Perils for Pedestrians
TV talk about people who walk
Gallery of Levee Trails
Levees can make great locations for trails. Once you get on top, they are flat. They often have a good view of the adjacent flood plain and river. They typically have few streets or driveways to cross. It is estimated that there are roughly 100,000 miles of levees in the United States.
A paved trail on top of a levee doubles as an all-weather access road for maintenance and emergency operations. And the pavement provides a bit of hardening in case of minor overtopping by floodwaters.
Here are some examples of the many existing trails along levee ROWs. They look just like ped/bike trails you would find anywhere. For more information on pedestrian use of utility ROWs, see the Right of Way page.
Missouri River, Council Bluffs, Iowa
The levee trail connects to a pedestrian bridge crossing the Missouri River from Omaha, forming a key part of a non-motorized route between downtown Omaha and downtown Council Bluffs.
Big Papio Creek, Papillion, Nebraska
The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District maintains an extensive system of levees along tributaries of the Missouri River in the Omaha area. As part of their mission to provide recreational opportunities, trails are been constructed along the levees.
Mississippi River, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana
The levee trail leads to New Orleans, visible in the distance. The trail on the levee also has the best view of the river, since the tall levee blocks the view from street level behind the levee.
Mississippi River, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The levee trail runs for 4.3 miles starting from downtown. It has been suggested that the levee trail could be extended all the way to the trails in New Orleans.
(Photograph courtesy Hagen Hammons)
Susquehanna River, Binghamton, New York
The choices are different when the levee is a wall rather than an earthen berm. A trail cannot be built on top of the concrete levee wall, so it runs beside it, giving the public access to the river bank.