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Wade on the Trail with his dog

Bettendorf, Davenport and Rock Island all have great hidden parks, just waiting to be discovered. Wade Ellett previews them here, for your next nearby outdoor adventure!

by Wade Ellett, Let’s Move Quad Cities Outdoors Blogger

Pigeon Creek Park, Bettendorf, IA

Pigeon Creek Park is a great stop if you’re looking to spend a little time outdoors and you can’t venture too far. You may very well forget that you’re not out in the middle of nowhere as you wander the trails.

You’ll start on a paved walkway, but before long this will give way to trail.

Keep an eye out for perched Eagles in the woodland. But keep your distance. Signs ask that you stay 300 feet away from any nested eagles here to encourage them to make themselves comfortable.

One trail will lead to a small pavilion where you can look out over a marsh. Another will lead to the Mississippi River, and a bench on a small peninsula looking out across the river.

There are some great spots here along the river to sit and enjoy the sun, have a little picnic, or even cast a few lines if you’re in the mood for some fishing. Whatever your pleasure, Pigeon Creek is well worth a visit.

How to get there: The park is located north on I-67 off Shoreline Drive along the Mississippi River and situated just about halfway between the I-74 and I-80 bridges.

Schuetzen Park Historic Site, Davenport, IA

Schuetzen Park is 24 acres and privately owned, but open to the public during daylight hours. I highly encourage you to head that way for a nice stroll in the woods.

Out and about on the trail through the park, you’ll find a very interesting circa-1911 Egyptian Revival style streetcar pavilion. It’s the only original structure left in the park.

Originally this served as a waiting station for patrons who rode the street car to and from Schuetzen Park, but now it’s listed on the Davenport Register of Historic Properties with ongoing restoration beginning in 2011.

Beyond the waiting station, the trails go up and down stairwells and loop around the park in such a way that the whole area feels much larger than you’d expect at first glance.

You’ll find some benches along the way if you care for a sit, and though we didn’t see much in the way of wildlife during our visit, we saw many signs of animals in the area.

If you’re interested in the history of the park and the German settlers in the area who originally created it as a shooting range, head over to the park’s website, where you can learn about the history and culture of Schuetzen Park.

How to get there: Schuetzen Park Historic Site is located in west Davenport, off Waverly and just north of Telegraph Road. The park shares a parking lot with the Davenport Good Samaritan Center.

Ben Williamson Park, Rock Island, IL

During the summer, this is the venue for the Backwater Gamblers Water Ski Show, but this 40-acre park has plenty to offer off-season, too!

Ben Williamson Park is the trail head for a wonderful little bike path with two forks. The first will take you across the Rock River, meeting up with the Hennepin Canal path in Milan.

The other will lead you from Rock Island to Moline. Much of the second will go alongside roads, but not before passing through a Bald Eagle nesting area and a wetland. Keep an eye out for frogs on the path!

The path is evenly paved and is great for walking, running, biking, or pushing a stroller. The path itself would easily accommodate wheelchairs, but use caution! The parking area and lot leading to the beginning of the bike path have a lot of potholes at the moment!

Though you can see the beautiful Rock River, and maybe spy some wildlife, the sounds of civilization are never far away.

Still, this is a great little path and an enjoyable stop if you’ve only got a little time and you’re nearby.

How to get there: The park is located on the Rock River, off Blackhawk Road and 44th St., Rock Island.

by Wade Ellett, Let’s Move Quad Cities Outdoors Blogger

Pigeon Creek Park, Bettendorf, IA

Pigeon Creek Park is a great stop if you’re looking to spend a little time outdoors and you can’t venture too far. You may very well forget that you’re not out in the middle of nowhere as you wander the trails.

You’ll start on a paved walkway, but before long this will give way to trail.

Keep an eye out for perched Eagles in the woodland. But keep your distance. Signs ask that you stay 300 feet away from any nested eagles here to encourage them to make themselves comfortable.

One trail will lead to a small pavilion where you can look out over a marsh. Another will lead to the Mississippi River, and a bench on a small peninsula looking out across the river.

There are some great spots here along the river to sit and enjoy the sun, have a little picnic, or even cast a few lines if you’re in the mood for some fishing. Whatever your pleasure, Pigeon Creek is well worth a visit.

How to get there: The park is located north on I-67 off Shoreline Drive along the Mississippi River and situated just about halfway between the I-74 and I-80 bridges.

Schuetzen Park Historic Site, Davenport, IA

Schuetzen Park is 24 acres and privately owned, but open to the public during daylight hours. I highly encourage you to head that way for a nice stroll in the woods.

Out and about on the trail through the park, you’ll find a very interesting circa-1911 Egyptian Revival style streetcar pavilion. It’s the only original structure left in the park.

Originally this served as a waiting station for patrons who rode the street car to and from Schuetzen Park, but now it’s listed on the Davenport Register of Historic Properties with ongoing restoration beginning in 2011.

Beyond the waiting station, the trails go up and down stairwells and loop around the park in such a way that the whole area feels much larger than you’d expect at first glance.

