Name That Trail: The gravel one that goes from 63rd Avenue West, behind the zoo and under Ely’s Peak, out to I-35

TunnelTrail

Have you walked, biked, snowmobiled or whatevered this trail? It starts/ends just off of North 63rd Avenue West and Greene Street (though technically there are random sections of it that pop up further east) and goes west out to Beck’s Road and I-35, where it gradually disappears.

Along the way, it goes behind the Lake Superior Zoo, through Spirit Mountain’s ski hills, across that rickety old bridge, parallels the Munger Trail below Bardon’s Peak and tunnels under Ely’s Peak (as seen in the photo).

I use this trail a lot, so it annoys me that it seems to have no name. On Google maps it’s labeled “Grant & Aide Tri” and “Grant and Aide Trail.” I don’t think that’s an actual name, though. I think it just means it’s a trail that is eligible for maintenance and grooming grants-in-aid from the DNR.

I’m pretty sure the route belongs to the city (the part that’s in the city limits, anyway). It used to be Canadian National Railway property. The Duluth, Winnipeg, and Pacific Railroad built tracks on it in 1912. The route was abandoned in 1984.

So, what should it be called? Here’s the ideas so far:

DWP Trail
You know, for Duluth, Winnipeg, and Pacific Railroad. Sounds boring, I know. Forget I suggested it.

Onsgard Trail
For Bert Onsgard, founder of the Lake Superior Zoo. It doesn’t flow nicely off the tongue, but it ain’t bad.

That’s all I’ve got so far. I’ll keep thinking. Help me out if you can.

28 Comments

chadp

about 11 years ago

The Western Skyline Trail flows nicely from the Western Waterfront Trail and has a geographically descriptive component.  Although it would be more accurate to call it the Southern Skyline Trail.  I love the scary feeling going through the tunnel and over the railroad bridges on the bike.

ian

about 11 years ago

That one gets real "fun" to bike once you get to the larger crushed rock.  IIRC you can follow it all the way past (under) the freeway and up to the old Dry Dock location, then sneak on to some other "trails" that may or may not be around/or posted no trespassing these days, winding up (after crossing beaver dams, bogs that should not be crossed solo, small streams, etc) in the middle of Esko.

rnarum

about 11 years ago

The Imagination Trail

How can you help but imagine days gone by as you travel this trail... or... what MIGHT happen as you cross the rickety bridge... or... just what is just beyond where the light doesn't shine? It's all in your imagination. It makes you heart beat an extra couple per minute. And you're happy for that.

TimK

about 11 years ago

Lundgren's Lament

heysme

about 11 years ago

So Betty White hosted Saturday Night Live in response to the urging of dedicated fans. There's only one thing to do -- name the trail Paul Lundgren Trail - PLT. Who better?  Reason #1 Paul is a mover and a shaker of Duluth!

Jeff

about 11 years ago

When I was a young lad and lived in Morgan Park, the gang would climb the hill. I don't remember being so you climbing it, but if you say it closed in 84 that would explain why 4 or 5 eleven year olds couldn't put anything big enough on the track to derail mone of the trains. I can remember them slowing down as we perced on the cliff above the tracks "Lord of the Flies" style.

I'll never forget the load of John Deere farm tractors that came by.

jeremy

about 11 years ago

I want to go!  Do you have a map link of where it essentially starts? I'm not familiar with the area.

ian

about 11 years ago

Go a couple miles up Beck's Road from Grand/Commonwealth and park right after the tracks a couple miles up at the new climber's parking lot.  Follow the trail and you will end up crossing the trail. 

Google Map

Or... take the scenic route (to the top) on the Superior Hiking Trail starting at the Munger Trail parking lot about a half mile back.

Dado

about 11 years ago

The proper name is second track. When walking up the hill you crossed first track (now Munger trail) then second track. This is from a 60s Smithville perspective.

brian

about 11 years ago

Thanks to Mark Sanford, we know what hiking the Appalachian Trail really means. 

I wonder what "Hiking the Lundgren Trail" could mean.

samh

about 11 years ago

I believe this trail is in fact called the Grant and Aid Trail.

Sweetpea

about 11 years ago

Oh I have been on that trail! It's gorgeous in the summer (although the tunnel part is a little creepy). Not a clue what it's called, but you can get to it by either parking at the base of Skyline (off of the Becks Road)and getting up on the railroad tress that goes over Skyline (follow it back towards Midway) or you can start where the old cement plant used to be- there's a road that runs up behind the plant and will take you straight to it.

woodtick

about 11 years ago

Having bike raced the trail end to end, plus simply using it as an alternative travelway to roads and streets, I have to say that even though it is a 'double track' type of trail I like Dado's 'Second Track' as a moniker.  The Judge and the Drunk Fisherman have been taken, btw.

Codie

about 11 years ago

How bout the Bong Trail? I mean c'mon, the guy is a hero!

