Along the rivers of Clayton County, there are many trails that visitors and community members can explore or do their morning jog. A popular trail in Elkader is the Pony Hollow Trail, which extends four miles in the trees and wetlands of Elkader. Pony Hollow Trail is a local favorite and can be explored year round for walking, biking, horse-back riding, snowmobiling and more.
Before it was a nature trail in the woodland areas surrounding Elkader, Pony Hollow was once an old railway that was lime-chipped in 2005 by the Clayton County Conservation Board. The walk along the trail begins in the Elkader City Park and offers a beautiful view of the Turkey River. The breeze rolling off the river is refreshing as it tickles my face and gently rustles the leaves of the tree tops. The lime chips give off a light crunch sound as I walk along the trail, and birds chirping overhead make me feel at peace. Along the trail, no sounds of the town can be heard; only the sounds of nature, and the occasional vehicle along the highway in the distance. For four miles, I could only hear the sounds of nature and my own footsteps.
Along the way, I found three different posts that had information about the trail and its history provided by the Clayton County Conservation team. It was nice to be able to read about the history of the trail and see how the community saw a benefit to repurposing an old railway and made it into something that everyone can enjoy. Today, locals and tourists alike can walk, bike, or ride their horse down the Pony Hollow Trail and feel the same sense of wonder and peace.
Pony Hollow Trail has become a local favorite since 2005 and brings families and tourists into Elkader to tour the trail. Thanks to the efforts of the county conservation team and support from the local community, the old railway was transformed into a beautiful nature trail that explores the woodland and wetland regions of Elkader and has a city park for families and friends to gather and enjoy an afternoon together.
Written by Jayna Felder | Photo Credit to Visit Iowa