Monday, July 23, 2012

Duluth's Lakewalk: Bike to Brighton Beach

From the heart of Duluth's Canal Park tourist area, a paved bicycle path leads seven miles along the North Shore and through Duluth's historic eastern neighborhoods to a lovely bit of North Shore coastline, Brighton Beach

Most folks know this path as the Lakewalk. But that's a misnomer. Let's call it the Beach Bike...and let's go for a ride! On hot summer days, Brighton Beach is often the coolest place in Duluth as light breezes slide over the lake.

Here's where the "Beach Bike" will take you, with just over six miles of scenic riding from Canal Park:

Brighton Beach is a longtime favorite day trip for Duluthians and a perfect stop on your way up the North Shore. A quiet, walker-friendly road winds past about half a mile of ledgerock and cobblestone beaches.

Riding the Lakewalk
The so-called Lakewalk starts in Canal Park and leads right along the rocky shoreline for almost three miles. If you want to come from out of town just for this ride, you can park at any of the Canal Park lots and pick up the Lakewalk. 

About two miles from Canal Park, there's a brief interruption where the path runs along Water Street past Beacon Pointe Resort. If you continue on the Lakewalk past 23rd Ave. E., you'll ride up a steep hill and pass below an elaborate bike path ramp. Then watch out for the unmarked junction in thick woods below London Road. If you go straight, you'll pop out on the sidewalk of busy London Road. If you take the sharp left turn, you're onto the second half of the Lakewalk and on your way to the beach. It's the Beach Bike now.

This eastern half of the Lakewalk is neither by the lake nor is it best for walking. So let's call this section the Beach Bike. The path basically follows the railroad tracks through the neighborhoods of Congdon, Lakeside and Lester Park. About five times the path crosses quiet avenues. The path leads all the way to 60th Avenue East where it abruptly stops. Still planned for construction this year is the last bit of connecting trail down to Brighton Beach, but for now you can head down 60th to London Road, cross that busy road at the crosswalk, then safely ride the sidewalk the remaining quarter-mile to the entrance to Brighton Beach.

At the Beach
Once you reach Brighton Beach, you can ride along the road and find your own perfect place: a shady picnic table, a comfortable bench, even a wave-splashed rock where you can watch the ships go by. There are outhouses, firegrates, and a toddler-friendly playground.

LakeWalk or Beach Bike, it's up to you to make it whatever you want.

For a map of the entire Lakewalk, click here.

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