NMTC runs tend to take on titles that reflect the personality of their course. So, while this route heads out to the end of what’s commonly called Park Point, it was aptly named the NMTC Point Pine Run – as the title encompasses two important aspects of the surroundings.
First, the course follows Minnesota Point. So, we have the “Point” part covered, but let’s throw this out there as well. Combined with Wisconsin Point, this stretch comprises the largest freshwater sandbar in the world. No kidding. Now that’s a nice conversation starter at a party. The “Pine” aspect honors the fact that much of the run flows through old-growth White and Red Pine, some of which is over 200 years old.
This out-and-back route starts at the end of Minnesota Ave. on Park Point, and follows the well-established Minnesota Point Hiking Trail, 2 miles out and 2 miles back. And we hear ya’, you trail runners want an elevation profile. So, here you go:
OK, we kid. But not much. Not a lot of up and down here – 60 ft. of calf-crushing gain and loss over 4 miles, about a foot at a time. But, don’t worry, the trail will throw in a little sandy surprise to make up for the lack of grade.
Along the way you’ll note a couple interesting structures. Almost at the end stand the ruins of the Minnesota Point Lighthouse, constructed in 1858. It operated for 20 years under a single keeper before being abandoned in 1878. Nearby is the old U.S. Lighthouse Station Depot, a concrete structure that once was used to store buoys and the acetylene used in batteries for the lighthouse back in Canal Park.
And, of course, the trail’s most distinguishing feature lies just north. We hear there’s a big lake there…