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blueBlack Saddle Loop Trail

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Trail

3.4 mile 5.4 kilometer point to point
87% Runnable
Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 599' 183 m
Descent: -521' -159 m
High: 1,057' 322 m
Low: 630' 192 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 6% (4°)
Max Grade: 22% (12°)

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Trail shared by Kenny Slocum

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A burly loop with nice views.

Kenny Slocum

Features Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers

Description

The most pedestrian-friendly entrance point for this route is just across the first bridge on Donahue Road near Heffern's Hill Loop.

The route begins by meandering through some tallgrass prairie for the first ~0.5 miles. Nice views of the Paint Creek Valley are abound in the open space. Soon, the loop section of the trail invites users to go either left or right. Either way will wreck the calves, as the trail climbs to the top of Cedar Ridge.

Going left, the steep climb has a few short benches, but mostly goes at a very rugged grade. The large cobbles as trail tread add to the technical element.

Once the trail tops out, the trail goes through lovely well-managed timber stands, mostly of Eastern Hardwood trees with a few pine plantations sprinkled in here and there. Bearing right will keep you on the saddle loop, but a few spurs connect this trail to the Fire Tower Trail and Red Oak Loop Trail for longer routes.

The trail follows the ridgeline, with one more junction leading to the Fire Tower Road via Cedar Ridge trail. Again, continuing a right-turns only policy will keep users on the saddle trail.

Continuing clockwise, a steep descent commensurate with the climb from a few miles ago takes users back down to the Paint Creek Valley. A few more short-but-stout rolling hills, and you're back at the junction leading back to Donahue Road.

Flora & Fauna

Sections of the forest here are marked for sustainable timber harvest, a good demonstration of multi-use in a state forest.

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  5.0 from 1 vote

#1947

Overall
  5.0 from 1 vote
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Rankings

#3

in Iowa

#1,947

Overall
10 Views Last Month
134 Since Apr 28, 2018
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

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