Thursday, July 26, 2012

Biking Manitowoc, Wisconsin's Mariners Trail

Mariners Trail runs from Manitowoc to Two Rivers and delights bikers with 6 paved miles of unending vistas of beaches, parks, and enchanting waters of Lake Michigan. Along the way, at all the parking lots along Memorial Drive and Maritime Drive (same road, different town) boast lovely, well-maintained, colorful trailside gardens and public art pieces, as you travel between the downtown  of Manitowoc on the south and Two Rivers on the north.  There are no road crossings along the route (just a few driveways) as the trail hugs the lakeshore with the road on the west as seen here...

The route is easy and pleasant being relatively straight and flat with numerous parks and restaurants along the way offering places to rest and dine. And when you are not passing through a park, you'll be delighted by the profusion of wildflowers between the lake and the trail. The downtown of Manitowoc is visible in the distance in the photo below...

Rest benches are available all along the trail, all dedicated in someone's memory, and art sculptures like the bald eagle below, and elsewhere a trio of dancing sandhill cranes, are two examples of the trail art you'll see. Mileage posts every half mile let you know how far you are from each downtown, and several places have mounted telescopes to view the other shore of Lake Michigan.

In Two Rivers, you'll see directional signs leading you to the gravel Rawley Point Trail that will take you 5 additional miles to and through Point Beach State Forest's pine and hemlock forests, dunes, and fields.  Unfortunately, the bridge in downtown Two Rivers to get you to the Rawley trail is closed and under reconstruction.

Washroom facilities are available just south of the lighthouse, another halfway down the trail, and a third at the Two Rivers parking lot.

The Manitowoc Breakwater Light is a short detour off the trail just north of the downtown. You can bike to the breakwater and walk the rest of the way and then climb the few stairs to the first level.

On the far south end of the trail in Manitowoc, trail-goers also have access to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, where visitors can learn about the sailing and shipbuiding heritage of the region. In 1939, President Roosevelt called Charles West, president of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company and requested they build submarines for the war effort. Eventually, 7000 workers in three shifts, operating 24/7, built 28 subs.  Four of these subs went down with 336 officers and men.  The Cobia, one of the Manitowoc subs, is on display here and can be toured from the museum.

Parking can be found at Lake Shore Park (Memorial Drive, Two Rivers) and Lakeview Park (Maritime Drive, Manitowoc).


Mariners Trail (Friends of Mariners Trail)

Rawley Point Trail (Friends of Point Beach)

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Hi Chuck! This is Jenny Otto. I am going to be leaving the state of WI in two week to ride my bicycle solo to Prescott, AZ if I do not die before getting there. I am going to take the Badger State Trail to the Jane Addams trail. Do you have any advice for me? This is my first time ever doing anything like this. Here is my email address~

I hope you are have a beautiful and fabulous day wherever you are!