Saturday, August 26, 2017

Patriots' Path, NJ - Scherman-Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary to Jockey Hollow

Patriots' Path - Morris County Parks Commission
Scherman-Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary - New Jersey Audubon (No dogs allowed here, would have to road walk on Hardscrabble Road to the other Patriot's Path trail head on National Park Service property or park at the alternate parking shown below.)
New Jersey Brigade and Cross Estate - National Park Service
Cross Estate Gardens

GPS Coordinates 40.74106, -74.55368
Scherman-Hoffman Sanctuary Visitor Parking
New Jersey Brigade parking area at the Cross Estate at 40.74815, -74.55916 as alternate parking or if hiking with dogs to avoid Scherman-Hoffman Sanctuary where dogs are not permitted.

Patriots' Path East - Morris County Parks Commissio (lower left corner)
Scherman-Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary Trails - New Jersey Audubon
New Jersey Brigade Trail - National Park Service (this is the only map I could find that shows how all of the trails come together)

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HIKE DISTANCE:  10.2 miles

Kiosk in the Scherman-Hoffman visitor parking lot with trails starting to the right.
The blue-blazed Patriot's Path spur, which will be the backbone of this hike, starts to the left but I went right on the Dogwood Trail into the sanctuary.
The Dogwood Trail crosses the paved sanctuary entrance drive.
I kept straight on the green trail which ...
... continues either left or right at the T intersection.  I went right.
The trail doesn't actually lop as shown on the map, just kind of dead ends.
Heading back and staying straight on green but there really aren't any blazes to be seen.
The trail starts to parallel the Passaic River which looks more like a creek here.
Before continuing on yellow along the Passaic River, I headed to the other field loop first.
Now continuing on yellow, a very nice trail along the river.
At the end of yellow, right on the Dogwood Trail.
That sign would point to the left to the white-blazed trail heading towards the Cross Estate, which is the way I went.
On the white-blazed trail.
At the end of white, right on the New Jersey Brigade Trail which is also the blue-blazed Patriots' Path spur.
At this sign a wide trail leaves to the left.  I turned left here not knowing if this was the only way in to Cross Gardens - it is not, there is a red-blazed secondary Patriots' Path spur a little farther along so either taking this turn then turning right on the gravel path or taking the secondary spur a little farther along, both arrive at ...
... this drive to the gardens.
To the right before the mansion, the water tower.
To the left before the manion, the gardens.
Let's go to the gardens because, quite frankly, I could care less about the mansion.
Walking back out the gravel drive at the intersection look to the right for the secondary spur blaze and take that trail left.
That trail comes right out at the New Jersey Brigade/Cross Gardens parking lot which is the alternate lot if you have a dog along.  This is all national park land and dogs are allowed here.
From the parking lot kiosk, keep right along the field into the woods on the red-blazed Patriots' Path.
When that ends, left on the blue-blazed Patriot's Path/New Jersey Brigade Trail.
Left to Jockey Hollow.
Intersections now have "You Are Here" maps.
Crossing the Passaic River on a bridge.
Passaic River
The New Jersey Brigade Trail ends at the white-blazed Grand Loop Trail in Jockey Hollow.  The Patriots' Path joins in going right.
Cross Tempe Wick Road - carefully -  sight distance is limited and cars come zooming around the bends
At intersection #55 I turned left on Mendham Road Trail to make a loop around Wick Farm before heading back.
Mendham Road Trail
Wick Farm - Coming up on that path up ahead ...
... following it to the left leads to the visitor center with restrooms accessible from the outside to the left of the building.
Back at Wick Farm, following the path around ...
... through the lot behind the farm ...
... then left at the no left turn sign ...
... and up the mowed path on the other side of the road.
This goes into the woods and leads right to ...
... the white-blazed Grand Loop Trail where I turned left and followed that all the way back to ...
... the Patriots' Path where I turned left to start retracing back.
Passing the red-blazed secondary spur that lead to the Cross Estate parking lot.
The other end of the red-blazed secondary spur that goes to Cross Gardens.
To the left, the white-blazed trail I came out on at the beginning; now keeping straight on the Patriots' Path.
The trail splits (both ways are still Patriots' Path/NJ Brigade Trail) so I went left where ...
... a short loop trail with historical interpretive signs.
Instead of going back and continuing on the Patriot's Path, I kept going straight which was also still the Patriots' Path, where it ends at Hardscrabble Road.
I could have turned left and road walked back to the car (which is what you would have to do with a dog had you parked there) but nah, since I did not have a dog along, back into the woods ...
... and following the Patriot's Path back into the Audubon property.
This meets up with the red-blazed Dogwood Trail where you can see the parking lot down to the right but did I go that way?  Nope.  Decided to do the rest of the Dogwood Trail so left I went.
The Dogwood Trail goes up pretty steeply along here.
Momma on the right and baby on the left.
I took the Dogwood Spur into the deer exclosure ...
... where there is an enchanted forest ...
... with fairy houses and ...
... tadpoles ...
... in the vernal pool.
Back to the Dogwood Trail all the way to ...
... the parking lot.