Sauk Rail Trail

Trail Map

Description Suggest an Edit

The Sauk Rail-Trail runs for 33 paved miles between Swan Lake State Park in Carroll and Black Hawk State Park in Lake View. The trail links the communities of Swan Lake, Maple River, Breda, Carnarvon and Lake View with scenic state parks and serene farmland.

Along the trail you'll pass through prairies and wetlands, preserved at such places as Black Hawk Marsh, Breda's Railroad Depot, Hazelbrush Wildlife Area, Mid-Prairie Park and Rolling Hills City Park in Carroll. And each end is crowned by Black Hawk Lake and Swan Lake state parks.

Around Swan Lake you'll encounter hills but more level grades are between Maple River and Carnarvon. Distances between towns are as follows: Lake View and Carnarvon: 6.2 miles; Carnarvon and Breda: 6.5 miles; Breda and Maple River: 8 miles; Maple River and Carroll: 4.5 miles; Carroll and Swan Lake: 4 miles. The trail around Swan Lake is 3.8 miles.

A user fee is required for those 18 and older ($2 per day or $15 per year).

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the northern trailhead in Lake View: From US 71 northbound, take a left on 350th Street (IA 175). Travel 5 miles west and turn left at Madison Street. Travel south 0.4 miles to 3rd Street. Take another left and you’ll see the trail entrance with its distinctive arch on your right side in 0.2 miles. Parking is available at this trailhead.

At the southern end of the trail, parking is available in Swan Lake State Park (22676 Swan Lake Drive). From US 71 northbound, turn right onto 220th Street. Drive 1.4 miles east to reach the park.


A ride in beautiful Iowa

   September, 2016 by jrobey747

I'm from Kansas City and rode this trail on Labor Day weekend. It was a peaceful, quiet ride thru corn fields and the beautiful country sides of rural Iowa. The trail is in great shape and is very smooth until you have to cross several gravel roads. Like more

Good ride

   October, 2015 by gallest

We rode the trail for the first time right after Labor Day. We average 10 mph so it took us slightly over 4 hrs round trip. Scenery, along with all the little wooden bridges was neat! Concrete is much easier to ride than the asphalt on the Caroll end. more

Sauk easy ride

   July, 2015 by konniekennicker

My husband and I rode the Sauk Rail Trail July 3, 2015 from Carroll to Lake View and back. Started about 8 am and ended in the afternoon. The trailhead at Carroll would rate about 1 was one of the worst I've seen. Hard to find and nothing special. more