Old Farm Sanctuary

Old Farm Sanctuary (8/2/2014)

Wow this place is wild! In fact, it's one of the wildest, most rugged places we have hiked in New Jersey in quite some time. With a simple, unassuming name like Old Farm Sanctuary, you'd think it was an afternoon stroll. Don't be fooled by the name. There's no farm here. This area has some serious climbing and while the next blaze is visible from no matter where you happen to be, about 75% of the time there's no trail. You're following the blazes but it feels like you're the first person to do so in years. Do NOT wear shorts! I did and Laura didn't. You should see my legs! One other thing, this place has one of the spectacular views in New Jersey (aside from the Delaware Water Gap). But I don't suspect many have seen it since the path there is so rugged and untravelled.

Using this map, we parked on Petersburg Road, thinking that we could do every trail in the place from there. But the website (see link above) warns of flooding on the Red Cedar Trail. And sure enough, the trail disappears in the swamp indicated north of the trail. I annotated the place where you can't go any further here. So after reaching that point we headed back to the car, with our hiking boots as muddy as they've ever been, and drove to the parking area on Ryan Road. And from there we did just about every trail, but didn't attempt the other end of the Red Cedar Trail. We headed on the southern segments all the way to Hawk Lookout, where we had lunch admiring the view, and then headed back to the car along the northern segments

Total distance hiked was 3 miles in 2 hours and 20 minutes, with a lot of climbing!

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

Wildflower at...

...Red Cedar trail head

Parking for 3-4 cars

Passing picnic benches

The Red Cedar trail...

...is well-defined

Norway Spruce Grove

One of several bridges


Stream parallel

An inviting path

Woodpecker-damaged birdhouse

It seems mowed in spots

Now a bit overgrown

Buried picnic benches

Turkey vulture


Two fresh bear prints

The meadow swamp

We turned back here

Part 2 at Ryan Road

Heading west on woods road

Audubon blazes

Starts climbing...

It climbs...

...about 250 feet...

...in about...

...0.2 miles

Interesting spider

Trail tomfoolery

And it keeps climbing

Now on the ridge heading to...

...the Hawk Watch


Laura picking her...

...lunch spot

What a view to the valley

Expensive neighborhood

Zoom to a farm

One last glimpse

Curious chipmunk

Private property

Blazes but no tamped-down trail

Boundary wall



Informational sign for...

...Mine Cut




Back to the car

Sanctuary sign

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