Thursday, January 13, 2011

First peak at new XC ski trail at Keenes Creek

How often do you get to ski a NEW trail? In the fringes of Duluth, new trails have been popping up every year. Yesterday I sought out and checked out one of the newest, Hermantown's Keenes Creek trail. With my handy GPS running, I scouted the trails.

New is good. And this trail will get better over time.

The trail is reached off the Morris Thomas Road, a half-mile west of Haines Road. You turn south on Okerstrom Road and park at the end of the road, near the ballfield.

Navigation onto the trails is tricky, especially since the trails hadn't been groomed in the last few days. The signs and maps need some serious work, too. The picture above seems to show the "TRAIL" headed off and away, yet I learned after skiing down this track this was not part of the official system nor was it on the map. 

It looks like the trail is more popular with dog walkers than skiers. After all, it is the "Keenes Creek Hiking & Ski Trails." Skiers will want to stay on the two western loops, each about one kilometer around. These loops climb and fall through mixed forest of younger maple and aspen. 

This is a fine new addition to Duluth's many ski trails, perfect for people living in Hermantown. Most folks won't go out of their way to ski here, since there is only about three kilometers of trails. Apparently you can ski here with your dog any day of the week.

Although there are obviously kinks to work out on this trail, such as confusing signage and potential pet encounters, it's great to see new trails opening up.  

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