Trails

Trail Bridge
 Fairfield Loop Trail at Pleasant Lake

Trails in Fairfield, Jefferson County, Iowa.

The 2018 Scavenger Hunt opens May 26, 2018 at sunrise, and closes on July 6, 2018 at 7:00 PM. One entry per person. Pick up punch cards at AJ’s Bike Shop (123 North Court Street), trailhead kiosks, Fairfield Rec Center, or MUM Rec Center. Or print it from this website as a PDF.

This year's hunt has a theme: "Loop Trail Extremes". Here are the clues:

1. Polaris will lead you to this point on the Loop Trail.
2. This point is a two-fer - lowest and southern-most on the Loop Trail.
3. Stop here to pick up a map and tune-up your bike on the oldest part of the Loop Trail.
4. Bring your oxygen before you embark to the Everest of the Loop Trail.
5. In the wild west, possession is only 3/4 of the law!
6. At 326 feet, this structure is the longest of its type on the Loop Trail.
7. Don't blink, or you will miss this tiny trestle.
8. Slip on under one of Fairfield's busiest streets.
9. Catch a cool breeze off the largest lake on the Loop from this resting point.
10. The time capsule in Central Park will be opened this year ________.

There are two types of clue locations:
1. Checkpoint clue locations are an orange punch with CP number sticker. Punches are zip-tied to a structure. Checkpoints are in the trail corridor or easily accessible. Bushwhacking is not required, or allowed.
2. Landmark clue locations are a particular landmark along the trail. Participants will fill in the blank on the punch card with the answer related to the landmark in the clue.

Participants that find all 10 clues will be entered in drawings for prizes.

Submit completed punch cards anytime to AJ’s Bike Shop; or mail to - Jefferson County Trails Council, P.O. Box 2375, Fairfield, IA 52556; or bring them to Central Park during the July Art Walk (July 6).

The drawing will take place during Art Walk on July 6, 2018. Need not be present to win. To report missing or damaged checkpoints, call Steve at 641-919-5565.

The 15.9-mile Fairfield Loop Trail is described as "one of only four Loop Trails in Iowa" (2016 Iowa Travel Guide).

Some describe the Fairfield Loop Trail as a "string of pearls" or an "emerald necklace", each element being a jewel on the necklace. Plenty of entrances and exits let you customize your enjoyment of this unique trail.

The Jefferson County Trails Council (Fairfield IA) was instrumental in developing this Loop Trail, and continues to promote this, and other trails, in the Fairfield area.

In addition to the Loop Trail, another 17 miles of trails await you, some of them for walking-only. All of which comprises the Jefferson County Trails System.

Loop Trail Map

See a PDF version of this map, to enlarge it or print it.

Facebook Page

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Fairfield Loop Trail  - details on Fairfield Loop Trail page.

Bikers on the Loop Trail in Whitham Woods

Welcome to our 15.9-mile Fairfield Loop Trail, which encircles Fairfield, with many connection points, allowing you to customize your adventures.

With its variety of terrain and topographies, connections to three lakes, wetlands, a state preserve, our county park, and many city parks, the 15.9-mile Fairfield Loop Trail is an experience unlike most trails.

In fact, we think of the Loop Trail as a long, narrow linear park, with a variety of adventures along the way. Some describe it as a "string of pearls" or an "emerald necklace", each element being a jewel on the necklace.

The many entrance/exit points, parking areas, and connections to other trails, are marked on our map.

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

The Fairfield 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).

Go to our Fairfield Loop Trail page for more details.

Walking on the Loop Trail near Walton Lake

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Other Trails in Jefferson County, IA  - details on Other Trails page.

Park trail in Jefferson Cnty Park
Trail in Jefferson County Park. Photo by Werner Elmker

In addition to the Fairfield Loop Trail, there are a number of other trails in the greater Fairfield area.

Jefferson County Park has about 8-miles of trails. The Cedar View Trail connects to the Loop Trail. Other connections include the Erma Hartman Trail, and the Prairie & Pond Trail.

Walking-only trails are around Pleasant Lake, around Bonnifield Lake, in Lamson Woods, and in Chautauqua Park East.

Retired railroad beds that belonged to the Rock Island Railroad, and the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad (now BNSF), are used for about five-miles of trails.

