Paint Creek Trail
ElevationAscent: 33' 10 m
Descent: -124' -38 m
High: 738' 225 m
Low: 636' 194 m
GradeAvg Grade: 1% (1°)
Max Grade: 3% (2°)
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“A nice mellow jaunt along Big Paint Creek.”— Kenny Slocum
From the White Pine Road trailhead, the trail is a nice, grassy doubletrack moving right along the banks of Big Paint Creek. A few trails branch off of the west end of this trail, the Bluff Trail and Larkin Valley Trail, making it a good jumping off point for longer, more climby routes.
The trail crosses the highway, State Forest Road, about halfway through. Shortly after that junction, there's a creek crossing that has large boulders to help pedestrians cross. A few other equestrian crossings invite more adventurous users who aren't afraid to get their feet a little wet in the shallow creek.
The tread is mostly grass and dirt, but a few spots can be slightly muddy. The scenery in the narrow valley is bucolic, and the option to continue onto Donahue Road makes this a relaxing, low-grade option that won't thrash the legs.
A small pond just before the Donahue Road trailhead is a regular spot to watch waterfowl and Great Blue heron, and any number of temporary visitors using the Mississippi flyway during migrations.
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Land Manager: Iowa DNR - Yellow River State Forest