4 Mile Hikes

Why go for a four mile walk?

Walking is a GREAT way to get some exercise without draining yourself of energy. The benefits of walking four miles a day are endless. Not only will your overall health improve,  it can also help mental wellbeing! Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and gain endorphins.

  • Lamson Loop

Bring your bug spray, binoculars, and sense of adventure for this two-mile romp through Lamson Woods State Preserve and the Neff Wetlands.Begin at the Lamson Woods trailhead near the three-way intersection of Fillmore Avenue, Park Street, and Mint Boulevard.This walk begins at a large grassy open area which is the perfect site for a picnic or a game of ultimate Frisbee.In the evenings of the warm summer months, a local hot-air balloonist frequently uses this green area to launch flights.

As you travel east on the trail, you will quickly enter the timber and find yourself on the Carl Zillman Bridge. This is the longest bridge in the Jefferson County Trails System.Pause for a moment and enjoy the serene beauty of Crow Creek as it courses under your feet.

Continue across the bridge and turn right through the gate at the first bend in the bridge.You have now entered Lamson Woods State Preserve, which is managed by the Iowa State Preserves Board. This is a populat bird-watching vantage point and has a gazebo perfect for birdwatching and resting. This trail is a primitive, natural-surfaced, single track trail.The trail is often wet, muddy, and has downed timber across it in places.Make your way through the woods, staying to the left whenever you come to a fork in the trail.You are sure to encounter mosquitoes, thorns, burrs, and many other joys of the forest habitat.

As you crest the top of the hill, you will emerge into an open pasture.This is a particularly dark area, which is perfect for viewing fireflies in the summer twilight, and stargazing on clear nights.Wind your way through the pasture and on more single track trail to eventually come parallel with Glasgow Road on your right.You soon come back to the Loop Trail proper.At this juncture you may turn left to continue back to the start, or extend the trip by continuing on the Loop Trail.

Walking back to the southwest on the Loop Trail, you are now in the Neff Wetlands.The trail in this location forms a dike to create the wetlands.The trail does flood during large spring rains.If you visit in early spring, you will be greeted by a deafening choir of frogs singing in the wetlands.

  • Maasdam Barns Trail

Have a love of history? Start your four mile walk at Maasdam Barns just south of the hospital.Maasdam Barns was a 20th-century draft-horse breeding business and the two barns on the premises were designed by the Louden Barn Design Division. After touring Maasdam Barns start your walk or preferred form of exercise west on the walking trail. Enjoy the Iowa weather and crops as you walk along the relatively flat trail. The trail is part of the 17-mile Loop Trail that Fairfield proudly built. When you reach mile marker two you can turn around and walk back to Maasdam Barns or keep walking along the trail.

 

  • Suburban Heights Four Mile Walk

Start your walk by driving to Suburban Heights Parking lot in Fairfield and parking your car. Once parked start your journey by walking west towards the loop trail. Once on the Loop Trail walk south on the pleasant trail to the two mile mark. Once at the two mile mark, walk north to the 3 ½ mile mark. If you wish to walk farther keep walking on the Loop Trail. If you wish to finish your walk, turn around and head back the same way you came to Suburban heights parking lot.

 

  • Whitam Woods Trail

Grab your binoculars, walking stick and love of the woods on this four mile walk on the Loop Trail through Whitam Woods. Starting at the entrance of Whitam Woods walk through the beautiful trail until the 5 ½ mile mark. Once at the 5 ½ mile mark turn around and walk to the 3 ½ mile mark. If you wish to continue exercising or viewing the magnificent nature of Fairfield you can continue walking on the Loop Trail. If you wish to finish your walk continue back to the entrance of Whitam woods.

 

  • BNSF Trail

Put on your walking shoes and get ready to work up a sweat on this four mile walk. Start your walk at the BNSF parking lot just north of Dexter Laundry Inc. Once in the parking lot walk south and west to the 5 ¼ mile mark. Once you have reached this mile mark, turn around and walk to the 7 ¼ mile mark. Once at this mile you can walk further on the trail or you can turn around and walk back to the BNSF parking lot.

  • Ferrell Gas 

Lace up your walking shoes and get ready to have some fun on this walk. Start your adventure at the Ferrell Gas parking lot, just north on highway #1. Once at your start destination walk west to the 7 mile mark. At this mile mark turn around and walk to the 9 mile mark. At the 9 mile mark you can continue to walk a longer distance or walk back to the Ferrell Gas parking lot to finish up your four mile walk.

