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Hike of the Week

Courtesy of the NY-NJ Trail Conference

WHERE: Terrace Pond (Wawayanda State Park)
MAP:  North Jersey Trails, Map #21. , Published by the NY-NJ Trail Conference.
FEATURES: This “lollipop”-loop hike goes through dense forests of hemlock and mountain laurel and climbs over puddingstone rock outcrops to reach beautiful Terrace Pond.
LENGTH: 6.4 miles.
DIFFICULTY: Moderate to strenuous.
TIME: About five hours.
HOW TO GET THERE: Take N.J. Route 23 West to Union Valley Road (County 513) in Newfoundland. Proceed north on Union Valley Road for 4.5 miles to Stephens Road, and turn left onto Stephens Road, which soon becomes unpaved. Continue on Stephens Road for 0.7 mile to a dirt parking area (designated “P8") on the left side of the road. If you do not have a parking permit from the Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corporation, you should park along the right side of the road. (If you are coming from the north on Union Valley Road, the intersection with Stephens Road is 2.6 miles south of the traffic light at the intersection of Union Valley Road and Marshall Hill Road in West Milford.)

DESCRIPTION: From the parking area, proceed ahead (west) on Stephens Road for about 250 feet until you come to a gate on the right side of the road. Next to the gate, you will notice three red-on-white blazes which mark the start of the Terrace Pond Red Trail. Turn right and follow this trail into the woods. You will be following this trail all the way to Terrace Pond. This section of the Terrace Pond Red Trail is an old woods road which proceeds through a deep forest of hemlock and mountain laurel, with some white pine and rhododendron.

After a little over a mile of pleasant walking, the Terrace Pond Red Trail bears left and descends to cross a stream. Soon afterwards, it turns left, leaving the woods road it has been following, and continues on a footpath. Straight ahead on the woods road is the Spring North Trail, marked with dark blue blazes, but you should turn left and continue on the Terrace Pond Red Trail. In a short distance, you’ll reach a T-intersection with another woods road. Turn left and follow the red-on-white blazes, which head uphill on the woods road, rather steeply in places.

About a mile and a half from the start, you’ll come to another T-intersection with a woods road – the route of the Yellow Dot Trail (yellow dot-on-white blazes). Turn left, briefly following the joint route of both the Terrace Pond Red and Yellow Dot Trails. In 100 feet, a sign marks the spot where the Terrace Pond Red Trail turns right, leaving the wide woods road and continuing on a footpath. Turn right and follow the red blazes (from here to the end of the trail, the Terrace Pond Red Trail is marked with solid red blazes, rather than the red-on-white blazes that are used for the first section of the trail).

The hike now becomes more rugged. After a steep climb up a ridge, the trail follows the ridge to the north, continuing to ascend gradually. It then descends to a valley, crosses a stream, and continues across several low ridges. A huge rock outcrop soon comes into view. The trail turns right, parallels the outcrop, then climbs to its top and continues along it. The outcrop is composed of reddish-purple “puddingstone” conglomerate rock, with quartz pebbles embedded in the rock. You’ll have to look carefully to find the red blazes painted on the rocks, with cairns (piles of rocks) also used to mark the trail in places.

After following the outcrop for some distance, the trail descends to the right and soon reaches a junction with the yellow-blazed Terrace Pond South Trail. The two trails run jointly for a short distance. When they divide, bear left and continue to follow the red blazes. The Terrace Pond Red Trail climbs along another rock outcrop, then steeply climbs over rocks to reach a limited viewpoint to the east through the trees.

Continuing along its rugged, rocky route, the red trail passes to the left of a huge boulder with some interesting crevices that you can walk through. The top of the boulder offers views over Terrace Pond, which may be seen below to the right. Just beyond, the Terrace Pond Red Trail descends steeply over rocks to end at a junction with the white-blazed Terrace Pond Circular Trail. Turn left and follow the white trail. A short distance ahead – just beyond another rock scramble – you’ll reach an open area along the lakeshore. This is a great spot to take a break and enjoy the beauty of this secluded glacial pond (swimming is not permitted).

When you’re ready to continue, proceed north along the white trail. Soon, you’ll come to a junction with the blue-blazed Terrace Pond North Trail. Turn right and follow both blue and white blazes. After crossing a muddy area, a side trail on the right leads to a viewpoint over the pond. Just beyond, the trail crosses the outlet of the pond on rocks and logs (this crossing may be difficult in wet periods) and climbs very steeply over rock ledges, where you’ll need to use your hands as well as your feet.

At the next junction, the blue-blazed trail leaves to the left, but you should bear right and continue to follow the white blazes. Now heading along the east shore of the pond, you’ll pass several viewpoints over the pond, with the best view reached by a short side trail that leaves to the right where the white-blazed trail turns sharply left. After climbing another rock outcrop, you’ll pass an enormous glacial erratic to the right and follow along the top of a long rock outcrop amid pitch pines. Towards the end of the outcrop, the Yellow Dot Trail (yellow-on-white blazes) leaves to the left, but you should continue along the white-blazed trail.

After a short descent, you’ll reach a junction with the yellow-blazed Terrace Pond South Trail. Turn left and follow the yellow trail, which soon turns right to climb a rock outcrop and proceeds through an attractive forest. You’ll briefly join the Terrace Pond Red Trail, but be sure to bear right and continue to follow the yellow blazes. In about half a mile, you’ll come to a broad viewpoint to the east and south from the top of a rock outcrop. This is a another good place to take a break.

After joining a woods road, the Terrace Pond South Trail reaches a T-intersection. Turn left, now following the yellow-on-white blazes of the Yellow Dot Trail. When you reach the junction with the Terrace Pond Red Trail, follow the joint trails for 100 feet, then turn right and follow the red-blazed trail back to the parking area. As of this writing, when proceeding south on this trail, there is one turn which is missing a double blaze to indicate a sharp right turn. If you start seeing old white blazes instead of the red-on-white blazes that mark this section of the trail, go back until you find the turn that you have missed.

Hike of the Week is provided by Daniel Chazin of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference (NYNJTC). The trail conference is a volunteer organization that builds and maintains 1,600 miles of hiking trails and publishes a library of hiking maps and books, including a two-map set for North Jersey Trails ($8.95) and the New Jersey Walk Book ($19.95).

The office is at 156 Ramapo Valley Road, Mahwah. Phone: (201) 512-9348, Website: nynjtc.org.

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