If you’re able to venture to Saint Paul before the snow flies here is a potential route worth checking out. Saint Paul Parks has built a spiffy new picnic shelter in Lilydale Park. The Saint Paul Classic has gone through Lilydale before and it’s quite a treat for anyone who has never visited.
Here is the route:
Cross the river on the I35E bike bridge and go east 100 yards or so on Highway 13. Take a right down the curving road to the Yacht Club and follow it into the park. Get on the trail going east and you will soon see the shelter on a rise to the left. A paved trail leads up to it. After your picnic lunch, continue east to Plato Boulevard. There are two options from there:
1. You can take a right on Plato and an immediate left on Water Street (it becomes Fillmore). Continue east to the Robert Street Bridge. Take a left and head back over the river. Take a right on Kellogg and then another right on Jackson to get back to the river and the Sam Morgan Trail. NOTE: While downtown, you could also explore the Capitol City Bikeway.
2. Get on the trail that starts at Plato and continue east on the levee following the river. After going under the Robert Street bridge look for the stairway and narrow ramp/walkway leading up to the Comcast building. A couple more rights will get you back to the Robert Street Bridge. (This route is more scenic but a little trickier than #1.)
I should also mention that the last stretch of Wheelock Parkway is being rebuilt next summer (between Edgerton and East Shore Drive). The best re-route is to use the trail along Lake Phalen to the Gateway Trail. This can also be used to make a lollipop loop from Lake Como.
Saint Paul Classic Ride Director Richard Arey