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Named for the U.S. Highway that the trail follows, the 218 Trail is far from the most scenic trail in the Waterloo area's impressive trail network, but it does form a very important connection in that network. Sandwiched between the busy highway and an active set of railroad tracks, the trail serves as a great example of making use of available space to provide transportation for a variety of uses.
The trail's northern end lies at the intersection of Westfield Avenue and Jefferson Street, which is also the intersection of the Sergeant Road Trail and the South Riverside Trail, allowing for convenient off-road travel all the way to Hudson or Cedar Falls, respectively. The 218 Trail continues down Jefferson Street and then swings out to run behind shops and restaurants on Washington Street. Nearby attractions include the Dan Gable Museum, a branch of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, the city's public library, and a whole host of eateries in the city's charming riverside urban center. Continuing southeast, the trail meets up with the railroad tracks (separated by a chain-link fence) and the highway - a tree-lined urban route that is fairly pretty for a highway and does feature traffic lights to aid at crossings, but nonetheless makes for a less than scenic companion to the trail. The trail turns northeast across the railroad tracks at 18th Street, providing a connection to the Riverview Recreation Area Trail, which offers both lovely views of the Cedar River and a means to access the Riverview Recreation Area on the city's southeastern edge. With all of its connections to area trails and popular downtown destinations, the 218 Trail is a valuable amenity for commuters, residents, and visitors alike.
No dedicated parking is provided for this trail; be sure to follow any posted parking signs on the street or in lots along the route of the trail.
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