DawnMarie

about 11 years ago

One of my favorite hikes/photography spots!!  I spend so much time in that area I should change my address...

rediguana

about 11 years ago

It was formerly a DWP (Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific) railroad grade, so I just call it the Old DWP trail.

Shane

about 11 years ago

Anyone else wonder a little about the boulders and random chunks of rock that appear to have fallen from the ceiling of the tunnel?  I usually don't dally much inside the tunnel. Does a falling rock make any sort of warning sound?

Mary Beron

about 11 years ago

Having spent my first 6 years living on 63rd avenue west and loving it, (then being dragged kicking and screaming to Lakeside), I vote for the "Onsgard Trail."

For me, that name conjures up the smell of root beer and popcorn from that old refreshment stand at the entrance to the zoo, the myriad rides at the zoo, the creepy pony ride lady up in the woods behind the zoo and West Duluth atmosphere itself.  It's the Onsgard Trail in my book.  Now to hike.  Paul, thanks for caring.

Paul Lundgren

about 11 years ago

OK, so we have:

Onsgard Trail
DWP Trail
Second Track Trail

I might also suggest -- since this trail passes several creeks with swimming holes -- Skinny Dip Trail.

Anyone else care to weigh in? City Councilor Dan Hartman told me today he'd be happy to bring forward a resolution to name the trail if we can come up with something suitable.

Chris

about 11 years ago

My son and I just hiked the first section from 63rd to Redruth St.  When I got home I was checking out Google maps to check out the next section we're going to do.  I noticed another trail/road (?) called Knowlton Creek Blvd.  It seems to start at the end of 8oth Avenue West and winds its way up the hill, splits off in one spot, goes right through the ski hills, and ends up intersecting West Skyline.  On one hand shortly after 80th Avenue West looks like there's some buildings on it, which makes it seem like a road.  But once it gets further into the woods and Spirit Mountain there's no way that is a road is it?  Here's the link to the map I was looking at:

Google Map

Paul Lundgren

about 11 years ago

Part of what is listed as Knowlton Creek Blvd. on Google Maps is an access road for Spirit Mountain. The other part is, indeed, just a trail. But the trail is part of an old access road into Fairmount Park.

Griz

about 11 years ago

I figured I would revisit this post since I just hiked the "Nameless Trail" today. That high trestle bridge is a bit scary to cross. It spans Stewart Creek and there is a faint trail that starts on the western side of the bridge that leads upstream to some nice little waterfalls and some weird old encampments. There is one old encampment that looks like a really small version of the Ewok Village in Return of the Jedi. Does Anybody know anything about this place? Anyway the trail eventually intersects Skyline Parkway at the stone arch bridge near Snively Spring.

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

I just noticed that the Fall 2011 issue of Duluth Quarterly has an article about Duluth's Trails and Bikeways Master Plan which mentions among the highlights "improvement of the Duluth Winnipeg Pacific trail."

So I guess that's the name our inaction has left us with. I guess I'll just call it the DWP Trail from now on and call it good.

ElPete

about 8 years ago

Since revisiting this tunnel I also found myself here revisiting this post.  I searched and searched for it's name throughout the web until (finally) finding it on google earth which lead me here. A virtual trial of sorts. There is nothing wrong with the name DWP but, really nothing to write home about either. Pretty generic sounding if you ask me.  How about the Hobo Stank Trial?  Not that'll be a crowd-pleaser of a name, but at the same time is it ever too late for inaction? Imagination trail has my vote.  Also, this belongs here: 



Any correlation to folk music and hobos, as well as, stank and hippies is purely coincidental (no hippies or hobos were hurt during the writing of this comment).

Chris

about 8 years ago

Hopefully it's not going to be named the Jay Fosle ATV Trail.

Duluth councilor aims to lift decade-old ATV ban

I know that certain sections have been used illegally as an ATV/Dirtbike trail already. My parents lived in 93rd Ave W and Gogebic for a few years. It was a very scenic and peaceful spot with the exception of the noise from dirtbikes and ATVs illegally driving behind their house. The City would put up a barricade but they would just blaze a new trail around it. Eventually they did block it enough to almost completely stop the traffic. I'm just wondering if this is the "Western Trail" Fosle has his eye on???

Paul Lundgren

about 8 years ago

In a strange coincidence, literally five minutes after Chris left the comment above, I was on the DWP Trail and witnessed a guy drive his SUV onto the trail. Not his ATV, his Chevy truck.

This is the first time I've seen a truck on the trail, but dirtbikes and ATVs are on it daily. There are barricades at every entrance, but as Chris notes, people just drive around them.

Councilor Fosle makes a good point that there are zero trails for ATVs in Duluth. It's tough to ask people to operate within the law when there is no available way to do it.

adam

about 7 years ago

I visited the trail at the Gogebic entry this weekend... twice just to enjoy the sheer fear inducing joy of walking over the old rickety trestle.  The views of Morgan Park, Riverside, and Gary New-Duluth are fantastic. 

One wonders what would it take to  maintain the trestle and prevent it from deteriorating further?

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