Tuesday, December 4, 2012

South Mountain Reservation, NJ - New Trails at Mayapple Hill

South Mountain Reservation - Essex County Parks
South Mountain Conservancy  (this link is not working at this time and cannot find a working URL)
The Lenape Trail 
"Improvements to Hiking Trail System in South Mountain Reservation" - article, NJ.com

Mayapple Hill Parking GPS Coordinates 40.773650, -74.286933

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South Mountain Reservation Trail Map - Essex County Parks
The map is of no use for this hike as it does not show the trails and to date I have not been able to locate one.  So for lack of anything better...
I drew a rough (keep in mind, VERY rough) outline of where the trails are just to give an idea.  The yellow-blazed Lenape Trail used to end at the Mayapple Hill parking lot coming in from the main part of South Mountain Reservation.  The new section continues on and currently ends at Whitbay Drive.  The intention is to eventually extended this Lenape Trail section to meet up with the main Lenape Trail to completely connect all of the main Essex County Parks.


Mayapple Hill - Peakery.com

Facing the kiosk at about the center of the parking lot along the side, turn right and walk to the corner of the lot and the restroom building to pick up the yellow-blazed Lenape Trail just to the left of the restrooms.
At Cedar Avenue the new blue-dot-on-white trail joins in from the right (return route) and crosses over the road.
Blue-dot-on-white leaves to the left at a boardwalk.
The white/yellow trail forms a loop with the yellow Lenape Trail.
The Lenape Trail has been cleared of Hurricane Sandy debris.
Although this hike goes through pretty wooded areas, it is an urban hike so developments and houses are sometimes visible along with the sound of traffic, bulldozers, leaf blowers...  But there is generally no hunting (there was a controlled hunt in January 2010 but I am not aware of anything for this year) so it's a nice weekday option to get outdoors and explore a new area.
The trail starts to switchback down at old concrete fence posts.
A creek crossing on large boulders.
The Lenape Trail appears to end at a paved road that leads to condos to the left.  This is the turn around point - retrace back to the white/yellow trail.
Crossing the creek on boulders.
Taking the white/yellow loop trail to meet back up with the yellow Lenape Trail.
Blow downs have not yet been cleared from this trail but they can be navigated through or around.
After getting back on the yellow Lanape Trail, turn right at the boardwalk on to the blue-dot-on-white trail.
There would probably be a better view over the McMansions on a clear day.
The blue-dot-on-white trail nears a large apartment (?) building where...
... a very interesting party spot overlooks that building to the right just off of the trail.
It's the neatest party spot I have ever seen. Looks like it even has a trash can.
Back on the trail...  Oops!  Looks like a couple of blue dots are missing.
The blue dot trail crosses over Cedar Avenue and continues along the side of Mayapple Hill...
... with views of the arena and Turtle Back Zoo down below.
A blue-line-on-white trail to the left is a shortcut back to the parking lot.
Continuing on the blue dot trail.
Found one of those missing dots!
The blue dot trail runs back into the yellow Lenape Trail from the beginning of the hike...
... and the Lenape Trail leads back to the parking lot.

[  0.00]  Start on the yellow-blazed Lenape Trail to the left of the restroom building
[  0.25]  Cross paved Cedar Avenue when blue-dot-on-white joins in from the right
[  0.35]  Keep straight on yellow when blue-dot-on-white leaves to the left at boardwalk
[  0.40]  Keep straight on yellow when white/yellow goes right
[  0.80]  Keep straight when white/yellow goes right (other end of white/yellow loop)
[  1.00]  Cross creek on large boulders
[  1.25]  Reach paved Whitbay Drive and retrace
[  1.45]  Cross creek on large boulders
[  1.65]  Turn left on white/yellow (at the time of this hike, white/yellow not yet cleared, lots of blow downs)
[  2.20]  Turn left on yellow when white/yellow ends
[  2.25]  Turn right on blue-dot-on-white at boardwalk when yellow goes left
[  3.00]  Blue dot trail turns left on unmarked coming in from right then leaves to the right when unmarked veers left
[  3.10]  Cross over old section of yellow-blazed Lenape Trail running parallel to Cedar Avenue
[  3.15]  Cross paved Cedar Avenue
[  3.30]  Keep straight when blue-line-on-white goes left back to the parking lot
[  3.65]  Cross paved Cedar Avenue then small creek
[  3.75]  Left on yellow Lenape Trail when yellow/blue dot crosses road to the right
[  4.00]  Back at parking lot


  1. A few months back we did the other, longer hike you did at South Mountain (11.3mi). We were pleasantly surprised at just how remote many of the trails were and that the hike itself wasn't as easy-peasy as we expected. Have to try this section, too. Good for snowshoeing perhaps?

    1. Linda,
      I would say it would be a good snowshoeing option. The trails are smooth and not steep - the long switchbacks make for gradual ups and downs. And all except the white/yellow trail has been cleared of storm debris as of now. You can always make it longer by adding on from the original Lenape Trail heading back over the bridge over Northfield Avenue. So in other words, when on the blue-dot-on-white trail coming around from that Laurel and Hardy party spot overlooking the huge apartment (?) building, you cross over a woods road. At the second woods road crossing just before paved Cedar Avenue, there is one lonely little yellow blaze on a tree on the right - that is the original Lenape Trail. Turn right there on that woods road. When you retrace, pick back up from that intersection to finish looping around on the blue-dot-on-white.

  2. I found a couple of arrow heads in the brook here