Land Trails - Hiking, Biking, and Cross-country Skiing
Welcome to the Trails of Jefferson County Park
Come explore and enjoy the trails of Jefferson County Park. You'll know that you're not in the "Rockies", but you will get a great taste of the Iowa that the Native Americans enjoyed and the early pioneers found.
Most of the seven miles of trails in the park are surfaced with "lime chips" to provide year round enjoyment for walkers, joggers, and bicyclists. The trails are also great in the winter for cross-country skiers.
Several benches can be found along the trails for you to stop, rest, and reflect on the peacefulness, and beauty of the area. Or just sit and ponder on some of life's interesting situations in a quiet and peaceful setting!
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, both plant and animal type, 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. In season, native ferns, flowers and other forbes can be seen from the trail in most parts of the park. Fruit bearing bushes and vines are also very plentiful in season.
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 park's trail system ties into Cedar View Trail which leads to the city of Libertyville. The Cedar View Trail will eventually connect to the Fairfield Loop Trail which will encircle the entire 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 how you can become a member and help build our trail system.
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, Whitham Woods, and Cedar Creek Timber (and Jefferson County Park).
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. Contact us for information.
For cross-country skiing, go to Zillman's Hickory Hills, Whitham Woods, and Cedar Creek Trail.
The 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.
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 notoriously 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. is
The Skunk River Water Trail begins near Sigorney 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 Coppack and Mac Coon Access. See the Jefferson County section map.
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.
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: Round Prairie Park, Cedar Creek Timber, and Turkey-Run Wildlife Area.
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 maple, walnut, cottonwood, river birch, and elm. The size of many of these trees, especially the maples, attests to their age.
Prior to 1835, Jefferson County was virtually untouched by white man. Early surveyors kept generous field notes on the description of the area and 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".
A canoe trip from Turkey-Run Wildlife Area to Round Prairie Park 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 rock hound there are small rocky outcroppings to explore, and for the angler there is excellent fishing. Carp, chubs and catfish can be found hidden in the creek's holes and snags.
History (Heritage) Trails
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.
(The above websites will open in a new browser window).
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.