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Developed in 1988, the Western Waterfront Trail (WWT) offers direct access to the shoreline of the St. Louis River estuary in southwestern Duluth. The trail begins right across the street from the northern trailhead of the Willard Munger State Trail. The WWT is a 10-foot-wide, tree-lined gravel corridor through commercial, residential, and natural areas as it follows the 9-mile shoreline of the St. Louis River estuary.
The trail skirts the edges of residential neighborhoods but is mainly a nature corridor that passes through marsh environments with opportunities to observe more than 270 species of birds and aquatic mammals along with views of the St. Louis River where it empties into Lake Superior.
In spring 2015, the city of Duluth began the Western Waterfront Restoration, Renewal and Access project, which widened the trail and will replace and regrade the gravel trail, and resurface boardwalks and bridges. Universal access upgrades along the trail are also planned. Development goals include extending the trail west from the Riverside area to Morgan Park. These trail improvements are scheduled for completion by December 2016.
Hikers in the Duluth area are close to several of Minnesota’s premier northern--route trail systems, including the Willard Munger State Trail that heads south through Jay Cooke State Park and the rugged Superior Hiking Trail and the Gitchi-Gami State Trail that continue the trail system to the north along the shore and ridgeline of Lake Superior. The Western Waterfront Trail shares the Minnesota north-country personality of these trails as being one of the best viewing sites for wildlife habitat in the Duluth area.
In southwest Duluth, take I-35 N. to Exit 251A. Merge onto Cody St., and in 0.2 mile turn right onto N. 63rd Ave. W. In 0.6 mile take a slight right onto MN 23/Grand Ave., and go 1 mile. Turn left onto Pulaski St., and go east one block to the trailhead parking lot on the left (here you’ll find a portable toilet but no water).
There is a small parking lot with access to the trail near the Lake Superior Zoo, located just south of the intersection of Grand Ave. and S. 72nd Ave. W. To reach it, follow the directions above, but only go 0.8 mile on MN 23/Grand Ave. The lot is on the left.
Access is also available from neighborhood streets at Spring St. and at S. 63rd Ave. W.
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