Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The North Shore's newest lakeshore trail

It's not very long. And it's not well-marked. But the new stretch of Duluth's Lakewalk brings you to lovely lakeshore scenery and one of the best ledgerock shorelines in the whole city.

The new trail provides easy access to "The Ledges," a long-time secret hideout, with great ledgerock and a few hidden cobblestone beaches. In the summer, you'll find harebells blooming and teenagers cliff jumping. Now it's fall and the goldenrods are blooming in the crevices.

Hundreds of volunteers turned out this summer to construct about 300 yards of new trail along the shore, between the cobblestone beaches and new townhomes. Unlike the rest of the Lakewalk, the trail is not paved...yet. The long-term plan calls for running a lakeside trail all the way west through the Beacon Pointe development. This will close a long-term gap in the Lakewalk.

This project has required real collaboration with the townhome residents. The trail goes right alongside their mowed and landscaped yards. Some compromises are still being worked out, like whether bikes should be allowed on the gravel trail.

Getting There

The easiest way to access this trail is to park in the lot below Perkins on London Road. Cross I-35 on the pedestrian bridge, the one with the ramps dropping down to the Lakewalk. The new trail starts right at the base of the pedestrian bridge. To get to the Ledges, watch for informal trails breaking off toward the lake.

Right now, the popular parking area by Beacon Pointe is totally torn up for construction of a stormwater overflow tank. It's an amazing hole in the ground and will be great for Lake Superior water quality. And it's a big hassle for parking and access.

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