Berkshire Valley Wildlife Management Area
Though situated in the county where we live (Morris County), and encompassing over 2,000 acres of land, we never hiked in this WMA before today. It's actually not easy to, given the fact that there aren't any blazed trails, and the most detailed map I could find online was this one on the NJ government website. But there is one well-worn path through the central part of the area, the abandoned railroad bed of the Lake Hopatcong Railroad, in business from 1882 to 1935. You can actually see the path on Google Earth; its labeled "Berkshire Valley Management Area Trail". It travels about 2.2 miles from Gordon Road (its southern end) to Minnisink Road (its northern end).

And today we hiked the pleasant 4.5-mile round-trip in less than 2.5 hours. South to north is all uphill, though it's gradual. The reward is the return which is, of course, all downhill. [Addenda: a week after doing this hike, I purchased the book 24 Great Rail-Trails of New Jersey and discovered that this hike is the very first in the book!]

(Click on the thumbnail to bring up a bigger image in a pop-up window)

The trail head

Ready for a wintry walk [photo by Laura]

The parking area

Yeah right. Tracks were all over!

Two roads diverged in a wood ...

Narrow path here

Eventually widens


That's a strong vine!

ATV tracks

Straight away

View to the valley below

[photo by Laura]

Pipeline from 1977

It parallels the trail nearly all the way

Detail of where the pipes join

Laura and the pipe

[photo by Laura]

Picatinny Arsenal tower

Downy woodpecker

American Ductile Iron Pipe

A RR tie remains in place

Abandoned car upside down

Boundary wall

RR cut through the mountain here


From on top of the pipe

Animal tracks were all over

A beautiful hornet's nest

These pipes aren't flush!

Snowy boulder field

Very icy path here

Ice art

Another abandoned car


Boundary walls

Minnisink Road

Returning on the ice

Snack break on the pipe

Rock striations

Beautiful patterns in the ice

[photo by Laura]

Mansions on the hill

View through a pipe

20 gauge shell

From the RR?

Old barn near trail

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