The Ashland Rails to Trails System (ARTS) and Waterfront trail is a “Must See” in Ashland. At 11.5 miles, this asphalted pedestrian trail takes you along Lake Superior’s shoreline past historic structures, public art displays, fishing piers, public beaches, playgrounds, and other recreation amenities.
Ashland’s Waterfront trail, is a multimodal system open to bikers, walkers, runners, and is ADA compliant. From west to east, along the waterfront, a pedestrian can start at Prentice Park and visit seven City Parks. Continuing along the trail, you hit Maslowski Beach, with 1,700 feet of beautiful beaches, an artesian well, pavilion, playground, and picnic areas.
Next on the trip is 6th Ave Beach, a public swimming beach and home to an underpass tunnel (Ed Griffiths Pedestrian Pass) that runs under highway 2, linking the waterfront to our historic downtown. The tunnel is decorated with a mosaic mural celebrating the Indigenous people of the area and ecosystem designed and created by local artists and community members. Back to the trail…..
From there you will travel past the Hotel Chequamegon/Best Western, north of the Hotel Chequamegon is the Ashland Marina, with 121 slips for mooring and a good starting point to explore Lake Superior by boat. Next-door is Kreher Park, a City park home to a boat launch, a 32-site RV campground, pavilion, public swimming beach, and playground. This is a little spot of paradise on the shores of Lake Superior. At one time Ashland was known as the “Garland City of the North” Remnants of these industries can be seen along the shoreline, the most impressive is the Ashland Oredock.
To the east of the Ashland Oredock are colorful historic boathouses, one of the few remaining artifacts of the fishing villages that, 100 years ago, were scattered along the Ashland shoreline.
From there, the trail takes you to Bayview Park, the last park along the waterfront portion, Bayview Park provides a beautiful 17-acre space with a new ADA accessible fishing, viewing, and swimming pier. You can even take a plunge off the Bayview Pier diving board!
Then the trail takes you to the middle of town and to the 5th St. Corridor. The 5th St. Corridor is a former railroad grade turned pedestrian trail taking you past Hodgkin’s Ball Park with three ball fields and the Ashland Dog Park. The Ashland Dog Park is a one acre fenced in area that is perfect for owners and dogs to play and get some exercise off leash. Traveling on, you will reach a bridge that takes you over Bay City Creek.
Continuing along you will go past the Ashland Fire Station and reach Central Railyard Park with access to downtown Ashland, where you can visit the many murals that adorn the City’s historical buildings, known as the Mural Walk and the Mural Brick road. Central Railyard Park is home to the Ashland Skate Park, locally famous Purple Park, the Bretting Community Center, a tennis court, and two ball fields.
Continuing west along the trail, you will pass thru residential areas to Sanborn Ave. Finish your tour of the trail, by diagonally crossing the road to Junction Road and make your way back to Prentice Park.