Patriot's Path: Speedwell Lake

Patriot's Path: Speedwell Lake West (7/17/2010)

It was in the 90s and humid today in New Jersey. We have discovered that on days like this, the best hikes are level and under the cover of trees, two things usually offered by a good rail trail. So today we did the eastern half of Hike #17 ("Patriot's Path") in the book 24 Great Rail-Trails of New Jersey.

On February 27 of this year we did the 2.1-mile western part of this rail hike (from Mendham Road to Washington Valley Road). On that day we hiked in two feet of freshly fallen snow. Today we did the stretch from Speedwell Lake in Morristown to Washington Valley Road. However, instead of doing an out-and-back, we hiked a lollipop by taking the blue trail at Sussex Turnpike, all the way to where it joins the PP at its Washington Valley Road crossing.

Speedwell Lake was teeming with wonderful water birds, and the grassy fields near Washington Valley Road were filled with beautiful wildflowers, butterflies and dragonflies. Total distance hiked today was 5.6 miles in about 3 hours.

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

Morristown Community Fireplace ...

... constructed July 4, 1918

Dam at Speedwell Lake

[Photo by Laura]

Factory ruins in parking area

Wildflower and waterfall


PP trailhead

Speedwell Lake

Wide path at lake




Another egret

Path narrows

Another cormorant


Whippany River

Rock-a-Bye Baby Railroad Embankment

Wildflower on trail

Paved path in parts

Getting wilder

Interesting culvert

Marshy near Sussex Turnpike

Blue jay

View east from Sussex Turnpike

Taking the blue from Sussex

Barbed wire


Bee in flight

View north


Curious dragonfly

An even closer view!

On blue path near Washington Valley Road

Wildflowers and a birdhouse

Another colorful moth

Beautiful wild field

Grassy path on blue trail


On blue trail heading west

PP looking west from Washington Valley Road

PP looking east from Washington Valley Road

Old RR ties

Duck in swamp

Looks like a rain forest here

So green!

Sweet little bird

Red-tail hawk

Taking off!

Swans in lake

Swan family

Mallards eating

Canada geese and egret


Egret in a tree

Back to the dam


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