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The Willard Munger State Trail is a collection of three multiple use trails roughly stretching between the towns of Hinckley and Duluth. The three trail segments include the Hinckley–Duluth, Alex Laveau Memorial Trail (which are joined in Carlton) and the Matthew Lourey State Trail, also known as the Boundary segment, and which lies to the east of the other two trails. The trails offer a total of 160 miles for hiking, bicycling, in-line skating, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. The trails pass through some of Minnesota's most scenic areas, following the route of the railroad that saved many lives during the notorious Hinckley and Cloquet fires in the 19th century.
The Alex Laveau Memorial Trail was named in honor of a county commissioner and dairy farmer who was a strong advocate for rails-to-trails projects. From Carlton all the way to the Minnesota–Wisconsin state line, north of Route 3, the trail is a combination of bike routes on paved highway shoulders (mostly Wrenshall to Carlton) and off-road paved trail. The Carlton end joins with the main Hinckley–Duluth segment.
To access the Alex Laveau segment of the Willard Munger Trail in Carlton, park in the lot at the southeast corner of the intersection of North Avenue and County Route 1. Here, you can take the Hinckley–Duluth segment north and east, too. Too get on the Alex Laveau segment, take 3rd St./Co Rt. 1 south, crossing the railroad tracks and the creek. The Alex Laveau Trail heads southeast, while the Hinckley–Duluth segment heads northwest (and quickly turns south again).
In Wrenshall, the trail follows Co Rt. 1 to Parkwood Dr. (left, then left again in a short distance to the off-road trail).
"If you are camping, stay off this trail, you may not find anything. State run rest stops have been stripped of their trash cans and picnic tables. Other states recognize the improtance of bike trails and maintain and support them. I am sad to say Minnesota does not."
"I rode this trail in mid July from Carlton to Duluth and back. The trail is paved with asphalt but is need of repair as the surface is rough in some places. The bridge over the St. Louis River gorge is awesome. You get plenty of scenic views elsewhere along the trail too.
The ride from Carlton to Duluth was pretty much just a coast cause it's mostly downhill. Even the ride back against the slight grade wasn't difficult. However, if you're going to ride from Duluth west note the parking at the Duluth trailhead is mimimal and lacks water and restroom. In fact the first restroom on the trail from Duluth is at the Carlton trailhead, which is about 15 miles away. That includes water too.
The trail doesn't have all that many road crossings and doesn't have a road paralleling it, so that makes it all the more enjoyable."
"This is the central portion of a trail system that will eventually go from Winona (near MN's southern border) to Canada and is already connected to Wisconsin's beautiful LaCrosse to Elroy trail. The portion from Hinckley to Carlton is typical central Minnesota terrain--flat, straight, often windy, and easy--but the final leg from Carlton to Duluth remains our favorite ride. This segment passes near the Jay Cooke State Park (take the time to ride down into this scenic wonder)and over the St. Louis River gorge, then cuts through the rocks of Barden's Peak over Lake Superior's bay. In Duluth, you can hook the old Highway 61 trail to Two Harbors--very bike friendly, usually quiet, and a beautiful ride along the North Shore of Lake Superior. "
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