Sunday, April 1, 2012

Pequannock Watershed, NJ: Four Birds Trail North

Pequannock Watershed - Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corporation

GPS Coordinates 41.030103, -74.454096

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Parking along west side of Route 513 (map shows parking on east side)

A permit is required to hike in the Pequannock Watershed.  Permits must be purchased in person at the Newark Watershed office. Click here for information on obtaining permits.

Jersey Highlands Trail Map 125 - NY/NJ Trail Conference

Green Pond Mountain - New Jersey 1K Club
Mount Newfoundland - New Jersey 1K Club

Out and back on Four Birds Trail with Green Pond Mountain summit - 10 miles
Out and back on Four Birds Trail wiithout Green Pond Mountain - 8 miles
Four Birds Trail/Railroad Loop with Green Pond Mountain summit - 9.15 miles
Four Birds Trail/Railroad Loop without Green Pond Mountain summit - 7.15 miles

At the beginning of the hike the white-blazed Four Birds Trail heads towards Green Pond Mountain.
A creek crossing...
... with some small waterfalls.
A Wild Turkey.
A Black-capped Chickadee.
Woods road to Green Pond Mountain summit.
A House Wren.
Green Pond from Green Pond Mountain.
The Four Birds Trail follows along the top of the cliffs.
Looking back south with Green Pond in the distance.
Creek crossing on the way to Mount Newfoundland.
Northern terminus of the Four Birds Trail at small parking area on Bigelow Road.
From this point you should probably turn around for an out and back hike.  To continue on as I did may or may not be legal - I'm not quite sure.  Signs conflict and there is no blazed trail but in an attempt to make a loop, I continued on Bigelow Road and crossed Route 513 to proceed along the railroad tracks.
Bigelow Road with apartments on the right and old railroad cars on the left.
Newfoundland Station built in 1872, has been used as a location for filming  movies.
Just the other side of Route 513 conflicting signs almost next to each other.  I have my permit so I entered.  Apparently so did many others based on the amount of litter and old tires in the area.
There is room to walk next to the railroad tracks.  This space is also used by parents teaching their young children to drive ATVs.  Ugh.
On the other side of the railroad tracks, Old Newfoundland Cemetery, with tombstones dating in the 1800's.
Most tombstones cannot be read but somebody put many of them online HERE.
Some of the graves are still being cared for.
I was delighted to find a woods road running next to the railroad tracks - so much better than walking on that gravel.  But there is a caveat.  The woods road veers away from the tracks and at some point water gets between the woods road and the tracks...
I backtracked some and tried to find a way around the creek but did not want to go back the full mile and walk along the tracks so....
... I broke out my 6 mil plastic boot covers that I carry in my backpack for just such an occasion...
... and forded across.
Turn right just before this bridge and follow the trail to an abandoned rail bed. 
Wharton and Northern Railroad abandoned rail bed.
A well-defined but VERY steep trail (shown with red dashes on the map) connects back with the white-blazed Four Birds Trail at the top just before an overlook.
Overlook of Charlotteburg Reservoir shortly after unmarked trail meets back up with Four Birds Trail.
Just a little farther along the Four Birds Trail, even better views of Charlotteburg Reservoir.
A turkey vulture at the Charlotteburg Reservoir overlook.
From the overlook it is all downhill on the Four Birds Trail back to the car. 

[  0.00]  Walk south 100 feet on Route 513; turn right on white-blazed Four Birds Trail
[  0.30]  Rock hop over creek; short distance ahead cross another creek on logs
[  0.40]  Rock hop over a very small creek
[  0.50]  After crossing swampy area on rocks, trail veers very slightly left then uphill (blazes missing in this area and trail not well defined because of rocky terrain)
[  1.00]  Trail turns right on gravel road at power cut
[  1.05]  Trail leaves gravel road as footpath to the right
[  1.35]  Left at fire pit on woods road with old painted over white blazes
[  1.60]  At power cut; keep straight on woods road
[  2.60]  Summit of Green Pond Mountain; retrace
[  3.60]  At fork just before power cut, keep left; cross power and continue back to fire pit
[  3.85]  Left on white-blazed Four Birds Trail at fire pit (not woods road rather trail along top of cliff)
[  4.10]  Trail crosses woods road (on map)
[  4.45]  Trail crosses woods road (on map)
[  4.50]  Rock hop over creek
[  4.75]  Cross small creek/wet area
[  5.15]  Views
[  5.35]  Trail goes through old stone fence
[  5.45}  Trail goes through old stone fence
[  5.95]  Kiosk almost at end of trail
[  6.00]  End of white-blazed Four Birds Trail; retrace or turn right on Bigelow Road
[  6.10]  Old railroad cars and Newfoundland Station
[  6.20]  Cross Route 513
[  6.40]  Old Newfoundland Cemetery on left side of railroad tracks
[  6.75]  Right at fork if taking woods road
[  6.95]  After having veered away from tracks, tracks now directly ahead when woods road  turns left through blowdowns - this is where you need to look for a place to ford creek to get over to railroad tracks; at tracks, cross over and turn left
[  7.10]  Turn left just before railroad bridge
[  7.15]  Veer left onto abandoned rail bed
[  7.25]  Right on unmarked trail steeply uphill
[  7.95]  Unmarked trail ends at white-blazed Four Birds Trail; turn left to overlook; continue short distance to second overlook
[  8.05]  Second overlook; leaving overlook cross over Four Birds Trail on woods road
[  8.15]  Veer left on white-blazed Four Birds Trail when woods road ends
[  8.55]  Cross woods road
[  8.80]  Rock hop creek
[  8.90]  Rock hop creek
[  9.15]  Back at parking


  1. If it's one of the last things I do, Daniela, is GET THAT DARNED PERMIT!!!. Just a matter of getting up to the Newfoundland office and pick one up. We could always stop there on the way to a hike in that area one Saturday.

    But on to more important matters.....where did you get those nifty, handy and totally common sensible plastic boot covers? Me want! Thanks again for a great hike description, btw.

    I'm guessing Shawnee wouldn't even 'consider' donning a pair of those plastic thing-a-ma-bobs. :)

    1. Linda,

      Here is where I got the boot covers: - I got the 6 mil, 5 pair for CHEAP and they can be used over and over again. I washed mine out and they are drip drying in the basement. They are lightweight, fold flat and slip right into a backpack without taking up much space. Be sure to take a bag along to put them in after you use them. I ended up folding mine up and putting them in one of Shawnee's poop bags (which she doesn't use anyway - she doesn't do that on hikes) so I didn't have to carry them after they were all wet and muddy. My feet were not :) And you guess correctly - when I put the covers on I got the "Don't even think about it" look from Shawnee. Joke's on her though because she got hosed off when she got home.


  2. Thanks for the link, Daniela. Just ordered from Jeffers, who I've ordered from in the past for pet supplies. Covers will also come in handy when having to dash back inside from garden work and not have to remove my boots. Linda

  3. yesterday we started at the Four Birds trailhead near the apts and hiked that to Timberbrook Pond, then came back on the Wharton and Northern, to the current train tracks which we hiked back to the car.
    13 miles was a good one... two problems: (1) taking the Marty Donofrio trail requires major bushwacking, and (2) there is a part of the Wharton and Northern that is flooded out, and you need to
    climb up and along the embankment along the trail until the water ends. You would like this one.