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Wade Ellett says this spot will have you feeling like you really got away … but it’s actually in Bettendorf!

Got an hour for lunch? Outdoor blogger Wade Ellett teams up with LMQC editors to offer a few nearby QC parks where you can stretch your legs and see the sky! Ben Williamson Park, Rock Island, IL 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. 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. Longview Park, Rock Island, IL Longview Park, which celebrated its 100th birthday in 2008, has many wonderful features, including Whitewater Junction, pickleball courts, a disc golf course and walking paths. Come for activities, or bring your lunch for dining al fresco away from your desk! Stephens Park Moline, IL Barely more than a mile from downtown Moline, Stephens Park is a cool little refuge if you need to spend a little time in nature but don’t have the time to run away to the woods. Sure, you’ll find ball diamonds and playground equipment, but there’s also 1.25 miles of trail waiting for you in Stephens Park. Perfectly suited for beginner or intermediate mountain biking, trail-running, or just a little time day-hiking, the trails here are great way to spend an hour or 2. Ben Butterworth Parkway, Moline, IL This beautiful parkway stretches alongside the Mississippi River, connecting Rock Island and East Moline and points north. Whether you plan to walk, roll or sit, it presents the full beauty of our QC life. Phipps Prairie Park  Silvis, IL Tucked away in southeast Silvis, Phipps Prairie Park starts out as a pleasant little park with a small playground and a nice picnic shelter. But if you keep walking past these, you’ll discover 2 different woodland nature trails that meet in the middle of a wonderful tall grass prairie. Here you can watch bees and butterflies flit from wildflower to wildflower as hummingbirds fly past you. This is a beautiful spot that will make you feel like you’re walking through a prairie hundreds of miles from anywhere. (Google Maps or your GPS may try to take you to the entrance that’s only accessible by foot or on bicycle, so if you’re driving make sure to turn south on 12th street from Avenue of the Cities/Colona Road, and you’ll be there in just a minute or 2.) Crow Creek Park Bettendorf, IA Crow Creek is a pretty amazing Bettendorf park. Besides playing fields, a skate and bike park, playground equipment, and picnic shelters, it also has a beautiful walking path and cross country trail. A particularly beautiful spot is the quarry, which is down the hill from the dog park (and also on the walking trail). 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. Vander Veer Botanical Park, Davenport, IA Since its establishment in 1885, gardens and floral displays have been a tradition at this beautiful 33 acre park, inviting visitors to stroll from the Conservatory to the Stone Fountain. The park grounds are home to an extensive collection of gardens and trees, including many planted during the early 1890’s. Enjoy a sack lunch on a bench along the Grand Allee or as you watch the ducks cavort in the pond! Schuetzen Park Historic Site, Davenport, IA Schuetzen Park is 24 acres and privately owned, but open to the public during daylight hours. 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! Indian Springs Davenport, IA Indian Springs is just a simple green space with shade next to the Village of East Davenport. If you walk in far enough, you’ll enjoy a cool view of elevated railroad tracks. There is space enough for kids to play if they want to throw a ball or a frisbee around, but this is also a nice spot for adults to visit. You can relax in the shade and have a picnic with friends, or take a few minutes to sit and meditate.
Meet Wade Ellett, Let’s Move Quad Cities Outdoor Blogger. Wade is an outdoor adventurer who shares his passion for QC outdoor adventures here! Read his other posts by clicking here.