We all want to get out of the house this time of year, but we might not want to stomp around in the mud. Here are 5 QC-area parks with paved paths that fit the bill (and a couple of them have great playgrounds, too)!
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. Later in the season, 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.
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.
Crow Creek Park Bettendorf, IA
Crow Creek is a pretty amazing Bettendorf park. It has just about everything you might need for recreation!
You’ll find a lovely paved walking path that winds through some tall grasses and woods. Elsewhere in the park are softball, baseball, and soccer fields, DekHockey, skate and bike parks, playground equipment, and a cross country trail in addition to the picnic shelters.
It also has a great dog park. If you’ve got your own 4-legged member of the family, this is a great place to bring them to go wild for a few hours. Don’t worry if your best friend is a little small, because there’s a section just for smaller dogs too. If you’re just a dog lover, feel free to come and watch, just be sure to ask permission before petting or playing.
One of the best kept secrets for great walking is our own Hennepin Canal State Trail. Its towpath is scenic for walkers, runners, and cyclists. The best part for those on foot: it’s easy on the knees and flat!
Opened in 1907, the Hennepin Canal is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and its intended purpose was to connect the Mississippi River and the Illinois River.
While it was only mildly successful as a means of transportation, its rebirth as a recreational waterway has made the Hennepin Canal a highlight of the region. It extends from Princeton, IL, through various communities including Geneseo, Colona, and Milan.
The Hennepin has many supporters and if you’re interested, visit the Friends of Hennepin website for their hikes and other events.
Try Davenport’s 33-acre Vander Veer park for a fun day of strolling indoors and out!
Paved walking paths wind throughout the park, leading to the lagoon, a fantastic playground, a fountain and an old stone bridge under which a troll just might be lurking.
After your walk or run, check out the conservatory! There, you’ll find a beautiful array of seasonal flowers, scents, and balmy warmth. Benches provide a welcome place to rest after your walk.
Vander Veer is located at 215 W Central Park in Davenport. Conservatory hours are 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, Tuesday through Sunday. Closed on Monday.
A paved path climbs up into one of the most beautiful spots in the Quad Cities.
Here you’ll find both prairie and woods. With a little luck, you’ll see an owl or pileated woodpecker!
The wooded trails are too soft and muddy to explore now, but cyclists and hikers enjoy them in dryer times. Equestrian trails are also popular with the horse-riding crowd.
You might have trouble getting your crew up the path in the first place, though. An amazing new obstacle course has been installed next to the parking lot. It’s for kids (and adults) over 13 years of age. Amazing!
Wherever you go on these warming days, go somewhere outdoors … and have fun!