Oreland Branch

Oreland Branch, Wharton & Northern Railroad, Farny State Park (9/1/2012)

Today we returned to the Farny State Park area to explore the abandoned Oreland Branch of the Wharton & Northern Railroad. I managed to patch together a circuit hike that covered the 2.7-mile stretch of railroad bed (one of the prettiest we've hiked) along with woods roads, a surprise connecting unmaintained trail, and a small residential walk in between.

We parked at the Upper Hibernia Road parking for Beaver Pond and followed the newly-blazed Wildcat Ridge trail north along the RR bed just across the road from the parking area. The RR bed zigzagged north, crossing the road twice and then headed west before ending at Green Pond Road 2.7 miles away. We then backtracked east a bit to an unmaintained trail heading south (which is not on NYNJTC Map #125). This took us south to a woods road (which is on the map, and eventually to a powerline cut which we then took west to Green Pond Road. We headed south on the wide shoulder of the road for no more than 2-3 minutes, turning left onto Darlington Road into an exclusive residential area of McMansions. At the eastern tip of the road, we re-entered the woods following another woods road which led us back to our car. We didn't see another soul the entire hike!

As an aside, the biggest thrill for us was actually before the hike. Driving south on Upper Hibernia Road, we were treated to the sight of a very large black bear crossing the road very near our car. We stopped to watch him after he crossed. He stopped to watch us watching him, before lumbering into someone's yard!

Total distance hiked today was about 5.4 miles in just under 3 hours.

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Trailhead at Upper Hibernia Road

RR equipment possibly

RR ties against rock

Nice cut through the stone

Crossing Upper Hibernia Road

A curious fawn!

View north

View south


Old sturdy wall

More RR equipment?

Locked for decades

RR spikes

Beautiful RR bed

Piles of RR ties

Second crossing of Upper Hibernia Road

Across a powerline cut

Turkey vulture on pylon

Gorgeous tunnel of vegetation

Passing a house

Early foliage

Beautiful caterpillar

Examining another spike

Sun is coming out

Hills in the back

[Photo by Laura]

Swampy area


Tiny bridge

View south

Some sort of ...

... stone marker

A bee in a bud

Wet in spots

RR ties still in place


[Photo by Laura]

Mine tailings on path?

Climbing some rocks [Photo by Laura]

Another wall

Ends at Green Pond & Lake Denmark Roads

NJ WMA sign

Crossing stream on unmaintained trail

Frog near stream

Another at same spot

Powerline cut

View west

Gorgeous wildflowers in cut

Bridge over wet spot

View east

Piles of mulch

Butterfly and buds

Checking out the flowers

Darlington Drive & Green Pond Road

View west from gate

Through gate into the forest

This used to be paved

Frog and acorn

Path climbs a bit

Another gate further east

Road to a residence

Trees leaning on powerlines

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