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Providing over four and a half miles of smooth asphalt trail, perfect for commuting or recreation, the Northwest Arterial Trail helps adds off-road connectivity to Dubuque's western suburbs and also links with the popular Heritage Trail in the north. Formerly known as the Iowa 32 Trail (the road was previously signed as a state highway), the path follows its namesake roadway for the entirety of its route. Scarcely any shade is available along the trail, but benches are scattered intermittently along the route to allow for a breather, and the trail does afford some views of the scenic rolling hills that comprise the eastern Iowa landscape.
Beginning in the north, the trail starts just north of the intersection of NW Arterial/Iowa 32 and Central Avenue, connecting to the almost thirty-mile long Heritage Trail, which runs into Dubuque in the east and out to Dyersville (the location where Field of Dreams was filmed) in the west. Heading south through open fields, the trail begins to reach more developed areas with homes and businesses appearing alongside the road. The trail crosses to the other side of the road at John F Kennedy Road - just north of the trail in the adjacent neighborhood, the Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens offers lovely grounds to explore if you need a break from the trail. Further south, the trail crosses Pennsylvania Avenue just a short block from a local high school, making the trail an great resource for students looking to bike or walk to school when the weather allows. The trail currently comes to an end at Chavenelle Road, where the city is working on an extension to connect it with the nearby Bergfeld Recreation Trail. An excellent means of getting around the sprawling suburban landscape, and a key component of Dubuque's trail network, the Northwest Arterial Trail certainly gets the job done.
Parking is available at Usha Park near the southern end of the trail. From NW Arterial Road, take Pennsylvania Avenue east for one block and turn left at the sign for Usha Park just past a church. Additional parking is available around the midpoint of the trail at the Dubuque Soccer Complex during operating hours, on John F Kennedy Road just off of NW Arterial. Trail users may also find parking at one of the businesses along the trail's route; be sure to follow any posted parking signs.
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