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black Well's Hollow Trail

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Trail

1.2 mile 2.0 kilometer point to point
Singletrack
Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 195' 60 m
Descent: -147' -45 m
High: 909' 277 m
Low: 729' 222 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 14% (8°)

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Trail shared by Kenny Slocum

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A short but challenging jaunt through the woods at Bloody Run County Park.

Kenny Slocum

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Views · Wildlife

Park campgrounds often close after heavy rains. Please respect area closures and hike around the flagging if you intend to hike.

Description

Trailheads can be found at the north end of the large campground, and at the bottom of the private drive on the west edge of the park.

Starting from the large campground, a narrow but well-signed trail meanders past large dolomite boulders before taking a sharp zig zag up to a shelf below the bluff. From here the route follows a small cliff band for a few tenths of mile before tracing above a gully to reach the first oak savanna. Take a second to look around; some TSI work has made this a truly special little habitat.

From here the trail passes briefly through a White Pine plantation, around the head of the gully, and out onto another savanna. In high summer, this view is occluded by the canopy, but in the spring and fall with less coverage the view is stellar. This is also a great spot for wildflowers, with a great variety of flowers and grasses thriving under the shade of mighty oak trees.

From the top of this second bluff, the trail drops in and out of a ravine - Well's Hollow itself - at less of a grade than the initial climb. This is a splendid place in the early part of the year to find Spring Ephemerals such as Dutchman's Breeches, Bloodroot, and Hepatica. After summer rains, Indian Pipe can be surprisingly abundant on this stretch.

Climbing out of Well's Hollow, the trail passes through the third and final savanna. Some well-placed decay has opened up a fantastic view of the Bloody Run Valley below, with little to no signs of civilization when the leaves have obscured the quaint little home just outside the campground.

Finally, coming off the top of the bluff, the trail drops into the back of the camping area. Either take the road just a short ways back to find your car, or turn around and hike it backwards!

Flora & Fauna

Deer and turkey frequent this forest, and turkey vultures are commonly seen at eye level from the blufftops.

This primitive forest is spectacular in wildflower season, passing through multiple different ecosystems in just a short stretch.

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  3.0 from 1 vote

#20830

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  3.0 from 1 vote
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Rankings

#79

in Iowa

#20,830

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