Jefferson County Trails Council

The Trails of Jefferson County, Fairfield, IA

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The Fairfield Loop Trail, our "emerald necklace"

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. Or for details, look at our descriptions of each of the ten segments of the Fairfield Loop Trail (scroll down).

Click here for a large version of this map.

Map- Jefferson County Trails System

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 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.  It connects to the Northwestern Segment at 8th & Gear, and extends to B Street.

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.& It extends from B Street to Walton Road.

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 Glasgow Road.  A concrete-surfaced section at Chautauqua Park connects to a crushed limestone surface in a wooded low-land, where three bridges cross creeks in the Fry property, then it connects to the Lamson Woods/Neff Wetlands at Glasgow Road.

The Lamson Woods/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.

Above Trail map courtesy of Liz Howard

   Click here to view a 2015 Loop Trail map prepared for the city of Fairfield, with mileage markers.
     (May take a while to load this PDF file).

   Click here to view a printable map (PDF file)

   The Fairfield Chamber of Commerce website has a map of the Fairfield area.

   The website has a Google Map of our Loop Trail.

Click here for a Google Map, to see the route of the Fairfield Loop Trail.

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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. © 2001-2017 Jefferson County Trails Council, Fairfield, Iowa.  Updated 06-09-17


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Click the Map to enlarge: Loop Trail Map
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Click here to see a Google Map displaying the Loop Trail, marked with green and brown lines.