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“Easy, scenic trail” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Willard Munger State Trail

Marshalltown, Iowa
Level Contributor
99 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Easy, scenic trail”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 28, 2013

My husband has just gotten back into biking following some major health problems, and this was the perfect trail for him. It is flat, paved and scenic in the area we rode from Carlton to Duluth and back. The gorge just east of Carlton has a beautiful bridge from which to appreciate the scene, and bike racks you can lock your bike to while you walk down to the gorge. We camped at the KOA just east of Carlton and rode the wide, paved shoulder up to the trail.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Dee D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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51 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Madison, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
71 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Lovely paved trail”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 4, 2013

Really beautiful trail that runs for 63 miles from Hinkley to Duluth. The entire thing is paved, although there are a few spots where the pavement got washed out by the floods of 2012. There was dirt/ gravel in those sections, which were no more than 200 feet in any one spot. Easily rideable with a road bike, as long as you are careful. I am assuming those spots will be repaved, as there is fresh asphalt in many sections. There are also some areas that have bumps and cracks, but it looks like they are marked for repair.

West of the park road by about a mile you cross the St Louis River, which as noted by others is spectacular. If you only do that bit, it would be worth it. The river bridge is also only about 2 miles from Carlton, so you can access it that way. There are nice bike racks (Thanks MN DNR!) if you want to lock up and walk down to the river or take photos.

East of the park road you ride along the Forebay canal/lake, which emptied in a breach and cut a 150 foot gap in Hwy 210. The trail is probably the best place to see the damage, since you are above it. They are supposed to start refilling the canal in fall 2013, but it was still empty as of Labor Day.

I didn’t go all the way to Duluth, which is 13 miles. There is a slight downhill towards Duluth, so be aware of that: You still have to ride back, and it is just a little harder going west. But being an old RR bed, the grade is very slight, unnoticeable to most people.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank WiscPedalGal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oshkosh, Wisconsin, United States
Level Contributor
40 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Two different trail types”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 23, 2013

We biked from Hinkley to Carlton on the first day. Very flat, mainly open with views of farm fields. Second day biked from Carlton to Duluth and back, very scenic, more rolling hills, much more beautiful than the first day. No places right off the trail to stop for refreshments unlike the Hinckley to Carlton stretch. Recommend stopping at The Streetcar in Carlton for a good meal and Joe Jitters in Moose Lake.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Sherry L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shoreview, Minnesota
Level Contributor
67 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Flat, Fast and scenic”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 12, 2013

We just did the southern half of the Willard Munger Trail this past weekend. The trip from Hinkley to Barnum was very easy and enjoyable. Most of the people that we talked to seemed to think that this was the "boring" part of the trail, but we found it to be delightful! The trail crosses three or four rivers and the scenery is varied enough to capture your attention. At times, the trail is bordered by evergreens or birch trees, making a leafy tunnel through the woods. Gorgeous! There are towns at least every 10 miles and well-marked trailheads.

I would caution folks to bring a lot of water on this leg, as there are no water spigots at the trailheads that we could find. Not every stop has a bathoom, either. Willow Creek offers a really nice bathroom and parking lot. None in Finlayson. Hinkley is the southern trailhead and it only has a large porta-potty - no water or trash cans (which we found odd - specially when they warn you against throwing your trash away in the porta potty!) There are restaurants in Willow River, Moose Lake and Barnum (up by 35W) that did the trick. In a pinch there are lots of gas station/convenience stores, too (Finlayson has a nice one).

The trail is flat as can be, except for a mile or so around Finlayson. The ATV trails are off to the west, so you're not bothered too badly by the noise or dust. The trail is blacktopped and they've done a pretty good job of patching and maintaining the trail. We can't wait to do the northern half in the future!

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank NortonsMom12345
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Duluth, Minnesota
Level Contributor
49 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Everyday”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 8, 2013

Wonderful Trail for biking, hiking or skating. A gem. Pet friendly and safe. Trail mostly completely repaired.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank NewlandViking
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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