I’m not sure if this review counts as a “winter review” since it’s not usually 26 degrees with scant snow cover in January here, but it will for now. I’ll probably re-review it or update this review when we’ve gotten more snow. I will not be re-reviewing it when it’s colder because I will not be out there. Tomorrow the high is -5 so I probably won’t be out there anytime soon. I wore my shoe chains today and felt kind of stupid because it wasn’t very slick at all and the trail was almost entirely clear.
The Lakewalk is about 2.3 miles long and is a nice out-and-back. The terrain is predictable and there are only few small hills, so it’s a good trail to use as a benchmark for improvement. It also starts/ends right in Canal Park and winds through the backyard of most of the hotels and Leif Erickson Park, so it is always going to have people on it. It’s multi-use, with a boardwalk for walking along a portion of it, and blacktop for running (and walking past a certain point) or biking.
It’s unbelievably gorgeous on one side. I took this at the finish of my run today. It was snowing when I started and I was hoping to take a lovely picture of snow on the lake, but it stopped before I was done.
It also has some major drawbacks. Even though there’s a lovely view of the lake, it’s not a serene path. The freeway goes right alongside, as does the scenic railroad. The railroad went by me last summer when I was slogging along (the same night I found the cat) and I felt like an idiot. Past the two mile mark there’s some kind of sewage storage building that smells unpleasantly as you pass by. The smell doesn’t last very long and isn’t too terrible, but it detracts from the experience.
Parking in the public lots in Canal Park is free during the winter, and the lot at the far end of Canal Park by the Army Corps of Engineers museum is basically trailside parking. If you time your run right, you can watch a ship go through the canal with 200 of your closest tourist friends. Caribou Coffee and Amazing Grace bakery are nearby to grab a coffee or snack post-run.
Bottom line: the Lakewalk is a nice, predictable, non-technical trail with beautiful views of Lake Superior, but can be a little crowded or noisy.