Bike or walk for miles along the banks of the most famous river in North America. The Great River Trail follows the shore of the mighty Mississippi River and showcases a wide variety of culture, wildlife, and local history. The trail covers 60 miles between Rock Island and Savanna, Illinois.
The Great River Trail is a part of the RiverWay trails, Grand Illinois Trail, and the Mississippi River Trail, all by designated hike and bike routes. It now connects to the Riverfront Trail in Iowa and eventually the America Discovery Trail that connects the East Coast to the West Coast.
For a map of trails and bike lanes in Rock Island click here. For trail guides through the Quad Cities, River Action's trail guides can be viewed here. Cell phone audio tours are now available along the path and can be downloaded here. For more information and maps on the trails through the Quad Cities and beyond click here.
Sunset Park and Marina is the current southwest terminus of the Great River Trail. Adjacent to the confluence of the Rock River, the Hennepin Canal, and the Mississippi River, Sunset Park is located between 18th and 31st Avenues in the western part of the city. This park offers a walking trail around Lake Potter, playgrounds, picnic areas, boat ramps, and a two-story overlook of the Mississippi River. The Great River Trail leads through the park and continues northeast along the river until it connects with the downtown, known as The District.
The trail along the riverfront takes you past the old boat works, under the Crescent Railroad Bridge and connects with The District, a great place to get a meal or grab a drink. The 20th Street Overlook provides excellent eagle viewing during the winter months and a scenic panorama of the river and the Davenport skyline year round.
Upstream from The District you'll pass the Quad City Botanical Center, QCCA Expo Center, and Arsenal Island. You can also see the last remnant of the first railroad bridge across the Mississippi River.
Sylvan Slough Natural Area and Sylvan Island Park is the next port of call. It was once home to a steel rolling mill, and is now a quiet natural area with an interpretive plaza, a river overlook, and hiking and mountain biking trails. Wintering bald eagles, great blue herons, and other water birds often can be seen along the Mississippi River channel known as Sylvan Slough.
The Great River Trail continues east to Moline and all the way to Savanna.
Every year on Father's Day, the Ride the River event celebrates these trails by offering families the opportunity to bicycle throughout the Quad Cities.