 

  • Bonnifield Lake

Get ready to see some neat nature on your four mile walk by Bonnifield Lake in Waterworks Park. Start at the north parking lot at Bonnifield Lake and walk around the lake to the loop trail. While walking around the lake notice all the marvelous greenery and the gorgeous lake. Feel free to stop at the many benches along the trail and soak up the stunning nature that Fairfield has to offer. Once you have walked around the lake, walk east to the 9 ¾ mile mark on the Loop Trail. At this mile mark turn around and walk to the 8 ½ mile mark. At this mile mark you can continue trekking through the charming trail or can walk back to the parking lot to finish your four mile walk. If you feel like cooling off after your walk you can take a dip in one of the designated areas for swimming in Bonnifield Lake. Better yet, make an afternoon out of your walk and have a yummy picnic on the stunning grounds of Waterworks Park.

 

  • Walton

Grab your water bottle, love of exercising and nature on this four mile walk around the Walton area in Fairfield, Iowa. Start your journey at the Walton Club parking lot. Once parked walk north to the 9 3/4th mile marker on the Loop Trail. Enjoy the view of ponds and grasslands on this walk. At the 9 3/4th mile marker turn around and walk to the 11 ¾ mile marker. If you wish to keep exploring the area continue on the trail. If you wish to finish your four mile walk continue back to the Walton parking lot. If you are hungry or in need of a drink go the Walton Club for some delectable treats.

 

  • Start at Suburban Heights and JCP

Put on your walking shoes and grab your sunglasses and walk this four mile trip starting at Surburban Heights. Once at Suburban Heights walk west on Cedar View trail until you come to the west gate. Turn around and walk across Suburban Heights Road to where the trail splits and goes into Jefferson County Park or Chappell Studio.If you decide to continue walking into Jefferson County Park enjoy the nature that they have to offer with different animals native to Iowa and gorgeous plants and trees. If you have young ones along JCP has a few playgrounds that are awesome to play on. If you choose to end your walk turn around and walk back to Suburban Heights parking lot.

Main Location


Fairfield , IA 52556 

Fairfield Loop Trail

The Fairfield Loop Trail forms a 16-mile ring around the town of Fairfield, mostly in the outlying areas of the countryside. The trail links two major preserves and connects city and county parks. Along the way you’ll pass through woodlands, meadows and prairie, and hilly sections.

Most of the trail surface is crushed stone, but there are about 2.5 miles total of concrete surface in four different locations. A 0.8-mile on-road segment follows Mint Boulevard (a gravel road) southward from Lamson Woods toward the trail section that parallels US 34. Other trails, such as the 7.5 miles in Jefferson County Park, connect to the Fairfield Loop Trail.

The most spectacular feature of the trail is the BNSF bridge over the railroad tracks near Walton Lake. The bridge features 171 ceramic tiles created by high school art students, which are inset into the bridge’s concrete curb. Many small bridges, some with artistic enhancements, cross brooks on the Fairfield Loop Trail.

Because the 15.9-mile-long Fairfield Loop Trail was built one segment at a time over 14 years, names were given to each segment.  The segments are presented in a clockwise direction, starting with the DOT-South segment in the southern part of Fairfield, Iowa.

The Loop Trail officially begins (and ends) next to the Maasdam Barns at Mile Marker Zero.  Mile Markers occur every 1/4 mile along the Loop Trail.  The Maasdam Barns are next to the Jefferson County Health Center (at the interchange of Hwy 1 & US 34).

The DOT-South segment, built by the Iowa DOT, parallels the new US Hwy 34 bypass from Mint Blvd in the east to Whitham Woods in the west.  This 5.7-mile segment is hilly, with curves and woods, and partly in wetlands.  It intersects with the Cedar View Trail, which leads to Jefferson County Park.  The Loop Trail officially begins (and ends) next to the Maasdam Barns at Mile Marker Zero.  Mile Markers occur every 1/4 mile along the Loop Trail.

The Whitham Woods segment uses part of an old 1858-1901 railroad bed, then travels up and down hills through the woods, and then follows a concrete section along Burlington Ave to Brookville Road.  The trail within Whitham Woods was upgraded in September 2010.

The Northwestern segment travels northeasterly from Brookville Road to Grimes Ave and Dexter Soccer Park, then crosses the BNSF railroad track through a pedestrian maze (for safety) and continues to the Rock Island Railroad segment at 8th & Gear.  Most of the surface is concrete.

The Rock Island Railroad segment uses the roadbed of the Rock Island Railroad, which was in use from 1945 to 1980 (replacing a 1871 alignment).  Our trail bridge replaces the railroad bridge, which was removed in 1985.

