Saturday, April 13, 2013

Pequest Wildlife Management Area, NJ

The Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center - NJDEP
Pequest Wildlife Management Area Trail -

GPS Coordinates 40.851538, -74.933236

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Parking at the eastern end of the old rail bed in Townsbury - parking is on either side of the road, right at the river.  Head west on the rail bed for this hike.  (This picture is to the east.)


Trails of the Pequest - NJDEP
This is my VERY rough sketch map of the trails from the Pequest map as they relate to the old rail bed (brown) which is connected by the paved road from Route 41 to the nature center and trout hatchery.

7.5 mile lollipop from the eastern end of the rail bed looping around all of the colored trails and back along the rail bed

This isn't a manicured rail trail - there are still old railroad ties everywhere and the surface is rough, but clear to hike through and it's very quiet and peaceful with hardly any other people except for fishermen at the river.
The rail bed parallels the Pequest River for a bit and there are some fishermen access trails down to the river.
More old railroad stuff along the trail.
Some gorgeous flowers (Bloodroot, per NJ Urban Forest) around 2 PM - I'll show them again later as seen on the way back at 6 PM - quite a difference!
One paved road crossing but it appears to be a driveway.
A bridge crossing shortly before the road to the hatchery.
 Crossing the Pequest River on the bridge.
Entrance to the hatchery at Route 41 - turn left here and walk on the paved road ...
... crossing another bridge ...
... over the Pequest River.  Be sure to look up as you approach the hatchery ...
Continuing along the paved road to the hatchery.  This road is currently closed on weekends so no traffic at all.
The nature center and hatchery.
I was not able to find where the marked trails started so I continued out the exit, crossed over Pequest Road and followed a dirt road through fields
with a cool bird house
and that met up with the red trail at the black bear interpretive sign.
Various blazes of the red trail.
Pequest Valley
On the yellow trail.
Views of the Delaware Water Gap while descending the yellow trail in a power cut.
A bridge over a creek on the red trail.
Back to the pond having completed the yellow trail loop.
Straight ahead from the pond up and over a very short, steep hill ...
... should lead straight to the blue trail?  Not a blaze in sight until ...
Confirmation we are on the blue trail.
The blue trail arrives at some open views before heading downhill ...
... through a bulldozed area with again not a blue blaze in sight.
Even my trusty trail dog who can always sniff out the trail when it's not that clear was somewhat confused.
Followed the bulldozer tracks ...
... to turn blazes just before Pequest Road.
The trail crosses over old stone farm walls.
The trail comes out at the intersection of Pequest Road and Jane's Chapel Road.  It is unclear where to proceed but turns out the trail continues straight past the Pequest WMA sign as a mowed grass path.
No blazes throughout this area so you have to kind of guess which way to go at forks but I did happen upon blue turn blazes a couple of times so must have been going the right way. 

At this field I followed the field around to the left and ended up back at the hatchery road where there were more ...
Heading back to the rail bed ...
Just a few blowdowns on the rail bed that were easy enough to get over - or under - depending on your preference.
Remember those pretty flowers from earlier?  They were now all folded up, tucked in and ready for bed.
Down at the river via a fisherman's path

coming soon


  1. Great pictures! I especially like the Osprey & Bloodroot Flowers!

    1. Thanks! And thank you for the ID on the flowers - I am clueless when it comes to plants.


  2. I like the idea of the very rough sketch map of the hike route. It makes it easier to follow the hike rather than having to match the hike route description to the map.

    I made the mistake of doing this hike a couple of years ago during hunting season. No signs were posted my entrance point, and I didn't know until I came across a hunter, shotgun at the ready. He was friendly enough, but basically asked me what the heck I was doing hiking there. Luckily I was toward the end of my hike anyway.

    Curiosly, before the hike I had stopped in the HQ to see if they had a better hiking map (they didn't), and although I clearly stated I was going hiking, the not-very-helpful lady in the office made no mention of it being hunting season. Not in her job description, I guess.

    I always enjoy your blog, keep up the great work!

    1. Thanks, Ken! I need to visualize how the trails fall in relation to one another so if there is no map combining various trails that seem to connect, I need to make one so I had may as well share as long as people understand it is a very rough sketch. A cartographer I am not.

      Hunting seasons are so confusing and it becomes challenging trying not to be where hunting is going on. You would think that woman would have said something to you.


  3. LOVE the Pequest hikes- it is our favourite hike on Sundays in fall-gorgeous then. I am impressed with the amount of miles you cover!! We go for 2 1/2 to 3h and JUST cover the unmarked trails!!
    Love the wildlife too- I never see that much. Have never seen the Osprey, but now I will look. A couple of summers ago - we hiked to the pond- and THOUGHT there was a dog swimming in there- looked around for the owner......turned out to be a REALLY big bear- when he saw us- he swam out and climbed up the bank and just checked us out, and we ( my dog and I and one other person and dog) just backed away slowly and got out of there- we went back about an hour later- and he was STILL there!!
    Did you get to visit the visitor area and the hatchery- very interesting. They have gates that they lock there to keep the bears from stealing the fish. Good post!!
    Lesley and Elsie

    1. Wow, nice bear story! The hatchery was closed and from what I understand dogs aren't allowed there so I didn't go. Had there not been any cars I might have taken a quick look. I need to go back someday to do the western end of the rail trail so I'll probably swing back around that way then.