Saturday, August 17, 2019

Schooleys Mountain County Park, NJ


ABOUT THE PARK:
Schooley's Mountain County Park - Morris County Park Commission

DIRECTIONS:
GPS Coordinates 40.794731, -74.770254
Parking lot off Fairview Avenue at the bottom of Schooleys Mountain.

TRAIL MAP:
Schooleys Mountain County Park Trail Maps - Morris County Parks Commission
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HIKE DISTANCE:  9 miles

THE HIKE:
Leaving the parking lot, cross Fairview Avenue on the Patriots Path/Highlands Trail.
Just a short distance in, left on the Patriots Path/Highlands Trail.
Staying with the Patriots Path.
An unmarked trail on the left leads to what looks like an old quarry ...
... with mine tailings.
Back on the Patriots Path, uphill to the top of that quarry ...
... to the overlook, very hazy on this very humid morning
Leaving the overlook, we went straight on pink and would be returning from the left on the Patriots Path.
At the end of pink, an unmarked trail to the right to ...
... the Rock Outcrop
Back at the intersection I should have turned left on yellow since I wanted to hike trails I had not hiked before but ended up turning right and repeating trails I had already hiked.  I blame that on not enough coffee.
On the yellow Grand Loop Trail.
Turning right on orange.
Orange leads to mowed paths around wildflower meadows.  While orange goes straight through, there are unmarked mowed paths to the right and left that all meet back up with orange.
We worked our way back over to orange and where that ends at a parking lot ...
... straight through the parking lot to the kiosk which is on the Patriots Path.
Right on the Patriots Path.
After turning left through a short wooded path ...
... cross a field ...
... to a short meadow path ...
... to crossing Electric Brook on East Springtown Road.
After crossing the bridge, right on the Patriots Path through a small parking lot.
To the right, an unmarked path leads to more mowed meadow paths that aren't shown on the map.
Chestnuts
Back on the Patriots Path along Electric Brook
Coming up on Rock Road.
Crossing Rock Road to Harrington Park.
We diverted to another mowed path to the left to circle around Harrington Park, completely oblivious to the fact that no dogs are allowed.  There was no sign until we had completely circled the park.
The Patriots Path enters the woods to the left opposite that white building.
I was making a mental note of the parking lot which would be a good place to park to pick up the next section of the Patriots Path another day when I noticed the sign that says NO DOGS.  Oops.  Wonder if I can still park here to pick up the Patriots Path leaving the park?
Leaving Harrington Park and retracing back on the Patriots Path.
Without any side trips, it's 2.5 miles back to the car.
I stopped to take a picture of a deer in the woods and it soon became apparent why she had not noticed us.
She was waiting for incoming babies!
It's always an honor to go unnoticed and witness a moment in nature that would otherwise go unseen.
Busted!  Time to move on.
After continuing through on the paved park road, the trail leaves to the right at the restroom building.
Back at the overlook, it's still very humid but not as hazy as earlier.

2 comments:

  1. Side note about Harrington Park, it used to be called Falcon Fields back in the day, named for the fact it abuts Falcon Drive which is down Rock Road to the right, to left on Flocktown, and across from the school. The Harrington construction company rehabbed the fields and apparently got the naming rights to it from the town too. Leaving out the back of Harrington Park, the Patriots Path used to actually straddle the back yards of houses both on Falcon Drive and Partridge before crossing Flocktown, skirting along the far left of the school property and behind to eventually the development behind and enter Cataract Park (which will take you steeply down the side of the mountain toward the stream at the bottom of Schooley's Mtn Road near Newburgh and toward Hackettstown and Mansfield. It appears at Falcon/Partridge they moved the trail at some point to the sidewalk along Falcon instead of straddling property lines of residents. Also, at some point back behind the school, Patriots Path and Highlands split, PP heading toward Spring Lane and then Reservoir Road when it changes names to head down to Rt 46, and Highlands toward Mission Road, to follow Naughright, Cross 46 at the Exxon and follow Sand Shore road to Stephens Park Road, then to the abandoned Mine Hill Road and enter Stephens as it reunites with Patriots Path. PP used to head down behind the mountain to near Peachtree Village, cross 46 at East Ave, by the Hyundai dealer, and find it's way up to old Mine Hill Road, but recently big swaths of forested land along 46 and that part of the area by the old reservoir and the other side of 46 to Mine Hill Road were bought by someone at auction that may no longer honor the easement Patriots Path had off Reservoir Road. Though the blazes do appear to still be there, since the auction there seem to also be POSTED signs on the trees now. Beware if you do try to follow Patriots Path between Reservoir Road and the back of Stephens Park. (I used to live in Long Valley and frequently hiked Schooleys Mtn Park, Stephens and the other parks in the area.)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for all of the info! Sounds like I should avoid that section until things get straightened out, if ever.

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