Jonathan's Woods

Jonathan's Woods (11/12/2011)

Today we headed for this lovely parcel of land no more than a 25-minute drive away. It's the former site of the Jersey City watershed in Denville, acquired by the POWWW (Protect our Wetlands, Water & Woods) in 2001. The property is now owned by the Morris County Park Commission and the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife. There are at least five miles of trails here, with lots of unblazed woods roads as well.

Using this map, we parked at the northern gate to Ford Road (on Old Beach Glen Road) and headed south. We took the Cathedral Pines trail (which is actually sort of a loop, not accurately depicted on the map), then the Birder's Loop (which is a v-shaped trail, also not shown as such on the map). Heading a bit back north on Ford Road we next headed east on the red Ford Road trail, taking this all the way to the blue-blazed Hillcrest Trail, which climbed the ridge. We next took the Mud Hole trail (unblazed) to get to the green Little Bear Trail which we took NE to get to the Hog Pen, on the pink trail.

Up to this point we had not seen a single person in the entire park. Imagine our surprise when we got to the Hog Pen (a huge rock formation and easily the most memorable aspect of the park) and found at least a half dozen tents pitched, along with jackets, backpacks and loads of other camping equipment strewn all over the area, even across the Hog Pen! I felt as if I walked into an Occupy Hog Pen protest! Climbing the Hog Pen I noticed rock climbing gear still left at the top. The big surprise was that there was no one around! The tents were empty, and apparently everything else was left behind as well. Go figure! From the pink trail we headed NW on the red trail (which we had difficulty finding with all the tents pitched right on the graded trail and intersection). This we climbed again to the ridge before finally making a right on the orange Old Beach Glen trail. We then walked along the shoulder of Old Beach Glen Road back to the car.

Total distance hiked today was 5.3 miles in 3 hours.

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

Northern gate of Ford Road


Heading south on Ford Road

Cathedral pines

View south on Ford Road

On the pine trail


Heading west


Spent shotgun shells

Birder's Loop trailhead

Boardwalk on Birder's Loop


Views north ...

... from Birder's Loop

Marsh at western tip ...

... of Birder's Loop

Chairs at the tip



Back on Ford Road

Ruins on the red trail

Stream to Beaver Brook

Stream off Red

Red continues left at fork

Beech color

Stream crossing

Colors ...

... on Red


Boundary wall

Lots of leaf drop

Last remaining ...

... fall color


Beech colors on Red

Private lake west of Red

Climbing on Blue

Woods road to Green

Sign for Hog Pen

On Pink trail

Tents at ...

... "Occupy Hog Pen"

Climbing gear at top

View east from top of Hog Pen

Looking for Red trail ...

... behind the tents

Hog Pen looms over tent

Partial views ...

... from the ridge

Descending a bit

Lots of boundary walls on Orange

Approaching Old Beach Glen Road

Kiosk at Orange trailhead

Photographs and content copyright © Dan Balogh
Web design by Dan Balogh