Duluth can boast of something most cities could only dream of. The Duluth Lakewalk, or Boardwalk, as it’s sometimes called, is the most picturesque trail in the city. It stretches over four miles along the shoreline of Lake Superior and the North Shore Scenic Railroad takes a few daily trips along the Lakewalk; part of the fun is waving to the passengers on board.
As you can see above, there is both a paved section of the Lakewalk for rollerbladers, cyclists and runners, and a wooden boardwalk for pedestrians.
The scenic path begins at the Bayfront Park Pavilion, just to the west of the DECC (Duluth Entertainment Convention Center) on the water’s edge. You will walk past the Great Lakes Aquarium, a fairly new attraction in the city of Duluth. The walk then takes you through the Canal Park area of Duluth, where you will find the famous Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge and the Lake Superior Marine Museum. Here, there are many retail stores, restaurants, ice cream shops and more. Many benches line the Lakewalk, and there are historic plaques explaining ship artifacts and other interesting spots along the waterfront.
For example, there is a white band-shell shaped Vietnam Memorial (as you can see in the photo on the right) that stands as a reminder of the local heroes that have fallen in the Vietnam War. There is also a Korean Veteran’s Memorial nearby, stating the names of residents who served in the Korean War.
On a lighter note, the next sight you come across is Fitger’s Brewery Complex, an eclectic mix of restaurants, creative shops, bookstores and a four star hotel. It was once the largest brewery in the area, but was closed down in 1972; it was later renovated and reopened as the complex it is today in 1984. As you walk through it, you can still see reminders of days gone by, including copper beer vats for brewing, old brick walls, and even an old transport tunnel. Visiting Fitger’s is a very enjoyable experience for the whole family.
After you pass Fitger’s, you will see a stretch of shops above the Duluth Lakewalk, including the popular Portland Malt Shoppe. Once an old gas station, this serves up the richest malts in town. Ice cream cones and sundaes are also on the menu. Eventually you’ll reach Leif Erikson Park, named after the early Viking explorer. It’s a great place to sight-see and to just plain relax. Take the footbridge up from the park to get to Duluth’s Rose Garden and you can view nearly 3000 rose bushes and thousands of other flowers and plants.
If you decide to walk the whole Duluth Lakewalk towards the east, you will find yourself walking underneath busy London Road and over to the Lakewalk Extension. It goes for a few more miles all the way to Brighton Beach (Thanks John)! You will walk alongside the railroad tracks and past Tischer Creek, which is near Glensheen Mansion. One of the prettiest vistas is a breathtaking view overlooking the creek from atop an iron and wooden bridge. This portion winds through neighborhoods and finally ends up in Kitchi Gammi Park.
The Duluth Lakewalk provides such a unique opportunity to access so many different historical and entertainment attractions that Duluth has to offer. For this reason, it is extremely popular with tourists and locals alike. The many different beautiful views of Lake Superior and Duluth doesn’t hurt either!