Fire Tower Road
ElevationAscent: 122' 37 m
Descent: -432' -132 m
High: 1,118' 341 m
Low: 686' 209 m
GradeAvg Grade: 8% (5°)
Max Grade: 23% (13°)
Current trail conditions
Popular runs nearby
Effigy Mounds North Unit - Hanging Rock
6.5 mi 10.5 km • Out and Back • 890 ft Ascent 271.14 m Ascent
Doubletrack McGregor, IA( 6 )
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“A steep, winding class B road with a spur to one of the best overlooks in Yellow River State Forest.”— Kenny Slocum
Starting at the south end, from the junction with Brown's Hollow Trail, Fire Tower Road climbs steadily until the ridgetop where it meets the Fire Tower Trail, branching off to the right.
Just past this junction, a sign points users toward the Cedar Ridge Overlook which is without a doubt one of if not the finest views in the considerably vast (for Iowa anyway) state forest.
After a short side trip on the out-and-back trail to Cedar Ridge Overlook, the trail then descends quite steeply to the valley floor. Running along this narrow road, one feels entombed by the dense canopy overhead, a feeling enhanced further by rock outcroppings that contribute to a canyon-like experience.
As long as no cars come through, signs of civilization aside from the gravel underfoot are sparse until the very end. The road connects on the north end with State Forest Road, just east of park headquarters and the sawmill.
From the headquarters, the Forester's Trail and White Pine Trail are just a hop skip and a jump away, enabling users to make a great loop back to the south side of the park.
Alternatively, runners can cross the highway and connect with the Paint Creek Trail, from which one can access the Bluff Trail the Larkin Valley Trail for even longer runs.
Land Manager: Iowa DNR - Yellow River State Forest