DWP Trail Corridor

Project Status: Construction Maintenance

Background Information: The city-owned, abandoned, Duluth Winnipeg, and Pacific (DWP) railroad corridor is currently used as an informal trail.  The 100 ft. wide corridor (wider in some locations) runs continuously for about 10 miles from 63rd Street West to Becks Road, and eventually under I-35 to Proctor.  The DWP is a very scenic route high above the river estuary and the Munger Trail with several stone, steel, and wooden trestles and a tunnel under Elys Peak.  The corridor provides an excellent opportunity for a multi-use regional trail in Duluth.  Significant restoration and repair is needed on the trestles, rail bed, and tunnel.  Because of the wide right-of-way, the hardened nature of the former rail bed and its gentle grade, the DWP corridor is potentially suitable for biking, hiking/running, cross-country skiing, scenic slow-speed snowmobiling, and snowshoeing.  The DWP acts as a spine for planned western Duluth trail networks, being one of the few places these user groups can traverse Magney Snively Natural Area without damaging the sensitive ecosystem. 

Active Projects:

Stewart Creek Bridge: Restoration and stabilization of the former DWP railroad bridge will provide safe passage over Stewart Creek and includes replacement of deteriorated decking with modern wood decking, restoration of flood damaged concrete abutments, and installation of cable railings for fall protection. Bridge restoration will benefit diverse user groups and act as a critical connection to the accessible DWP Trail, the Superior Hiking Trail and the Duluth Traverse multi-use bike trail.

The Clyde Connector Trail: Construction and restoration of this trail will reestablish multi-use access to the State’s Munger Trail, Skyline Parkway, Western Waterfront Trail, Superior Hiking Trail, and the Duluth Traverse, while contributing to a 9-mile equestrian loop.

Infrastructure: Repairs include re-grading the DWP trail crossing at West Skyline to meet accessibility slope standards, repairing a large washout between Ely’s and Bardon Peaks, lining and replacing culverts, installation of gates at access points to restrict access to walkers and bikers in the summer, and grading and removal of vegetation from the trail surface to improve drainage and allow emergency, maintenance and construction vehicle access.

Outstanding Infrastructure Needs: Sargent Creek Bridge restoration, proactive rock removal from trail surface, rock cuts and tunnel.

Construction Schedule: 

Stewart Creek Bridge: Construction is underway and will be complete June 30, 2018.

Clyde Connector Trail: Construction is underway and will be complete June 30, 2018.

Infrastructure Repairs: Infrastructure improvements will begin in spring 2018 and will be complete by November 2018.

*Outstanding infrastructure needs must be fixed before the trail can be opened for public use.

Public Engagement Process: The current construction and restoration efforts are addressing critical infrastructure repairs such as culverts and washouts that have been neglected.

This planning process would go beyond critical infrastructure and address topics and concerns collected from previous planning efforts such as the Duluth Traverse Mini-Master Plan (2017), St. Louis River Corridor Trails Plan (2016), and the Trails and Bikeway Plan (2011). At this time, planning efforts will produce a document that highlights feedback from the public. This document will guide future design and development that goes beyond the current focus on safety and deferred maintenance repairs.

Topics and concerns collected during previous planning efforts include, but are not limited to:

  • trail width and surface materials
  • user conflicts and trail intersections
  • signage options
  • parking and trail access points
  • supplemental tunnel lighting,
  • separate off-grade trail for user separation

The public engagement process aims to gather information citywide, as the DWP Corridor, once completed, will be a regionally significant trail, vetted by the community at-large. The engagement process will include

  • Two public meetings (mid-2018)
  • Stakeholder engagement with current and potential users
  • Smart Survey (restricts response by IP and email)
  • Open Comment Period (between public meeting sessions)

Important Documents:

Public Meeting Presentation 9.17.17

Public Meeting Presentation 4.5.18

St. Louis River Corridor Trails Plan



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Jim Shoberg
Senior Parks Planner
Parks and Recreation
411 West First Street
Duluth, MN 55802
(218) 730-4316


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