Jefferson County Trails Council

The Trails of Jefferson County, Fairfield, IA

City Lakes Header

City Lakes along the Fairfield Loop Trail
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Reservoirs to Recreation - Fairfield City Lakes  (scroll down)

The City of Fairfield and the Park & Recreation department are transforming the three city water reservoirs into water recreation areas, since the reservoirs were set aside as emergency sources of city water in 2005.

In 1994 and 2002 deep wells that tap into the Jordan aquifer were added to the 1958 well -- they now provide Fairfield's water needs without reliance on the reservoirs which were renamed Bonnifield Lake, Pleasant Lake, and Walton Lake.  The Jordan aquifer was formed thousands of years ago when the glaciers receded, leaving behind sand and rock that provide an excellent water filtering system for this deep underground water supply.

The map below shows the location of the lakes.

Non-wake boats are allowed on all 3 lakes, as well as row-boats, kayaks, etc.  Boats with internal combustion engines are not allowed.

Please have respect for the lakes and help keep them clean.

Walk between Pleasant Lake and Bonnifield Lake via this photo essay.

City Lakes Map

Bonnifield Lake

Bonnifield Lake

          Bonnifield Lake (previously referred to as Reservoir #1) in Waterworks Park was Fairfield's first reservoir, built in 1885 as a result of Fairfield's decision to built a water treatment plant.  Covering about 30 surface acres, it was built by horse and mule teams and a lot of hard work.  About 5,000 feet of water main, still in use, was laid at this time to supply the city.  In the 1960's the reservoir dam was raised by three feet.

As part of the new recreation usage plan of 2005, a beach for swimming was built, and non-motorized boating was allowed.   Waterworks Park photos.

A grassy multi-purpose trail surrounds Bonnifield Lake, which connects to the Loop Trail at the north section of Waterworks Park.

A dock was built and installed in May, 2006, but was removed in 2011 due to safety concerns.  Click here to see dock photos.

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Pleasant Lake

Pleasant Lake

          Now named Pleasant Lake, the second reservoir (Reservoir #2) was built in 1898 after severe water shortages in 1885.  It covered 40 surface acres.  Around 1914 the dam was raised for more capacity, and raised again in the 1960's by three feet.

In May 2006 it was named Pleasant Lake by popular vote.  Fishing and non-motorized boating are popular here.  More water recreation is being developed.   See the gazebo here.

There are walking-only trails on both the East and West sides -- enter them from the Loop Trail which passes along the south side of the lake.    See the Walking-only trails page.

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Walton Lake

Walton Lake

          Because of more severe water shortages in 1910, Walton Lake (the third reservoir) was built in 1923, covering 60 surface acres.  In the 1950's the dam was raised by 10 feet.  Walton Lake is being developed for water recreation to supplement the golf course which was developed privately in 1929.

The Loop Trail travels along part of the west side of the lake.  The Walton Club (website) operates a golf course here, and building lots have been sold around the lake.
       See Walton Lake photos here.

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Fishing in the Lakes

The Iowa DNR has been updating its renovation and rehabilitation plan for the three city lakes in consultation with the Fairfield Water Department and the Fairfield Park and Rec Department.  They have been stocked at various times starting with bluegills (in the fall), then largemouth bass and channel catfish in the spring, and later with black crappies after the other fish have settled in.  Other species may be found in the lakes, but are not there by design.

If the size of individual mature largemouth bass fishes increase, it can be an indication that the fish population is in balance, or it may mean that it is out of balance.  A survey is the only way to find out for sure.

Fairfield Water Works, reservoir # 1, from a 1906 postcard, thanks to Gene Luedtke
The City Water Works in 1906

Another postcard - the dam is to the left.   Thanks to Gene Luedtke
The City Water Works in 1906

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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. © 2001-2016 Jefferson County Trails Council, Fairfield, Iowa.  Updated 05-15-16


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Click here for a Google Map, then open the menu at the top left, then click on "Bicycling", and see the route of the Fairfield Loop Trail.