Cars welcome on loop trail, Cedar View Trail
The ninth annual Fall Trail Drive is set from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, rain or shine, with three routes open for automobile traffic on the Fairfield Loop Trail and the Cedar View Trail.
“A lot of people have said that they wish they could see even more of the trails or take a little longer ride, and this year, we are going to make that possible by offering three routes,” said organizer Ron Meyers, the Jefferson County Park host. “You will be able to do any one or all three routes for a total of over 7 miles.”
All three routes are one-way traffic only and each route starts at the parking lot and trail entrance on 32nd Street and must be done as a separate drive.
Trail section No. 1 is a 1.5-mile drive along the Cedar View Trail on the old Rock Island Railroad bed. Meyers said the trail has nice views of the Cedar Creek wetland and the Cedar Creek timber.
“You also will cross over the Highway 34 Bypass on the 256-foot bridge and cross high above Cedar Creek on a 400-foot bridge,” he said.
The route ends on 223rd Street. Drivers should turn left on the gravel, then left again on Libertyville Road to head back toward Fairfield.
Trail section No. 2 is part of the Fairfield Loop Trail on the south side of Fairfield. The 3.2 miles more or less parallel Highway 34. It features a Snake Alley-type hill with sharp twists and turns.
Drivers exit the route by the Jefferson County Health Center at Highway 1. Meyers said the Maasdam Barns Committee members and volunteers will have the Maasdam Barns and Museum open for those who want to visit during the trail drive.
Trail section No. 3 is a 2.5 mile-section on the loop trail on the west side of Fairfield. Part of the section parallels Highway 34, then enters a field and follows Jefferson County’s first railroad bed dating back to the mid 1850s. The trail then ties into the Whitham Woods Preserve trail system. Information on the Whitham family and the Whitham Nursery will be available at the exit area onto Business 34 on the west edge of Fairfield.
All three sections of trails are part of the 17 miles that are managed by the Jefferson County Conservation Board. Meyers said signs will be posted along the trails to help drivers make connections to all three routes.
Meyers reminds drivers not to drive off the trails, not to park along the trails, block traffic or turn around.
He said if someone spots something they would like to explore, they should plan to walk the trail at a later date. Those who cannot walk can call the Jefferson County Park Nature Center at 472-4421 to arrange a ride in the electric cart.
According to Meyers, the trail drive has allowed about 2,400 people to see parts of the trail system during the last eight years.
“It’s often a trail user bringing out family members or neighbors who are not physically able to get out and use the trails any other way,” said Meyers. “The Jefferson County Conservation Board is happy to provide this service, along with their trail rides in Jefferson County Park, for our challenged residents.”