Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sparta Mountain WMA, NJ - Edison Trail

Although the New York New Jersey Trail Conference shows no dogs allowed, I find nothing online and saw no signs.
Sparta Mountain Preserve - New Jersey Audubon
Sparta Mountain Wildlife Management Area - New Jersey Audubon
Even though this lies within a WMA, there is no hunting allowed.

GPS Coordinates 41.049166, -74.551846

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Jersey Highlands Trail Map 126 - New York New Jersey Trail Conference (Does not show the marked trails; the woods road shown is the white trail but it does connect all the way through where the map shows a break.)
Sparta Mountain Trail Map - New Jersey Audubon (This map confused me because it shows the trail leaving the Edison Monument as marked so I spent a lot of time looking for a marked trail before remembering that the NYNJTC map shows it as an unmarked woods road, which is correct.)
Sparta Mountain WMA, NJ - Edison Trail at EveryTrail

HIKE DISTANCE: 7.2 miles

The Edison Trail blazed with NJ Audubon markers.
The trails are very rocky and rooted.  Add heavy leaf drop on top of that and it was downright treacherous.
Ryker Lake
The trail skirts along Ryker Lake.
Water flowing under ice in the inlet.
Downy woodpeckers are everywhere this year.
The trail turns away from the swamp then follows between residences and the swamp for a bit.
After rock hopping two creeks,one right after the other,
make note of this sign because for this hike there is a short bushwhack from Edison Pond and it comes out at this sign from the left.
This must be a hot spot for fine bird dining.
Lots of winter views when the trail follows a ridge.
A log bench at an overlook, although there is not much to see.
A makeshift bridge but it is actually much more stable than it looks.
The trail comes out on a dirt road at this sign.
Follow the dirt road up the hill where the trail leaves left to...
... an overlook at Edison Bog.
Evidence of mining starts to appear.
Some of the mines are fenced but with openings so you can still get in.
The back of Edison Monument and an alternate parking lot.
Edison Monument
Heading back from Edison Monument, more mines along a raised trail.
Unmarked woods road - straight on the woods road goes as shown on the map to complete the loop.  A right turn at another woods road leads to...
Edison Pond
At the NO ACCESS sign at the end of the pond, turn left into the woods,
 bushwhack just about a 10th of a mile and end up at ...
that sign from earlier in the hike.
Retracing between the residences and the swamp.
Mourning Dove
Heading back towards Ryker Lake.
Ryker Lake with blue skies and sunshine versus the dreary, cloudy morning.

She became a little more wobbly in her rear end so I haven't walked her for a couple of days to give her a rest.  The vet tech who gave her the Adequan injection last Thursday said he sees a lot of Vestibular Syndrome and that the wobble is normal and that it will resolve.  So resting her for a bit before resuming our walks to work back to hiking.  Of course, since I was leaving at 6 AM today she knew something was up and had that "I am going hiking aren't I?" look on her face.  So I left in my pajamas and slippers and changed into hiking clothes in the basement.  When I came home I changed back into my pajamas and slippers in the basement before walking in.  Now she just thinks I have totally lost my mind.  Where the heck was I all morning in my pajamas?
It does look like she is losing the head tilt which some dogs keep permanently so very pleased about that!  The boxer, vizsla and pug are just spending the weekend with us.

[  0.00]  Take the Audubon (Edison) Trail from the parking lot and continue along Ryker Lake
[  1.00]  Turn left following trail towards homes (right is the crossover to the Highlands Trail)
[  1.40]  Keep right at boy scout map (left is the return route bushwhacking from Edison Pond)
[  1.95]  Trail turns right on woods road (left is return route if doing woods road back from Edison Monument)
[  2.55]  Log bench at overlook
[  3.20]  Edison Bog overlook
[  4.10]  Right at unmarked fork
[  4.70]  Edison Monument
[  5.30]  After exploring mine area, on unmarked woods road
[  5.50]  Straight on woods road goes to intersection mentioned at [1.95], turn right on unmarked woods road to go to Edison Pond
[  5.80]  Turn left into woods at NO ACCESS sign at Edison Pond and bushwhack
[  5.90]  Come out at boy scout map, turn right and retrace on Audubon (Edison) Trail
[  6.25]  Turn right at crossover (crossover leads to Highlands Trail)
[  7.20]  Back at parking


  1. It's especially nice to get a Shawnee update and see her with all her canine friends. She's a well cared for, loved dog with an active social life - a lucky girl. I hope she can resume hiking soon.

  2. Very nice pictures. I'm so glad to see Shawnee up with her canine friends. I hope she can get back to hiking soon! Thanks for sharing. Joanne

  3. Glad to see Shawnee doing so well, what a nice update! I love following you and Shawnee on your hiking adventures! I noticed in one of your pictures, you are holding a map (along side a Handheld GPS). I'm just starting to hike around NJ and would feel more comfortable with a paper map in my pack. Where do you get your printed topo maps? Do they have trails on them? Thanks all the valuable hiking info!

    1. Thanks, Jennifer! The map I was holding in that picture was the Sparta Mountain map, the link above in the trail map section. It was not the best map to follow. What you should do is buy the New York New Jersey Trail Conference maps. They are the best - topo and trails - and it will take a long time to hike all of the trails on each map so they are definitely worth every penny.


  4. Is the trail good for running?

    1. That would depend on what kind of trail you run on. You'd have to judge for yourself by the pictures.