Passaic River Trail

Passaic River Trail (3/29/2014)

Weather forecasts predicted that this weekend would be a wash-out but most forecasts didn't have the rain beginning until about 10 AM. So I found this rugged trail, only about 20 minutes from our house, and decided to head there to see how much we could do before it started raining. Knowing it was an out-and-back we decided to turn at either the 90 minute mark, or when it began raining, whichever came first.

We parked at the western end, on Valley Road, in a small lot large enough for about three cars and headed south following the winding river, keeping it on our right. Within 5 minutes we saw a red fox on the opposite bank, fleeing south, startled to see us. I managed to get a blurry photo (second photo in the third row) before he was gone for good. At first the trail is blazed white and when it reaches a large white mansion across the river on the other bank (directly in front of you), the trail winds back north to form a lollipop. After discovering this, we headed back south along to the mansion and managed to find the official Passaic River trail blazed with metal discs containing the trail name and logo heading east. The markers were sporadic, but all we needed to do was keep the river on our right as it winded east, then west towards Route 78.

It's a very rugged trail with some blow-downs and prickly vines (don't try this while wearing shorts or a short-sleeve shirt). Eventually we reached a wide water canal cutting directly north and south. While you can't see it on Google Maps, it is clearly seen on Bing Maps in "bird's eye" view at lat/long: 40.650173 N, 74.520330 W. It wasn't possible to cross over at the point of the trail. I'm sure we could have headed north a bit to find a better crossing, but at this exact time it started raining, so we retraced our steps back to the car. It's interesting to note that on Bing Maps you can see another canal (perhaps even wider) a bit further east and at least two more east of that. So when we return to complete the entire eastern half, and park at the eastern end, the going might be a bit wet!

Total distance hiked today was 3.8 miles in 2 hours and 20 minutes.

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