The B Street segment travels along B Street on a concrete-surfaced sidewalk for 4/10ths of a mile to connect to the Lakes segment.  The sidewalk continues southward to Waterworks Park and Stone Ave.

The Lakes segment connects three lakes, Bonnifield Lake, Pleasant Lake, and Walton Lake, with a trail that meanders along fields and through wooded areas.  These lakes are retired reservoirs, being converted for recreational usage.

Leaving Walton Lake, the Louden Bridge segment travels through woods, then crosses the BNSF Railroad tracks on the 246-foot Louden Bridge to connect with Chautauqua Park, where it meets the Crow Creek segment.  The Louden Bridge displays 171 ceramic plaques of images from old Louden Machinery Company blueprints, made by a Fairfield High School art class.

The Crow Creek segment follows Crow Creek from Chautauqua Park to the Neff Wetlands.  A concrete-surfaced section connects to a crushed limestone surface in a wooded low-land, where three bridges cross creeks in the Fry property.

The Neff Wetlands section of the Loop Trail begins as you cross Glasgow Road from the Crow Creek segment, heading west across the wetlands dike.  The Lamson Woods boardwalk/bridge then takes you the parking lot at Mint Blvd.  A walking-only trail joins the boardwalk near the creek.  Lamson Woods is a State Preserve.

The Mint Blvd Link connects the Lamson Woods-Neff segment to the DOT-South segment, using Mint Blvd, the only shared-road section of the Loop Trail.  Part of Mint Blvd is steep, with a gravel surface.  Improvements may be made in the future.

Download a trail map JCTC TrailsMap

Main Location


Fairfield, IA 52556 

Website

Heritage Trails

Heritage Trails
The Heritage Trail is a tour of historic buildings in Fairfield, and is also a virtual tour complete with much information about the history of Fairfield.
Fairfield has a rich foundation in cultural history, and has many historic and architecturally interesting buildings. For instance, the first and second Iowa State Fairs were held in Fairfield in 1854 and 1855. Come visit Fairfield and experience the historic Heritage Trail which includes:

    An architecturally distinctive Barry Byrne-designed prairie style home (one of the best in the Midwest).
    The first of a total of 1,689 Carnegie Public Libraries.
    A dwelling built in 1838 (the birthplace of Fairfield).
    And even an early Dairy Queen store.

Main Location


Fairfield, IA 52556 

Website

Lamson Woods State Preserve

Lamson Woods State Preserve – SE corner of Fairfield Golf Club.

Gorgeous, rustic wooded trails and ponds (no swimming). Connects to the Fairfield Loop Trail.

Lamson Woods is a 43-acre woodland preserve located on the southeast edge of Fairfield. This hilly, wooded area was willed to the city of Fairfield by Carrie Lamson Ross in 18930. Originally “Lamson’s Pasture” was a park that included Fairfield’s first golf course. The golf course was in a pasture for cows and pigs along a small woodland, and was dubbed “cow-pasture golf”. It was a favorite area for hiking and nature study for people of all ages. The woodland was dedicated as a biological state preserve in 1978.

Main Location

Mint Blvd
Fairfield, IA 52556 

Website

Jefferson County Park

Jefferson County Park is the largest multi-purposed outdoor recreational facility in Jefferson County. Established in 1977, the park currently encompasses 190 acres and includes a nature center, bike & hiking trails, campsites, cabins & picnic areas.

The 75-foot Swinging Bridge is a local favorite along with the quiet 24 site campground and the Picnic Area which has three reservable shelters. The campground is open from May through the end of October. The Jefferson County Conservation Office and Nature Center are also located in this park.

The park is connected to the Fairfield Loop Trail through the Cedar View Trail allowing campers to ride the 16-mile loop trail without driving to an access point.

If you are looking for a natural experience in a rustic environment, then consider renting one of the park’s 2 cabins. Each cabin holds 6 people and has all the amenities of home. If one wants to get even closer to nature and sleep underneath the beautiful Iowa starlit skies, the park offers 24 campsites. Each site comes with electricity, restrooms, and hot showers.

The park can accommodate large groups at each of their 3 picnic shelters. They are open every year from May 1 – October 31 and include electricity, flush type toilets, and drinking water. Close by the shelters are horseshoes, softball, and volleyball facilities. All are handicapped accessible.

Jefferson County Park has about 8-miles of trails, which connect to the Cedar View Trail (which makes a direct connection to the Fairfield Loop Trail), the Erma Hartman Trail, and the Prairie & Pond Trail.

   
Camping Site Season: Normally May 1 through October 31.

Main Location

2003 Libertyville Rd.
Fairfield, IA 52556 

Website