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The Mississippi River Trail in Scott County resembles the setting of a Mark Twain novel as it travels 13.5 miles along its namesake within sight of barges, riverboats, and marine-related businesses and activities. The paved trail (part of the larger 3,000-mile Mississippi River Trail system)—comprising riverfront sections in Bettendorf, East Davenport, Davenport and Riverdale—also provides a platform to enjoy the riverfront parks, festivals and music events in Davenport that have added a spark to the revitalization of the Quad Cities. In addition to connecting with the 13-mile Duck Creek Recreational Trail in Bettendorf, trail users can also link up with 62-mile Great River Trail, across the river in Illinois, which reaches Savanna.
A good place to begin your journey is in Riverdale—once famous for its dairy and large herd of Holsteins. While the eastern endpoint for the trail begins at Fenno Road and State Street, you’ll find parking about 1.4 miles west, past the industrial area of Riverdale, at State Street and South Belling-ham Street. The trailhead is tucked next to a large aluminum factory and an active rail line. In 0.4 mile, the South Kensington Road crossing affords a connection to the Duck Creek Recreation Trail.
After winding past some waterfront facilities for river commerce for nearly 2.5 miles, the trail arrives at the shoreline in Bettendorf to reveal dazzling views of the Mississippi. Punctuated by frequent benches and the occasional sightseeing pier, the smooth route takes you past the Quad Cities Waterfront Convention Center and the riverboat-style Isle Casino. Immediately following the casino is the grand sight of Memorial Bridge and Leach Park, which has both parking and a giant ship’s wheel overlooking the waterfront. Across the river is the Rock Island Arsenal, the largest government-owned weapons maker and former prison for Confederate soldiers during the Civil War.
About 1.5 miles downriver you’ll come to Art Park in lower Lindsay Park in the Village of East Davenport. The park serves as a companion site to a boat launch and yacht club. You’ll find restrooms, a playground with whimsical arches, the bronze Watching the Ferry statue from a John Bloom lithograph, and a gazebo.
The greenway then takes you under the 1896 double-decker Arsenal Bridge and the much newer pedestrian Skybridge to downtown Davenport’s waterfront at LeClaire Park. This is home to jazz and blues music festivals, as well as the colorful Rhythm City Casino and Ferris wheel. Just beyond is the Quad Cities River Bandits Minor League ballpark in Modern Woodmen Park and a large skate park in Centennial Park. Next you’ll pass the meditative Veterans Memorial Park dedicated in 2011.
The trail passes through some trees along the river and onto Credit Island, an early trading post and site of a War of 1812 battle led by future US President Zachary Taylor. You can follow a 2.6-mile loop on low-traffic Credit Island Road around the island, or enjoy the natural preserve on a 1.6-mile nature trail. The trail crosses the water at the southwest end of the Island and ends at S. Concord St.
A separate 0.8 mile-segment of riverfront trail can be found in Buffalo, 15 minutes southwest of Davenport.
To reach the eastern trailhead in Riverdale from I-74, take Exit 4, and turn onto eastbound US 67/State St. Go 2.1 miles, and turn right onto S. Bellingham St. Look for parking on the right in 0.1 mile at the BIKE PATH PARKING ONLY sign. The endpoint is located about 1.4 miles northeast along the trail at State St. and Fenno Road.
To reach the western trailhead in Davenport from I-74, take Exit 4, and turn onto westbound US 67/Grant St. Go 5.6 miles (US 67/Grant St. becomes US 67/River Drive), and turn left onto Credit Island Road. Go 0.4 mile, and look for parking on the right. The endpoint is located about 1.6 miles southwest at S. Concord St.
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