Bike, Hike and Explore

The Quad Cities is home to a variety of exciting biking, walking and hiking trails along with beautiful parks and a wonderful forest preserve. We invite you to get out and explore them all during a 3-day outdoor adventure. You can choose from lodging at a hotel, or pitch a tent at one of our numerous campgrounds.

If you don't have a bike, rent one by the hour or for the day at the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau from April 1 through November 1.

Day One: Choose a Bike Trail to Explore

Hop on your bike and explore the numerous biking trails available throughout the Quad Cities. There are more than 60-miles of scenic bike trails in the Quad Cities area! The trails are built along side the Mississippi River and its tributaries. These trails are mostly flat, hard surfaced and free of charge. The Great River Trail runs from Rock Island, Illinois to Savanna, Illinois for a total of 62-miles. You don't have to do the entire trail, you can start anywhere along the bike trail in Rock Island or Moline, Illinois and enjoy a beautiful ride up to Port Byron, Illinois - about a day's worth of biking.

Duck Creek Bike Trail is 12.4 miles and includes 5 miles of riverfront trails. This trail runs through Davenport, Iowa and Bettendorf Iowa, and is a great option for a leisurely morning or afternoon ride.

The Hennepin Canal Parkway offers a unique 70-mile plus greenway from the Quad Cities to the Illinois River. There are few paved sections of this trail around Rock Island, Milan and Cordova, Illinois in the Quad Cities area. At present, most of the trail is best suited for Mountain Biking.

Mountain biking trails can also be found in the Quad Cities at Sunderbruch Park, Scott County, Loud Thunder Forest Preserve, and Sylvan Island. For more information on these Mountain Bike trails visit the Quad Cities Friends of Off Road Cycling. For more information on biking trails in the Quad Cities, visit the Quad Cities Bicycle Club or RiverAction.

If you are using bike trails within the Quad Cities, we also encourage you to use the Channel Cat Water Taxi. This open-air, pontoon-style boat allows bicyclists to bring their bikes on board so they can hop from each side of the Mississippi River to enjoy trails offered on both the Illinois and Iowa sides of the Quad Cities. Be sure to check their website for their seasons of operation and times. In addition, our Metro buses offer bike racks right on the buses so you can travel throughout the Quad Cities with ease.

Day Two: Pack a Picnic and Spend a Day Hiking

The Quad Cities offer a variety of hiking opportunities at parks like Scott County, Loud Thunder Forest Preserve, and Black Hawk State Historic Site.

Scott County Park, with 1280 acres, is the largest park in Scott County. The park is located nine miles north of Davenport, Iowa. Use exit #129 from U.S. Highway 61. There is no entrance fee. The entrance to Scott County Park is located on 270th Street. The north access is open for two-way traffic for your convenience.

Scott County Park has twelve picnic areas and shelters with tables, grills and/or fireplaces. It offers a baseball field, playground equipment, a radio-controlled airplane site, nature trails, an equestrian area, and five unique camping areas. In addition, luxury cabins, Pride Lake, Glynn's Creek Golf Course, Walnut Grove Pioneer Village, an Olympic size heated swimming pool, and modern restrooms and showers are also a part of the amenities and attractions you will find at this park. Winter activities include sledding, cross-country skiing, and tobogganing. [map]

Loud Thunder Forest Preserve offers 1,731 acres of land with camping, nature trails, picnic shelters, fishing, and boat rentals for use on Lake George, a man made lake in the central park of the Preserve. Boat ramps are available for easy access to the Mississippi River. This beautiful preserve is located within a 20 to 30-minute drive from the Quad Cities and is located in Illinois City, Illinois in Rock Island County.

Black Hawk State Historic Site is a wooded, steeply rolling 208-acre tract that borders the Rock River in Rock Island, Illinois in the Quad Cities. Prehistoric Indians and nineteenth-century settlers made their homes here, but the area is most closely identified with the Sauk nation and the warrior-leader whose name it bears - Black Hawk. The deciduous hardwood forest and the Rock River provide habitat for a variety of wildlife. Nearly 175 species of birds can be observed during the year, though spring is a favorite time for observing migrating species. Bald eagles can be observed along the river during the winter months. The dominant trees of the upland forest - oaks - are bountiful at Black hawk, along with a variety of other hardwoods. Numerous wildflowers, shrubs and vines grow under their canopy. More than 30 wildflower species, including orchids (showy orchids), bloom in April and May.

The Black Hawk Forest, a dedicated Nature Preserve, has been identified as one of the least-disturbed forests in Illinois. The site also features an historic lodge, Hauberg Indian Museum, Civilian Conservation exhibit, and beautiful trails. Enjoy the trails, picnic areas, museum, and lodge.

Day Three - Audio Tours and a Day of Exploring

Spend the morning or afternoon exploring walking and biking trails with an audio adventure. River Action now offers cell phone or podcast tours of historic sites along our Mississippi Riverfront. Currently there are two tours in place: "Bridge to Bridge" has stops on Arsenal Island, Davenport, and Rock Island in between the Government & Centennial Bridges, and the "Illinois Mississippi River Trail" has stops from the Sylvan Natural Area in Rock Island to Ben Butterworth Parkway in Moline. Audio Tours are a great way to experience the Quad Cities' history and its intimate connection to the Mississippi River. Please enjoy this free service and make sure to take advantage of the wonderful recreational opportunities we have along the waterfront and on river. The Audio Tour provides unique narrations that describe the area's role in national river history. Listen to the audio spots or download the podcasts.

Once you have finished your tour, how about a game of golf at one of our 20+ golf courses, a trip to Niabi Zoo, the historic Rock Island Arsenal Museum, or a visit to the Black Earth Big River Exhibit along with other exhibits and a Giant Screen film at the Putnam Museum and National Geographic Theatre. If you like art, be sure to visit the Figge Art Museum.

If you would just like to sit back and enjoy a cold brew, try one of our micro breweries, check out our Mississippi Blondes Have More Fun travel itinerary for great suggestions on homemade brews and fun things to do in the evening hours.

Special Events

If you would like to plan your outdoor adventure during a bike-related, running or out-door sports related competition, be sure to check out these biking organizations and annual events in the Quad Cities.

Bike Rides
Quad Cities Bicycle Club
Quad Cities Friends of Off Road Cycling
Tour of the Mississippi River Valley

Marathons, Triathlons and Races
Quad Cities Criterium Bike Race - Memorial Day Weekend
Quad Cities Triathlon
Tour of the Mississippi River Valley
Taming of the Slough
Quad Cities Marathon
Cornbelt Running Club

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