Wharton & Northern Railroad

Wharton & Northern RR, Pequannock Watershed (6/16/2012)

We climbed Copperas Mountain in early January of this year. At that time we did a lollipop hike which visited the amazing vista atop the mountain, then headed north on an unmaintained trail eventually descending steeply to the abandonded bed of the Wharton and Northern Railroad, which we took just a bit west to a woods road which headed SW along a lower ridge of the mountain.

Today we did a longer lollipop starting from the same pull-off on Green Pond Road (just where the Four Birds Trail crosses the road). We took the white-blazed Four Birds Trail east, climbing the mountain to the spectacular view over Charlotteburg Reservoir, and then continued SW along the ridge. After descending to where the red-blazed Marty Donofrio trail begins on the right, we made a left on a woods road, then another left at a T-intersection, eventually reaching the abandoned railway bed near the southern tip of the reservoir. Here we headed north and WOW was this part flooded! We managed to find enough room on the sides of the road to get through, watching dozens of frogs leap into the water from the banks like synchronized Olympic swimmers as we made our way north. At the northern tip of the reservoir the bed curved left heading west, and we turned left on the same woods road from January. Our final turn was a right onto the Four Birds trail which put us back on the lollipop stick which we took back to the car.

Total distance hiked today was 7 miles in just over 3.5 hours. A permit is required for hiking in this area, which can be purchased at the office on Echo Lake Road. The permits are good for the calendar year.

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

Pull-off on Green Pond Road

Kiosk east of road

Bear carving in tree


Beginning to ascend




Blueberry bushes

First views of ...

... Charlotteburg Reservoir


A grassy Four Birds trail

Unobstructed views of ...

... Charlotteburg Reservoir

Manhattan skyline

Islands in reservoir

Building and dam

Wider shot

View SE

View NE

Fire ring at vista

Very grassy

Smoke Rise Tower

Empire State Building

Tower, houses, Manhattan

Path overgrown in parts

View of reservoir ...

... from further south


Now ...

... descending





Marty Donofrio trail

Heading to RR bed

Mine tailings?


Foundation of something?

On the RR bed

Frogs were everywhere!

Flooded section of RR bed

Laura making way along side

Awesome reflections

Laura rock hopping

The flooding continues

Dry land!


Tributary to reservoir

Charlotteburg Reservoir from spur

Frog hiding behind leaf

On the RR bed

Reservoir through trees

Looking north

Tiny baby bird learning to fly

Bed cuts through stone

RR ties thrown below

Amazing rock cuts

Reservoir from RR bed

View through trees

Drill hole in rock

Trees on opposite bank

RR bed is lovely in spots

Views of ...

... Charlotteburg Reservoir

Stone pipe section on bed

Tributary at ...

... northern end

Bridge of active RR


Beautiful rock

Log walking

Big frog

Woods road

[Photo by Laura]


Frog in puddle


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