If you are following in blog order, this section is out of order. Use the links.
After the strenuous section from Magney-Snively to the Zoo, we decided to set our sights a little lower and do a 2.3 mile long section from the Zoo to the bottom of “the hill”. If you drive into Duluth, you will know what they are referring to as “the hill”. On the highway, you pass Spirit Mountain and get a spectacular vista of Lake Superior then descend that mountain and see the industry that built up along the port. If you keep driving into downtown, you’ll see how they put that highway underneath street level and integrated the city into the lake shore. But let’s get back to hiking.
We got off the highway at Central Ave just before that tight turn at the bottom of the hill. Find the trail-head at Greene St and N 63rd Ave W by snaking around in the residential neighborhood north of the businesses and staying close to the highway but on the Duluth city side of it. The trail goes
underneath the highway back to the Zoo, or go past the spooky looking house to go north up the hill then eventually east. Look for the cement barrier to find a section that leads back to the paved trail if you want to technically cover every inch of the SHT. Otherwise, use the paved trail to go under the highway and look for the trail veering north almost immediately. But don't back under the highway or you're just back to the trail-head again.
We drove back to the Zoo to start our day hike, see the previous section for the Waseca St trailhead.
By starting at the Zoo, we climbed most of the altitude for this day in about 20 minutes then had a nice slope down from there to the highway. As you go, you’ll see more and more city and less and less nature. But they are still great views. The fauna is mostly aspen and mostly young growth, nothing like the well preserved section of Kingsbury creek. You are closer to population and likely to see more runners too, although on this beautiful day on a weekend, we saw no one until the very end.
Because of the bridge that is out at the north end of Kingsbury creek, be sure to stay to the east side. There are two bridges at the start of the trail. The first one, right off the trail-head, will say that the SHT is on the west side. Your choice to follow that or not. You’ll have one more that crosses back over the creek. The trail looks a bit like a forest road on the east side at times, but just use the creek to navigate and you can’t go wrong.
There are very few spurs or intersecting trails here and unless you are fogged in, you’ll always know where you are even if you forgot your compass.