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The Spencer Recreational Trail traverses scenic wetlands and prairies on the outskirts of the small city of Spencer, offering users a peaceful, paved path along the Little Sioux River.
The trail begins as a useful but unremarkable sidepath along 10th Avenue, providing a safe path to the local middle school as well as views of the open fields outside the city limits. Continuing along 10th Ave, the trail takes you right by the high school and then over the small river into Riverview Park, which offers a variety of recreational amenities including picnic areas and the city's Family Aquatic Center.
From there, the trail heads west on a quieter and more scenic route as it follows the path of the Little Sioux River. A connection to the bridge at Grand Avenue allows trail users to cross back over the river and head into Spencer's historic downtown area for an interesting detour off the path. The trail currently utilizes the low-stress 355th Street to fill-in a gap in the off-road segments, but the path picks up again after a little less than a mile and heads north into Stolley Park, which offers additional picnicking and fishing opportunities. From there, trail users can either head north through the park to the trail's northern terminus at W 18th Street, or head back east alongside the railroad tracks to where the trail currently ends outside Riverside Cemetery.
Local officials are working on several extensions to this developing trail system, including a possible future connection to the 18 mile Iowa Great Lakes Trail in neighboring Dickinson County.
Parking is available at the trail's western end in Stolley Park, or within Riverview Park.
To reach Stolley Park coming from south of Spencer, take US 71 north, continue right to stay on US 71 (11th Street SW), and then take a left to continue going north on US 71, or Grand Avenue as it's called as it goes through Spencer. Continue north all the way through the city, and then turn left onto W 18th Street. Continue on 18th Street for a while; the entrance to the park will be on the left.
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