The Bikeway/Walkway Plan is not really a trail, but rather a system of streets that are marked to enable pedestrians and bicyclists to make their way as safely as possible around town and to the Fairfield Loop Trail and other trails.

The Heritage Tour is a tour of historic buildings in Fairfield, and is also a virtual tour complete with much information about the history of Fairfield.

The Louden Machinery Company Tour is another virtual tour that highlights the contributions made by this Fairfield company to farming around the world, and illustrates it's leadership position in industrial handling equipment.  Related to this is the Maasdam Barns project, which was recently developed as a recreational and educational center.

Water trails are nearby (which require a boat or canoe).

Southeast Iowa trails can be found in A J Steiner's (A.J's Bicycle Shop) comprehensive list of trails in southeast Iowa for mountain bike enthusiasts.

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About the Jefferson County Trails Council  - details on JCTC/Policies page.

About the JCTC

Our Mission Statement: The Jefferson County Trails Council's mission is to: build, construct, and maintain a network of trails for public use and enjoyment, and to promote, inform, and educate the general public about the trail system.

See more about the Jefferson County Trails Council on the JCTC/Policies page.

Our Mailing Address: Jefferson County Trails Council, P.O. Box 2375, Fairfield, IA 52556

Our e-mail address is:    e-mail address

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About Fairfield, Iowa  - details on Fairfield page.

RAGBRAI 2015 at the Courthouse
 Jefferson County Courthouse, Fairfield, IA, during the 2015 RAGBRAI, photo by Werner Elmker

Fairfield is the county seat in the geographical center of Jefferson County, Iowa.

With 10,000 residents, Fairfield has a unique blend of manufacturing and service business diversity that spans over a century of solid growth, and is a major entrepreneurial base for many small businesses and manufacturers.

Take a look at our online Heritage Trail and online Louden Tour to learn more about Fairfield's history, industrial heritage, and architectural diversity.

North side of Fairfield Square
Fairfield Square, photo by Werner Elmker

Fairfield is also the home of Maharishi University of Management.

Located in southeast Iowa, Fairfield is easy to find (map below).  The Fairfield Convention and Visitors Bureau website has much visitor information about Fairfield and surrounding areas.

About Fairfield, IA Fairfield Location Map

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Trail News  - more on News page.

News

Notice: Construction on the Fairfield Loop Trail  (07-09-2017)

The Iowa National Guard is constructing a vehicle-storage-expansion north of their existing facility at 1501 West Stone Ave. This project will include relocation of the Fairfield Loop Trail in this area. During construction, the Loop Trail north of the Iowa National Guard property will be closed, with a detour for the Loop Trail marked. See more details on the map (as a PDF) showing the trail detour route.

Construction is anticipated to begin the week of September 18 and will be completed in the spring. The contractor for the project is Leffler Dirtworks of Oskaloosa.

   Thanks to everyone who participated in the Scavenger Hunt and made this 2017 event a success! Prizes will be mailed to winners who were not present at July's Fairfield First Fridays.

Ninety-three people entered the 2017 annual Jefferson County Trails Council Scavenger Hunt. The person who traveled the farthest to complete the hunt was from Creston, Iowa.

For details of the Hunt, see 2017 JCTC Scavenger Hunt, which began May 27, 2017 at sunrise.

More news on News page.

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Links and Sitelist pages

FairFest 2015 in Fairfield, IA
 Fairfield FairFest 2015 next to the Courthouse, photo by Werner Elmker

Links page:

The Links page has links to websites about Things to See and Do in Fairfield, plus Arts & Music organizations, Recreation, Government and Services, Media, and Education, in Fairfield and Jefferson County.

Sitelist page:

Every web page on this website is listed on the Sitelist page for your convenience.

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The mission of the Jefferson County Trails Council is to build, construct, and maintain a network of trails for public use and enjoyment, and to promote, inform, and educate the general public about the trail system.

Every effort is made to ensure accurate information is posted to the site. However, Jefferson County Trails Council does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of the content on this site or content which is referenced by or linked to this site. © 2001-2018 Jefferson County Trails Council, Fairfield, Iowa.  Updated 05-16-18

Produced by the Jefferson County Trails Council, Fairfield, IA © 2001-2018.

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Logo for Jefferson County Trails Council, Fairfield
The new City of Fairfield logo, introduced Nov 15, 2016
2016 FCA Gala
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2016 FCA Gala

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