Published July 27, 2009, 01:25 PM

Discover Duluth: Return to Park Point Nature Trail

The photo essay series "Discover Duluth" returns to the site of its first outing, Park Point Nature Trail.

By: Matthew R. Perrine, Budgeteer News

Thanks to our unseasonably cool weather, it’s a great time to skip the swimming beaches and enjoy Duluth’s numerous nature areas and hiking trails.

Earlier this month, we revisited one of our favorites: Park Point Nature Trail.

If you haven’t been there before, dodge the starry-eyed tourists in Canal Park, hop over the Aerial Lift Bridge and follow Minnesota Avenue all the way to its terminus (there is a parking lot before the road ends at Sky Harbor Airport). The trail starts between the lakeside dunes and the airport.

Minnesota Point, one of the world’s largest freshwater sandbars, is home to popular beaches and some interesting lakeside architecture, but its real calling card is the ain’t-none-higher nature trail all the way at its eastern tip, just a short (not-so-recommended) swim from Wisconsin Point.

It has the best of many worlds: old-growth trees, relaxing beaches, sandy dunes, views of “Big Blue,” seagulls galore and the unrivalled bliss of an open field. It’s a slice of nirvana right outside one of our fair city’s busiest areas.

However, although the healthy six-mile jaunt is full of natural beauty and neat-o abandoned structures — including the lighthouse and depot pictured in the attached photo galleries — its location between two active port cities unfortunately also means its beaches are home to numerous pieces of debris and garbage. Case in point: the washed-up recliner I encountered during my December ’06 photo shoot on the trail is still there, though in a slightly more decrepit state.

Nevertheless, you can always make your next hike a constructive one as well and bring along your trash-terminating gear. Be a good Duluthian and do our planet a solid.

“Discover Duluth” is an ongoing photo essay series by Matthew R. Perrine that highlights points of interest in and around the region. For more photos from this set, click on the accompanying photo galleries.