The Willow Creek and Clear Creek Trails are located on the west side of Iowa City, Iowa. Free parking can be found in two places: east of Kiwanis Park and along the road near the Willow Creek playground. Running, biking, and leashed dog walking are popular recreation activities on these trails. In warm months, the shelter near the Willow Creek playground offers water and restrooms. Cell phone service should be strong throughout.
The Willow Creek Trail is a 2.0 mile paved path with a change in elevation less than a 100 feet. It starts a little west of Dane’s Dairy. Notably, it connects several neighborhoods and, thus, can be used for both commuting and recreation.
The path connects two playgrounds: Kiwanis Park and Willow Creek Park. Both parks are a lot fun for kids. In addition, the paths between them are ideal for toddlers learning to ride a bike because they are wide, flat, and smooth. In the next picture, the picnic shelter with water and restrooms can be seen in the distance.
The paved path exits the park and crosses the uber-busy intersection of Benton Street and Morman Trek Boulevard. The path ends in the Galway Hills neighborhood. From there, you can get on the Clear Creek trail by riding north through the neighborhood and crossing Melrose Avenue at its intersection with Hawkeye Park Road. The following picture shows it as it passes by Fareway Grocery.
The Clear Creek Trail connects the west side of Iowa City to Coralville. It starts on the southwestern corner of Hawkeye Park Road and ends near 2nd Street. A ride or run from the Galway Hills neighborhood (where Willow Creek Trail ends) to the Coral Ridge Mall (where the North Ridge / North Liberty Trail begins) is a little over 4 miles with less than a 100 feet change in elevation. Also, it provides access to the Clear Creek mountain bike trails.
It is very wide with both shaded and unshaded areas. You can continue a ride or run by crossing 2nd Street at its intersection with 25th Avenue and then picking up the North Ridge / North Liberty Trail at the intersection with the Coral Ridge Mall Road. The following picture was taken as it approaches Camp Cardinal Boulevard.
In sum, both paths are great for running and biking because they are wide, smooth, and conveniently connected to several neighborhoods. For similar recreation opportunities, I recommend checking out F.W. Kent Park and Devonian Fossil Gorge.