You’ll find some benches along the way if you care for a sit, and though we didn’t see much in the way of wildlife during our visit, we saw many signs of animals in the area.

If you’re interested in the history of the park and the German settlers in the area who originally created it as a shooting range, head over to the park’s website, where you can learn about the history and culture of Schuetzen Park.

How to get there: Schuetzen Park Historic Site is located in west Davenport, off Waverly and just north of Telegraph Road. The park shares a parking lot with the Davenport Good Samaritan Center.

Ben Williamson Park, Rock Island, IL

During the summer, this is the venue for the Backwater Gamblers Water Ski Show, but this 40-acre park has plenty to offer off-season, too!

Ben Williamson Park is the trail head for a wonderful little bike path with two forks. The first will take you across the Rock River, meeting up with the Hennepin Canal path in Milan.

The other will lead you from Rock Island to Moline. Much of the second will go alongside roads, but not before passing through a Bald Eagle nesting area and a wetland. Keep an eye out for frogs on the path!

The path is evenly paved and is great for walking, running, biking, or pushing a stroller. The path itself would easily accommodate wheelchairs, but use caution! The parking area and lot leading to the beginning of the bike path have a lot of potholes at the moment!

Though you can see the beautiful Rock River, and maybe spy some wildlife, the sounds of civilization are never far away.

Still, this is a great little path and an enjoyable stop if you’ve only got a little time and you’re nearby.

How to get there: The park is located on the Rock River, off Blackhawk Road and 44th St., Rock Island.

by Wade Ellett, Let’s Move Quad Cities Outdoors Blogger

Pigeon Creek Park, Bettendorf, IA

Pigeon Creek Park is a great stop if you’re looking to spend a little time outdoors and you can’t venture too far. You may very well forget that you’re not out in the middle of nowhere as you wander the trails.

You’ll start on a paved walkway, but before long this will give way to trail.

Keep an eye out for perched Eagles in the woodland. But keep your distance. Signs ask that you stay 300 feet away from any nested eagles here to encourage them to make themselves comfortable.

One trail will lead to a small pavilion where you can look out over a marsh. Another will lead to the Mississippi River, and a bench on a small peninsula looking out across the river.

There are some great spots here along the river to sit and enjoy the sun, have a little picnic, or even cast a few lines if you’re in the mood for some fishing. Whatever your pleasure, Pigeon Creek is well worth a visit.

How to get there: The park is located north on I-67 off Shoreline Drive along the Mississippi River and situated just about halfway between the I-74 and I-80 bridges.

Schuetzen Park Historic Site, Davenport, IA

Schuetzen Park is 24 acres and privately owned, but open to the public during daylight hours. I highly encourage you to head that way for a nice stroll in the woods.

Out and about on the trail through the park, you’ll find a very interesting circa-1911 Egyptian Revival style streetcar pavilion. It’s the only original structure left in the park.

Originally this served as a waiting station for patrons who rode the street car to and from Schuetzen Park, but now it’s listed on the Davenport Register of Historic Properties with ongoing restoration beginning in 2011.

Beyond the waiting station, the trails go up and down stairwells and loop around the park in such a way that the whole area feels much larger than you’d expect at first glance.

You’ll find some benches along the way if you care for a sit, and though we didn’t see much in the way of wildlife during our visit, we saw many signs of animals in the area.

If you’re interested in the history of the park and the German settlers in the area who originally created it as a shooting range, head over to the park’s website, where you can learn about the history and culture of Schuetzen Park.

How to get there: Schuetzen Park Historic Site is located in west Davenport, off Waverly and just north of Telegraph Road. The park shares a parking lot with the Davenport Good Samaritan Center.

Ben Williamson Park, Rock Island, IL

During the summer, this is the venue for the Backwater Gamblers Water Ski Show, but this 40-acre park has plenty to offer off-season, too!

Ben Williamson Park is the trail head for a wonderful little bike path with two forks. The first will take you across the Rock River, meeting up with the Hennepin Canal path in Milan.

The other will lead you from Rock Island to Moline. Much of the second will go alongside roads, but not before passing through a Bald Eagle nesting area and a wetland. Keep an eye out for frogs on the path!

The path is evenly paved and is great for walking, running, biking, or pushing a stroller. The path itself would easily accommodate wheelchairs, but use caution! The parking area and lot leading to the beginning of the bike path have a lot of potholes at the moment!

Though you can see the beautiful Rock River, and maybe spy some wildlife, the sounds of civilization are never far away.

Still, this is a great little path and an enjoyable stop if you’ve only got a little time and you’re nearby.

How to get there: The park is located on the Rock River, off Blackhawk Road and 44th St., Rock Island.

Wade Ellett

Wade Ellett

Outdoor Blogger and Pathfinder

Wade is an outdoor adventurer who shares his passion for QC outdoor adventures – he was a regular contributor to Let’s Move Quad Cities when he lived in the area between 2016 – 2019.