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The Duck Creek Recreational Trail, also known as Duck Creek Parkway Trail, traverses three riverfront cities in the Quad Cities region of eastern Iowa, offering residents the opportunity for a peaceful stroll, bike ride, or stress-free commute. While the mighty Mississippi River, just south, is never within sight, the trail offers its own peaceful water views, as the path’s namesake is never more than a stone’s throw away.
Start at Emeis Park on the western side of Davenport, the largest of the five Quad Cities—an oxymoronic misnomer. The sprawling park offers several ballfields, a golf course, and a well-marked trailhead. Leaving the park, the trail quickly joins Duck Creek, which is slightly more narrow here than at the eastern end of the trail. As you proceed east, you’ll realize why this trail is so popular with locals: spurs provide access to almost every nearby neighborhood street, and more than a handful of city parks line the route.
Junge Park and Garfield Park are two of the larger parks; both offer ballfields, picnic tables, and playgrounds. Several trail bridges over Duck Creek provide opportunities for gazing at the wildlife below, including ducks, which firmly understand this is their creek. After the trail passes safely under I-74, the creek—wider at this point as it cuts through Bettendorf—and trail follow each other even more closely, guaranteeing additional waterfowl encounters. The only interruptions to this serenity are the occasional at-grade road crossings, although quick-to-respond trail signals and law-abiding vehicular traffic will have you moving on your way in no time.
At the trail’s eastern end in the small manufacturing city of Riverdale, a massive aluminum plant looms ahead. Here a small trailhead welcomes trail users, although directional signage to a key connection is lacking; a short jaunt south on low-stress South Kensington Street leads to the Mississippi River Trail which provides easy access to the Mississippi River and downtown Davenport.
To access the western trailhead at Emeis Park in Davenport from I-280, take Exit 4, and head east on Locust St. After 1.7 miles, turn left onto Emeis Park Ave., and proceed to the end of the street. Look for parking on your left at the Emeis Golf Course, immediately adjacent to the trail’s starting point.
To access the eastern trailhead in Riverdale from I-74 heading north, take Exit 4, and turn right (east) onto State St./US 67. After 2 miles, turn right onto S. Kensington St. A small, paved parking lot and trailhead are located immediately to your right after the intersection.
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