Friday, October 8, 2010
The St. Louis River Trail
A beautiful Friday had Noelle and I itching to get outside and do some exploring. Noelle thought that a trip to Jay Cooke State Park to do some hiking would be a good idea and I agreed. However, I remembered that a few weeks ago I had stopped at Chambers Grove Park on Duluth's far western edge and seen a sign for the St. Louis River Trail. After doing some internet research, I could turn up no information on this trail and so I decided that we would go on a reconnaissance mission to find out for ourselves what the trail is all about.
We packed a pack, grabbed Parker some treats, and hit the road. We made it to the park after a short drive through Gary/New Duluth and the other neighborhoods on the west side of town. Chambers Grove park itself while small is very pleasant with a nice little boardwalk and fishing piers along the St. Louis River. We strolled along the boardwalk and then headed to the corner of the park where the trail-head sign is. There also happened to be a big, stinky dead buck deer there. Parker was quite interested in the carcass but we quickly moved past it.
The trail itself is a bit strange. Other than the large sign at its beginning the trail is not marked or blazed and appears to get very little maintenance. In some areas the trail is swampy, in others it is overgrown, and in other areas large fallen trees block the path. Most of the trail seems to follow an old rail line. At one point there is a short spur trail which leads to a nice overlook of the St. Louis River.
There are also many utility poles that have been cut down along the corridor.
Towards the halfway point of our hike we came to the remains of an old railroad trestle now rotting an being reclaimed by the forest.
At this point we turned around. On our way back to the car we found a spur trail and decided to take it. It led up a ridge and past some large white pines, then to highway 23 which we followed back to the car.