Waterworks Prairie Park – Iowa City, Iowa

Waterworks Prairie Park is in Iowa City, Iowa and located on North Dubuque Street, only 0.5 miles north of I-80’s exit 244. Walking, biking, running, and dog walking were the popular activities. Parking was free, moderate in size, and included a port-o-potty and free pet waste bags but not a water fountain. My cell phone service was strong.

On Father’s Day weekend 2014, we walked a 1.8 mile counter-clockwise loop on the Waterworks Prairie trails, which total three miles. Our kids, ages 3 and 7, biked with ease on the paved paths.

waterworks prairie elevation chart

The trail was wide, flat, and smooth.


We stopped at the pier to enjoy a view of the larger of the two ponds. Here we saw a family fishing.


It was sunny with a strong breeze that kept us cool, which was nice because there was no shade.


About half way around the loop, we made a right turn to follow an offshoot down to the Iowa River.


The view of the river was limited but fun nonetheless.


We continued our counter-clockwise loop with a left turn followed by a right turn. The trail system offered multiple routes which can be used to customize both the experience and the distance.


Our kids had a lot of fun biking here because the slope was gentle and the path provided a safe, wide area for them navigate.


We saw some bright yellow Bird’s-foot Trefoil.

Bird’s-foot Trefoil

In addition, we saw a red-winged blackbird perched on a nearby fence. The last time we had seen one was at Riverbend Ponds in Fort Collins, CO.

a red-winged blackbird

In sum, we plan to visit again because it was an easy, fun, and safe place for our kids to ride their bikes. It was very similar to the Terry Trueblood Recreation Area and the Amana Colonies Recreation Trail in that they all offer a loop around water; but Waterworks Prairie was the shortest and easiest.


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