Swartswood State Park

Swartswood State Park (11/6/2010)

This is Hike #42 ("Swartswood Spring Lake Trail") in the book 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: New York City (2nd edition). This hike contains the one described in the Hike of the Week for 6/16/2006 with the addition of an inner loop of just under a mile following the entire green trail as well as the entire blue trail. The latter passes through a lovely hemlock area and is one of the more beautiful in the forest. Unfortunately, the map provided at the visitor's center is one of the worst I've ever seen from a NJ state park. Hardly any of the blazed hiking trails are even on the map, so if you're going to do this hike, just follow the instructions in the description and don't bother getting a park map.

It was cold this morning, barely above freezing, and the leaves were nearly all off the trees. Winter is on its way. As a result, we didn't encounter a single other hiker. Strangely, the two ponds were totally dry, but Spring Lake wasn't.

Total distance traveled was 3.6 miles in 2 hours.

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Trailhead for paved Duck Pond trail

On the Bear Claw trail

Bare trees

Climbing on Bear Claw

One of many boundary walls

Bridge to Nowhere


Dry Duck Pond

One of several birdhouses

Pond bottom exposed

Duckless and pondless

Climbing on Spring Lake trail

On the Red trail

Deer tracks

On the Red trail

It's a woods road here

On the Green trail heading west

More boundary walls

On the Blue trail

Carpet of leaves

Hemlock stretch

Bank of Spring Lake


Clear water

On the bank

Interesting stone

Spring Lake

Back on Red trail

That's a shadow

Mossy boundary wall

Dry Frog Pond

Visitor's Center


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