Searching for Spring in West Duluth


If you really need a spring walk and you’d like to see some real spring birds, maybe some real spring flowers, and open water, head for Duluth’s Western Waterfront Trail. It’s one of my favorite spring walks, even when it’s 40 degrees and snowing in May like it was yesterday.


The Western Waterfront Trail runs for over three miles along the shore of the St. Louis River, connecting the neighborhoods of West Duluth and Riverside. It’s a wide trail, built strong enough for biking on its hard gravel surface. 

Bring your good binoculars. The St. Louis River here is a web of channels and backwaters, all attracting different waterfowl and migrating mystery birds. Yesterday I saw lesser scaup, hooded mergansers, and ringneck ducks.

I like to start the trail at its eastern end, off 63rd Avenue West. Depending on your freeway exit, you can get to 63rd Avenue West off of Grand Ave. or off of Central Avenue and Raleigh St. From 63rd and Raleigh, it’s another 0.5 miles to, basically, the end of the road. Look for the trail as it crosses the Avenue, and park near the trail. For more detailed directions and a trail map, pick up a copy of my new book, Hiking the North Shore (see blog sidebar to order).

Not much spring to report, however, besides the birds on the river. 

The wild leeks had their onion-smelly leaves up, and the buds were swelling on the willow trees. Kingsbury Creek was running high under the metal bridge. The trail is drier than most woodland trails are now and would make for a great hike for a family or sweeties holding hands.


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