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A quintessential part of St. Paul's extensive trails system, the Samuel H. Morgan Regional Trail offers a variety of sights and sounds along its nine-mile path, from gorgeous views of the Mississippi River and downtown St. Paul, to the hustle and bustle of busy roads and industrial areas along the riverbanks. Despite some less than scenic portions, this trail is a fantastic way to experience the city by foot or bike, and provides access to some of the city's priceless natural resources.
Starting in the west, just above the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers, the Sam Morgan Regional Trail begins at a lovely overlook spot at the intersection of Shepard Road and Crosby Farm Road. The asphalt on this portion of the trail was recently redone, providing a smooth ride as the trail follows alongside Shepard Road heading east. Sights of the river are few are far between at first, as the land between the trail and the river is packed with trees. The trail diverts from Shepard Road briefly to send you through an underpass under the busy interstate (where you can connect with the River to River Greenway), but quickly rejoins the road and continues east. Soon, the path takes you right alongside the river, offering views of West St. Paul and Harriet Island.
At the intersection with Randolph Avenue, the trail splits into two paths, before rejoining at Upper Landing Park. The path along Shepard Road takes you away from the water on a well-manicured and tree-lined route, whereas the path along Randolph Avenue takes you right along the river's edge and offers some great views of the city. After converging in the beautiful Upper Landing Park, the trail heads along the southern edge of downtown St. Paul, passing under a series of bridges as it winds along the riverbanks. Shepard Road becomes Warner Road next to Lower Landing Park, and the trail continues along Warner Road through a more industrial area - a portion of the trail which also features a change in elevation as the trail climbs up away from the river. A beautiful new trail bridge allows users to safely cross Childs Road, as the trail makes its way into a forested landscape. Just past the intersection with Fish Hatchery Road, the trail splits: users can either continue along Warner Road to connect with another trail that provides access to the scenic Indian Mounds Park to the north, or you can head right to pass through a tranquil bit of forest before emerging next to a highway, which the trail follows south and leads into Battle Creek Regional Park.
Parking is available at the trail's eastern end in Battle Creek Regional Park, at Lower Landing Park, at Upper Landing Park, at the end of Randpolph Avenue beneath the High Bridge, and at Crosby Farm Regional Park near the trail's western end. Additional parking may be available on street or nearby; be sure to follow any posted signs and warnings.
To reach the trail's eastern end in Battle Creek Regional Park from out of town, take I-94 towards St. Paul. Take exit 244 and follow signs for US-10 South. Continue onto US-10/US-61 for several miles, then take a left onto Lower Afton Road, followed by a left on Point Douglas Road - the park entrance is at the end of the road about a half-mile up.
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