A nice easy trail
I hiked the length of the trail and back 12-12-11. The dog and I both had a good time.
I posted a bunch of pictures and video on my blog.
This was a longish hike for us. 11.7 miles per the GPS track. Just under 6 hours. We had nice cool weather. It started out in the low 30s and edged up into the low 40s. We passed by Stone Bridge and Roland Olson FPs, and turned around when we got to the Long Prairie Trail.
It is an easy walk, not much grade change. It is an old RR right of way and trains don't like much in the way of grade change. The surface is an easy walking crushed stone.
It was a Monday morning. I did not expect much traffic. We ran across maybe a dozen people on foot, most with dogs, and another half dozen or so on bikes.
The trail surface is about 10 feet wide, with 20-50 feet of buffer on either side. Much of it is hardwood, some is prairie. Much of the trail abuts residential areas so it is sort of like walking through people's back yards. The trail often has deep gullies along side it, sometimes exhibiting a 50 foot drop or more, and in one section there are 10-30 foot high berms on either side.
I did not notice much in the way of facilities along the way. A bench at Elevator Road, and a well and outhouses at Roland Olson FP were about it. There were also benches at the observation deck at Stone Bridge. There are 19 parking spots at the Rockton Road access point. About the same at Roland Olson FP. You probably could park in the Roscoe Township offices at Elevator Road as well. None of the other access points had any parking.
We passed over 4 or 5 creeks. Wilma wanted to visit them, but there was not any real convenient access. Maybe next time.
Stone Bridge Trail
A beautiful, smooth path. The surface is very finely crushed gravel and dirt - no problem with traction even for a bike with street tires. The stone bridge, which is on the National Register of Historic places, is a must-see. There is a long, zig-zag walkway down to an observation deck to view it. Don't turn off your heart rate monitor - the trip back up will get your blood pumping! Many parts of the path are very well shaded. There is a very slight upward grade that starts about 1/2 mile away from the trail head on Rockton Rd. that goes quite a distance - something to be aware of if taking a long trip. I prefer to start at Rockton, so my return trip is a little faster and easier. Just did a ride from Rockton to the Long Prairie trail, through Caledonia, then a quick left on Fairgrounds Rd. to the Boone Family Restaurant - 12 miles. Food, rest, then headed back. Very doable, even for a beginner like me.