Overnight parking is available at several places along the Great River Trail. Including Sunset Marina 18th avenue Rocks Island, IL. Additional parking at… (information coming soon)
Rock Island, a city of just under 40,000 residents, is at the head of the Great River Trail.
There is a lot do along and near the trail; including exploring just a block from the trail, with has art galleries and theatres, nightclubs and coffee shops, and restaurants. Rock Island is also making advances in becoming a more bicycle friendly community. Cyclists can head off of the GRT and explore the city on a number of bikeways that connect the trail to the community.
With a population of just of 43,000, Moline is the largest city in Rock Island and along the Great River Trail. The trail in Moline is highlighted by its parks and connection to a growing downtown district.
At the Rock Island-Moline border is Sylvan Island, an island with a rich industrial history that is now a recreational gem that is used for hiking and mountain biking. The downtown area includes the I-Wireless Center, John Deere Commons and central business district with restaurants, pubs and shops.
East Moline is home to John Deere Harvester Works and trail users will pass by the plant up along an elevated dike on the trail. The community also has trail links to its downtown from The Quarter, a development along the riverfront.
East Moline is also the only community with a bike shop right on the trail. Cycle Therapy is located at Beacon Harbor and a perfect place to stop if you need to tune up or purchase anything for your ride.
The Village of Hampton has a lot to do and see along the trail, including the Hampton Heritage Interpretive Center and Bretton Black Store Museum. Both provide glimpses into the community’s history. The Center hosts a large Gingko tree carved with depictions of pioneers and Native Americans that settled the area and wildlife native to the area. Just north of Hampton is Illiniwek State Forest Preserve with camping, fishing , hiking and mountain biking trails.
What once was a coal town, is now a quaint and characteristic village. Stop by some of the parks for a picnic or to play a game of softball. You could stop by the Community Center to see if there is an event, or you could even rent it out yourself! On top of all that, you won’t grow hungry if you stop by their family restaurant, pizza house or bar & grill.
Port Byron is a charming village with great places to stop and rest along the river or grab a bite to eat on Main Street (on the trail). Cyclists and other trail users have choices that range from pub fare at Duey’s Tap to upscale at (name) Steak House. Port Byron is also home to “Will B. Rolling”, a large fiberglass sculpture of a man sitting on a pennyfarthing bike. The sculpture was installed in 2013 and is a must see for bicyclists passing through.
This little village may seem ordinary, but with its Nuclear Power Plant and its Drag Racing strip, it is anything but ordinary. Stay down in the Leisure Harbor Inn and grab a bite to eat at Riley’s Roadhouse. This little town may not have as much to offer as others, but it makes up for it with character.
Albany is a small rural village, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth exploring. It has over a dozen parks to relax in and some cafes that are right near the trail. You could even check out the Indian Mounds Historic Site. Make sure to give this place a visit before moving on.
Fulton is a great place to stop by if you love nature and history. Check out their Dutch Windmill that is still operating. Have a look in the Martin House Museum or Andresen Nature Center. This village strives to keep its heritage true while not abandoning modern conveniences. Stop on by one of their many restaurants and stay the night in a hotel or a quaint cottage.
Thomson is a charming, growing, and eclectic little village, with much more than you would expect to find. In addition to the Great River Trail, in Thomson you will find charming “Old Time” facades on the downtown buildings, a train depot museum with lots of local history, a unique bike shop, a beautiful campground right on the banks of the Mighty Mississippi River, plus a variety of great food, pizza and ice cream at several locations through out Thomson. Coming soon: a friendly community pub with organic espresso/coffee/lattes.ganic espresso/coffee/lattes.
UPDATES ON THESE & OTHER THOMSON ATTRACTIONS TO COME!
Savanna may be the end of the Great Trail, but that doesn’t mean the fun ends here. This city has a lot to offer for tourists, with canoeing, fishing, picnicking, hiking and much more. Being larger than most cities on the trail, its options are much greater. Savanna is home to a wide variety of restaurants, pubs, hotels, guest houses, saloons, and the list goes on. You name it, Savanna probably has it.