Johnson County Veterans Trail – Birding – Iowa City, IA

The Johnson County Veterans Trail is located north of Iowa City, Iowa. Directions from I-80: take exit 244 for Dubuque St toward Coralville Lake, turn right onto N Dubuque St, turn right onto West Overlook Rd NE, drive over the Coralville Dam, and turn right into either the picnic area parking lot or the subsequent lot designated for the trail. Parking is free and includes a water fountain. A restroom is nearby at the adjacent East Overlook Picnic area. The trail accommodates wheelchairs but bikes are not allowed. Cell phone service was strong. The Google Map below shows the Veterans Trail on the east side of the dam and the Devonian Fossil Gorge and Tailwater River Walk on the west side.

The Veterans Trail is a 0.3 mile loop that is flat, well shaded, and compromised of both asphalt and wood platform. It serves to honor the 150+ local Johnson County military veterans.

It features a bird observation building that overlooks several feeders. Our five year old was captivated by both the deer in the background and the birds in foreground. The most easily identifiable and active birds we saw were cardinals and eastern goldfinches. The eastern goldfinch is Iowa’s state bird. Males are identified with bright colors and females with muted colors. The following picture includes two males plus another bird. I think the other bird was a white-breasted nuthatch because of its coloring and the way it perched upside down.

The adjacent East Overlook Picnic Area includes a nice playground and two shelters that can be reserved. The combination of playground time and a short walk was fun for our kids, ages two and five.

In addition to the Tailwater River Walk trail west of the dam, I recommend exploring the nearby Squire Point and Woodpecker Nature trails.

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