Sussex Branch Rail Trail

Sussex Branch Rail Trail, Allamuchy Mountain State Park (9/4/2009)

This is walk #14 ("The Sussex Branch Rail Trail") in History Walks in New Jersey. The entire Sussex Branch rail trail is about 21 miles long (with plans of future expansion) but today we did the the southern four miles as an out-and-back. Basically we covered the section between Waterloo and Andover (almost) which served the Andover mines, bringing iron ore south to Waterloo, where it was then placed on boats in the Morris Canal, heading for the furnaces of Pennsylvania.

We started at the southern end of the trail at Waterloo Road, and followed it north past the lovely Jefferson Lake, then Cranberry Lake, crossing over the Morris and Sussex Turnpike atop the "Hole in the Wall" (the first bridge indicated here north of Cranberry Lake), before turning back just after the second bridge and before the Lackawanna Cutoff. Just after the second bridge, I noticed a clear path climbing to the west of the rail path. Interested, I decided to head in for a look. To my surprise, in no more than 0.1 mile I came upon a well-graded trail adjacent to another defunct railroad, this one with the ties still there! (See the last photo in the 10th row.) I have no idea what railroad this was. There is no indication of it on any map I have seen, and yet the path adjacent to it was as well graded as the Sussex path.

We had lunch atop a wonderful rocky overlook at the northern part of Cranberry Lake, before logging the last of our 8 miles.

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

Near the southern terminus

The rail trail

Railroad remains?

Approaching Jefferson Lake

Lady and the lake

Beautiful reflections

Lotus plants in lake


[Photo by Laura]

Lake wild flowers

Culvert at northwestern tip


More railroad remains

Waterfall on Long Path


Another culvert


Iron ore?

Beautiful green path

Huge culvert

A mine on the Iron Mine Trail

Looking through the culvert

Swamp on Iron Mine trail

[Photo by Laura]

They blasted through this


Cranberry Lake

Wildflowers ...

... on the bank

Pedestrian bridge over lake

Rail bed north of lake

Atop the "Hole in the Wall"

On the second bridge

Remaining ties of unknown railroad

Granite cut on Route 206

Cranberry Lake

View of lake looking south

Our lunch spot!

At our lunch spot

Cranberry Lake

Lake wild flowers

Shells in the lake


At the boat launch

Boats on the bank


Water level marker

Golden rod


Rail trail south of lake

Beautiful shaded path

Heron in Jefferson Lake

He flew to the rocks

And dried himself off

Jefferson Lake

Lake plants

Lotus plants


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