The River Route segment of Duluth’s Cross City Trail has been under construction this summer in West Duluth. It should be paved and ready for bicyclists in a matter of weeks.
The segment runs from Irving Park to Carlton Street, passing the Verso paper mill and Wade/Wheeler Athletic Complex. It’s part of a larger vision to connect the Willard Munger State Trail to the Duluth Lakewalk with a 10.3-mile multi-purpose, non-motorized, wheelchair-accessible, paved trail. That system could eventually connect to the Gitchi-Gami Trail to produce a paved bike path running from Hinckley to Grand Marais and potentially the Canadian border.
Click here for a PDF map of Cross City Trail segments — both built and planned. The River Route is considered Segment 2.
Depending on how you frame it, the Cross City Trail has been in the works for either 50 years, 15 years or 10 years. Cross City Trail Advocates suggest it goes back to the planning of I-35 through West Duluth in 1971. The first funding for the trail was secured in 2005. And it was 2010 when the city of Duluth released maps of potential routes. The process has been messy, but the trail has been slowly coming together. Some sections were built years ago, others are still being planned.
While the Munger Trail and Lakewalk are mostly about pleasure biking in nature and scenic beauty, the Cross City Trail is a bit more about utility. It serves to connect the two famous pleasure trails, but it also is a commuter trail to get cyclists from West Duluth to the Lincoln Park Craft District, Downtown and Canal Park, so it passes through industry at times, rather than vistas and the edge of waterways.
The part that is directly adjacent to I-35 is pretty short, but fat-tire bikers in winter might want to watch out for snowplow-induced avalanches.
And keep in mind industry can also be scenic at times.
The new segment passes through the hobo jungle and under the DM&IR ore docks.
Concerned about falling taconite pellets from dock #6? Don’t worry. The Cross City Trail has you covered.
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