Description: This trail follows the old Milwaukee Road right of way in south Minneapolis, about a block north of Lake Street. The trail starts where the Southwest LRT trail ends, just north of the Whole Foods Market, and runs directly east to cross Hiawatha Avenue (Highway 55). It turns a little bit and then heads straight east until it hits the Mississippi River. There is also a spur that goes north along the LRT line to the Metrodome.
Getting there: This trail is probably easiest to access from intersections with other trails. On the west side, there is a trail access behind the new Whole Foods Market location, just south of Lake Street (about at the intersection of 31st and Chowen). The trail also has entrances at the connection to the Kenilworth Trail, Dean Parkway, East Calhoun Parkway (on the connector between the Lake Calhoun trail and the Lake of the Isles trail), Humboldt Ave., Bryant Ave., Nicollet Ave., 5th Ave. S., and other streets east of there.
Length: 4.2 miles from the west end (the junction with the Kenilworth and LRT Trails) to the intersection with Highway 55. 1.7 miles north from Highway 55 to the Metrodome.
Difficulty: Easy -- the trail is flat and smooth. There are separate lanes painted for bicyclists/skaters and pedestrians, though they aren't always separated. There are three road crossings in the Uptown area, where motorists are supposed to stop, but be on the lookout for cars.
Popularity/number of other users: This trail is popular, but not overcrowded.
Surface conditions: Good. The trail west of Hiawatha was paved around 2004 and is still smooth for the most part. The section east of Hiawatha is newer. Occasionally, sand will wash onto the trail, but this has improved a lot since the trail was under construction.
Scenery: The western portion of the trail is the most scenic, with views of Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles. Getting into Uptown and east of that area, the scenery tends to go away, and the trail is in the middle of the canyon created by the railroad. There are several neighborhood gardens planted along the trail, though, and the trail has spurred some redevelopment.
Nearby restaurants: There are plenty of restaurants in the Uptown area, such as the Smiling Moose, Green Mill, Old Chicago, and Famous Dave's. There are many, many more, and it's almost impossible to go more than a block in the Uptown area without hitting a restaurant.
Water: There are no water fountains directly on the trail, but there is one on the northeast corner of Lake Calhoun and another near Lake of the Isles.
Other nearby trails: This trail connects to the Kenilworth Trail and the Southwest LRT Trail at the west end, and connects to the Lake of the Isles and Lake Calhoun trails about midway through. At Hiawatha, the trail connects with spur trails that follow the LRT tracks north to the Metrodome or south to Minnehaha Falls. On the east end, the trail connects to the West River Road trail, newly repaved as of fall 2009.
Comments: A good, well-connected urban trail in the heart of Uptown. It also has a strong community following and good involvement from the nearby neighborhoods.
Links: See the Midtown Greenway Coalition site.
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