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Running throughout Iowa City and the surrounding area, the Iowa River Corridor Trail provides residents and visitors alike with an invaluable off-road means of getting around the city. The trail has several distinct segments and is often more of a sidepath than a traditional multi-use trail, especially the northern end of the trail, but there's no better way to experience the numerous city parks and gorgeous river views on its route.
Starting in the south, the trail begins in the scenic, wooded Terry Trueblood Recreation Area, and heads north along the shady river shoreline through Napoleon Park, which offers parking and restrooms. The trail continues north, hugging the river, and crosses Ralston Creek, where it turns to follow the creek for a short jaunt before crossing over the river at Benton Street. The trail continues without interruption for several miles along the western bank, heading through the sprawling and beautiful campus of the University of Iowa. Trail users may wish to cross back over the river via a pedestrian bridge and head south for a quick detour to check out the city's historic downtown district and the university's main library.
The trail heads north into City Park, a large and beautiful space that hosts a variety of recreational activities. Crossing Park Road, the trail continues next to Dubuque Street, gradually moving away from the river as it turns into a sidepath on Foster Road and heads west. Users can either continue on Foster Road through the Elks Lodge grounds and golf course to reach Crandic Park at the bend in the river, or can turn onto Mackinaw Drive and head through a residential subdivision to pick up the trail along the river again and head into Waterworks Prairie Park.
At this point, the trail becomes essentially a sidepath, continuing north on Dubuque Street and heading all the way into the suburb of North Liberty. This stretch may not be as scenic as the trail's beginnings, but it does provide a useful commuting route for residents.
Free public parking for the Iowa River Corridor Trail is available at Napoleon Park, City Park, Ned Ashton Park, and Crandic Park.
To reach the trailhead in Napoleon Park from out of town, take I-80 towards Iowa City. Use exit 246 to get on State Route 1 heading south, and continue on SR-1 as it turns into Dodge Street. Proceed until Dodge Street ends, and turn right onto Kirkwood Ave. Cross a set of railroad tracks, then turn left onto S Gilbert Street. Continue on Gilbert Street, across Hwy 6, and Napoleon Park will be on the right.
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