the turnout at the end of West Ninth Street in the park.
g Park Point Trail – The trail runs for more than two miles one-way in the Park Point Recreation Area and the Minnesota Point Pine Forest Scientific and Natural Area, a natural sandspit in Superior Bay. Reaching it requires crossing the Aerial Lift Bridge; park at Sky Harbor Airport.
g Ridge Loop Trail Fantastic views of Lake Superior and raptors migrating along the shoreline await day hikers of this trail in the Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory. Park alongside East Skyline Parkway and hoof to Hawk Ridge’s summit.
g Rock Pond and Hill Hiking Trail The trail runs through the Bagley Nature Area, a pleasant woodland with a pond and vista point on the northwest corner of the University of Minnesota Duluth campus. Park in the metered lot near Oakland Court.
g Superior Hiking Trail (Enger Park segment) – A segment of the North Shore trail rambles through Enger Park, crossing Coffee Creek along the way. Park in the lot along Piedmont Avenue south of North 24th Avenue, taking West Skyline Parkway northeast into Enger Park.
g Superior Hiking Trail (Magney-Snively Park segment) – Several miles of the North Shore trail run through forested Magney-Snively Park. A parking lot is available along West Skyline Parkway south of Stewart Creek with the trail leaving from the lot’s east side.
g Western Waterfront Trail – The lengthy 5-mile trail at Indian Point Park circles Kingsbury Creek’s confluence with the St. Louis River. Park in the lot across the street from the Lake Superior Zoo.
g Willard Munger State Trail – The northern tip of the trail can be accessed at a number of spots. Among the most popular with parking lots are (from south to north): off 123rd Avenue West via the Superior Hiking Trail; off Riverside Drive at Grand Avenue (Minn. Hwy. 23); and marking the trail’s northern terminus, off Pulaski Street east of Grand Avenue (Minn. Hwy. 23).

Read more about day hiking Northeast Minnesota in my Headin’ to the Cabin: Day Hiking Trails of Northeast Minnesota guidebook.