Traction Line Recreation Trail
Our area got at least 3 more feet of snow since our last hike. I have lost track of how many snow storms we got this year (i.e., in the last three weeks). Three? Four? Five? It seems to snow at least once a week these days. The next huge storm is coming on Wednesday and it could be worse than the second storm from this week which dumped nearly 2 feet on us (the other storm from this week was two days earlier and brought at least a half a foot). Given the huge amount of snow that has fallen recently, we weren't planning on going hiking this week. Even if the trails are tamped down (which they probably aren't) it'll still be slow going. So we were about to stay home. But then the idea of walking the Traction Line occurred to me. We dabbled with this rail trail in the past and found it agreeable. If it's not plowed, I figured, we'll turn back. If it is plowed, we'll stretch our legs. And so we did.

It's a fine little rail trail (paved its entire length) about 5 minutes from our house. And it was totally plowed (unlike Loantaka from two weeks ago). There were only a few other folks out enjoying the lovely winter day. And it wasn't snowing! We parked at the Convent Station train station, headed west all the way to Washington's Headquarters. Then we turned back and headed east, past the Convent Station train station, all the way to the eastern end on Danforth Road in Madison. Here we turned around and headed back west to the car. This is hike #22 ("Traction Line Recreation trail") in the book 24 Great Rail-Trails of New Jersey. That book was written in 1999 when only 2 miles of the trail were present (Convent to Washington's headquarters). Today the trail stretches three miles, so today we walked about 6 miles in about an hour and 45 minutes.

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

The gorgeous Madison Hotel

Tracks looking east

Rearing to go! [photo by Laura]

College of St. Elizabeth

View of trail looking east

Convention Station

Heading west

Madison Hotel from trail


Trail parallels the railroad

Train signal light

Exercise station

View of trail from steps to street

Steps at Normandy Parkway

Normandy Parkway bridge

Continuing west


Trail sign at western terminus

Washington's Headquarters, Morristown

Washington statue on Columbia Road

First Church of Christ

Statue and headquarters

Informational sign

Travel light?

Heading east now

Normandy Parkway bridge

View east


One of a couple of road crossings

Train signal

Golf course north

Train station lamps

Convent station building

College of St. Elizabeth

Chapel at St. Elizabeth

Traction Line sign

Steeple in St. Elizabeth's

Heading east

Mrs. Twombly's privacy wall on left

The wall has cracks

Big cracks in privacy wall

Danforth Road bridge

Informational sign at eastern end

Mrs. Twombly's Privacy Wall

NJ Transit

Heading to Convent Station

Brake lights on

The trail is a bike path too

Downy woodpecker

Winding trail looking east

Fairley Dickinson road

Animal tracks in woods

Runner heading east

Building at Convent Station

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