The Sauk Rail Trail is a 33-mile long multi-use hard surface trail in Sac and Carrroll Counties. With Lake View, Black Hawk Lake and Black Hawk State Park at the north end, the trail winds through the countryside communities of Carnarvon, Breda and Maple River before reaching Swan Lake State Park south of Carroll. It is the state of Iowa's first trail connecting two State Parks.
A joint effort of the Sac and Carroll County Conservation Boards, this heavily used recreational trail provides a quality outdoor recreational experience for the public, while preserving varied habitat for game and non-game wildlife and Iowa's native vegetation. While there are some hilly sections around Swan Lake, a majority of the Sauk Rail Trail was built on abandoned railroad beds which creates flat terrain for an easy ride.
In the summer months, walkers and bikers take to the trail for enjoyment. Many local bicycling events are held in conjunction with the trail each year, including "Ride the Rail," the annual Sauk Rail Trail ride. Thursday night rides are also a popular activity, where riders beginning in either Lake View or Carroll meet up in Breda for food and refreshments. In the winter, the trail is home to snowmobiling, snowshoeing and cross country skiing.
The Sauk Rail Trail is managed by the Carroll and Sac County Conservation Boards. The trail surface is a combination of concrete and asphalt. No motor vehicles are allowed on the trail in the summer months and ATVs are prohibited.
Trail user permit fees are $2/day or $15 annually. Youth 17 and under are free. Daily group rates and annual corporate rates are available. Permit envelope are located at trailheads or at the Carroll & Sac County Conservation offices. All fees are directed towards trail development and maintenance.
Bicycle helmets are recommended at all times and the use of lights at nights are recommended. For more tips to make your ride safe, visit the Iowa Bicycle Coalition website.