Trails in Jefferson County

Jefferson County Conservation Board, Fairfield, Iowa

Land Trails, Water Trails, History Trails & Equestrian Trails

Land Trails (Hiking, Biking, and Cross-country Skiing)

Welcome to the Trails of Jefferson County Park

Trail

Come explore and enjoy the seven miles of trails within Jefferson County Park. The woodland trails are surfaced with lime chips while those through prairie and grassland areas are mowed. The trails provide year round enjoyment for walkers, joggers, and bicyclists. The trails are also great in the winter for cross-country skiers.

The trails take you through dense areas of native woodlands, pine tree plantings, along reintroduced prairies, and prairie savannas. You can also go around and over ponds, streams and ravines. The trails offer a terrain to suit everyone's pleasure. From straight and flat, to curvy and hilly.

Several bridges, including a 75-foot swinging bridge, add to the charm and character of the trails.

Almost two miles of the trail including the park entrance road are on the former Rock Island Railroad right-of-ways which served Jefferson County from 1871 to 1980.   See the History of the Railroads in Fairfield.

Wildlife abound in the park. Deer, raccoons, opossums, groundhogs, squirrels, and chipmunks as well as a variety of song and game birds are common sights on the trails. A variety of flowers decorate the park throughout the growing season: In spring the woodlands are filled with spring beauties, mayapples and trillium and in late summer and fall the prairies are colored with sunflowers and asters. In mid summer you can stop along the trails to snack on raspberries, blackberries and wild plum.

blackberry

For more detailed information about the length and topography of the various trail segments within the park see the "color coded" trail map (aerial photo) at the kiosk at the trailhead at the main parking lot near the Nature Center. There are "color-coded" arrow signs along the various trail segments to help you keep on the route that you desire.

The Jefferson County Park's trail system ties into Cedar View Trail which leads to the city of Libertyville, and the Cedar View Trail connects to the Fairfield Loop Trail which encircles the city of Fairfield.

We also have information in the Kiosk and at the Nature Center about other area trails including literature about the Jefferson County Trails Council and the Fairfield Loop Trail.

We strive to keep the trails in good shape for your enjoyment. If you see situations that need our attention, such as down trees or limbs, trail erosion or washouts, or trash, please stop by the Office/Nature Center, or let any park employee know of them so that we can quickly solve the problem.

Enjoy Jefferson County Park and its trails!

Other Jefferson County Conservation Board Trails

Hiking trails are also located in Mac Coon Access, Round Prairie Park , Zillman's Hickory Hills, and Whitham Woods.

Biking trails include, of course, the Cedar View Trail. Bikes may also be used on Jefferson County Park trails.

There are designated horse trails in the Turkey Run Wildlife Area.

For cross-country skiing, go to Zillman's Hickory Hills, Whitham Woods, and Cedar View Trail.

Snow
 

Water Trails (Skunk River and Cedar Creek provide water trails)

The Skunk River Water Trail

The conservation boards in Henry, Jefferson, Keokuk and Washington Counties have worked together and have established a 72-mile water trail on the Skunk River.

Skunk River

The real natural beauty of the Skunk River can be enjoyed best by navigating the river in a motor boat, canoe, or kayak. After the North and South Skunk River join just south of Sigourney, the river meanders freely for most of its 100 miles through farmland and wooded areas until it joins the Mississippi River.

Make sure you take along your fishing pole and bait. The Skunk River is known for it's excellent fishing. The shoreline of nearly every stretch and bend of the river is littered with fallen trees, creating excellent habitat for channel catfish, freshwater drum and carp.

The Skunk River Water Trail begins near Sigourney in Keokuk County, traverses Washington and Jefferson counties, and ends 72 miles later at Oakland Mills in Henry County.

The Jefferson County section is 10.5 miles long. Access points in Jefferson County include Coppock and Mac Coon Access. See the Water Trail Maps page.

Other landing areas can be seen on the map of the entire Skunk River Water Trail.

A detailed brochure is available at the Nature Center, or it can be sent to you.

 

The Cedar Creek Water Trail

The Cedar Creek Water Trail can be accessed from the Turkey-Run Wildlife area and from Round Prairie Park. See the Cedar Creek Water Trail Map.

cedar

Getting to know Cedar Creek

Cedar Creek enters Jefferson County midpoint along its western border. It then flows southeasterly and leaves the county approximately 25 miles later. Along the way the creek connects three of the conservation board's recreation and wildlife areas: Cedar Creek Timber, Turkey-Run Wildlife Area, and Round Prairie Park.

While much of Cedar Creek was channelized in the 1920's and 30's, the lower part of the waterway, a mile and a half past Turkey-Run, has been allowed to follow its own course. Just as in the early days, when Native Americans moved in and among its banks, the creek is lined with silver maple, sycamore, walnut, cottonwood, and river birch. The size of many of these trees, especially the maples, attests to their age. A canoe trip from Turkey-Run Wildlife Area to Round Prairie Park, a 8.4 mile paddle, will reveal an abundance of wildlife. Bird watchers will enjoy the sighting of shore birds, great horned owls, great blue herons and kingfishers. For the angler, smallmouth bass can be found in some of the rockier sections and catfish can be found hidden in the creek's holes and snags.

For the rock hound there are small outcroppings to explore. Prior to 1835, when Jefferson County was virtually untouched by European settlers, early surveyors moved through the area. They kept generous field notes on what could be found here. It was along Cedar Creek and other water courses where these surveyors found and recorded the presence of sandstone, limestone, coal and the "clays suitable for brick".

paddle
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History (Heritage) Trails

First Carnegie Public Library, early postcard

The Jefferson County Trails Council website hosts the Fairfield Heritage Trail. See over 50 historic buildings in Fairfield.

Or learn why the Louden Manufacturing Company was so important to Fairfield. Go to the Louden Machinery Company Tour.

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Horse

Equestrian Trails

Rob Weaver's family and friends developed and maintain 6 miles of rough horseback trails in the Turkey Run Wildlife Area. Since this is primarily a public hunting area, trail use is prohibited during deer and turkey hunting seasons (October through mid-January, and early April through mid-May). Limited parking space is available for trucks and horse trailers. Call the Jefferson County Conservation Board for more information.

Horseback riding is allowed in Round Prairie Park, although there is no established bridle trail.

Contact us for the latest information.

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Mission Statement

Our mission is to enhance the quality of life in Jefferson County by acquiring, developing and managing public areas so that its citizens will have opportunities for quality outdoor recreation experiences, and to cultivate good land stewardship through natural history and environmental education activities.

Jefferson County Conservation Board, 2003 Libertyville Road, Fairfield, IA 52556
Call: 641-472-4421    Fax: 641-472-7911   E-mail: jeffersonccb@lisco.com
Updated 12-28-16

 

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Swinging bridge located on trail between campground and picnic area.
Bridge
Camper

 

The north trail is a popular trail for cross country skiers
Ski

 

Trail through the timber.
Trail

 

Gray-headed coneflower in the prairie.
coneflower

 

Three students walk along the pond trail at Jefferson County Park.
Reflection

 

Trail through the pines.
Trail

 

Fall paddle on Cedar Creek.
Paddle

 

Trail users on Cedar View Trail.
Trailrun

 

Hikers on Cedar View Trail bridge.
Bridge

 

Paddling on the Skunk River
Paddle