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An asphalt path lined with cracks and sprouting grass, the Southern Levy Trail might not be much to look at itself, and its route limits its usefulness as anything but an out-and-back recreational trail, but the trail does offer some gorgeous, up-close views of the mighty Mississippi River on the southern end of Dubuque. Running alongside the path of the still-active railroad tracks that service the riverside city, this rail-with-trail offers a unique recreation experience along a stretch of the river otherwise inaccessible to anything besides the trains.
The trail's northern end begins in an industrial area just a few blocks south of the popular National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, which offers a host of exhibits and interactive learning opportunities for all ages. A small parking area at the end of Terminal Street serves as the northern trailhead, and the trail continues south between the river and the railroad tracks. Behind you to the north you can get an excellent view of the picturesque arch of the historic Julien Dubuque Bridge, and to the east the trail provides uninterrupted views of the river and the wooded eastern bank in Illinois. Continuing south, the land to your west begins to rise into forested riverside bluffs, while the trail continues to hug the lower ground next to the river. The trail comes to an unceremonious end just seven-tenths of a mile south of the start, as the railroad tracks occupy the full extent of the thin strip of land between the river and the bluffs. While its short length and lack of connectivity may not appeal to everyone, for those who don't mind a somewhat unusual trail experience, the Southern Levy Trail is a neat little curiosity and a creative use of the available land.
Parking is available at the northern trailhead at the end of Terminal Street. To reach the northern end from US 61, take US 61 into south Dubuque and turn and head east on Jones Street, crossing over the railroad tracks. Turn right at the end of Jones Street onto Terminal Street; the trail begins at the end of the road.
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