Tucked away in Duluth’s east end is a small refuge of undeveloped nature, Congdon Park, one of the reasons why Duluth was named a top 10 city to live in by Outdoor Magazine in 2001. A landscape engineer named A.U. Morrell of New York City wrote“There is no combination of stream and hillsides, woodland, waterfall and canyon in or near any other American city that is capable of development for beauty and utility comparing with that lying on both sides of Tischer Creek.”For these reasons, Chester A. Congdon donated the Congdon Park property to the city. Now local dogs pull their owners along the park’s windy creek, students take the trails home or skip classes to hang out by the water… but this gem in Duluth is seldom enjoyed.
While growing up, this was one of my favorite places to escape to since it was only a couple blocks from my childhood home. I can remember jumping from rock to rock and scrambling over the waterfalls as I followed Tischer Creek up the hill. This is one of the places I loved to take my grandfather’s old Minolta SRT202 (circa 1972) to learn photographic techniques. Because of these memories I decided to go back last August and was surprised to find that it was actually more beautiful than I ever remembered. I wondered why I only ran into a few people during the 3-4hrs I spent exploring.
The trails start at E. Superior St. just across from Congdon Park Elementary School and go up the hill to Vermillion Rd. by Mount Royal Shopping Center. There are essentially two trails: one follows the creek with a few breaks here and there and the second trail runs above the creek’s gorge along an asphalt service road. Tischer Creek is home to beautiful and intimate waterfalls. While they are no more than 2-8 ft. tall, they can serve as subjects for unique photographs and are large enough to produce some calming, babbling creek noise to calm you as you read a book or process your thoughts.
Here is a trail map from the City of Duluth’s website. MAP