Falling Waters and Grand Loop Trails

Overview

This loop hike runs along the gorge of a scenic brook, climbs to an overlook over the surrounding countryside, and continues through attractive woods.

Details
Time:
2 hours
Difficulty:
Easy to Moderate
Length:
2.5 miles
Route Type:
Circuit
Dogs:
Allowed on leash
Features:
Views, Waterfall
Location
Park:
Region:
County:
Morris
State:
NJ
Maps/Books
Map:

Morris County Park Commission map (available online at www.morrisparks.net)


Buy Book:
Publication
First Published:
06/15/2004

Updated/Verified:
02/17/2013
Submitter:
Daniel Chazin

Photo

Schooley's Mountain Park Viewpoint

Parking


View Schooley's Mtn. park in a larger map

Trailhead GPS Coordinates
40.801791,-74.78282
Driving Directions

Take I-80 to Exit 27A, proceed south on U.S. Route 206 for 4.4 miles, and turn right onto Flanders-Bartley Road (County Route 612). In 1.0 mile, bear right just before a railroad crossing to continue on Bartley Road. Proceed for another 2.5 miles and turn right onto Naughright Road. Follow Naughright Road for 2.2 miles, then turn left onto East Springtown Road. Follow East Springtown Road for 0.5 mile to the park entrance, on the left. Continue along the park entrance road to its end, where there are parking areas to the right and left. Turn right and park in the parking area below a large picnic pavilion.

Description

Although Schooley's Mountain County Park features a large picnic area, a lodge, and other developed recreational facilities, most of the park remains in its natural state. This hike passes through wild and undeveloped portions of the park that are far removed from the more heavily used areasFalling Waters Trail along Electric Brook. Photo by Daniel Chazin..

From the end of the parking area, cross a grassy strip and turn left onto a paved service road, passing a restroom building on the left. Just before reaching a trail junction (marked by signs for the Patriots' Path and the Grand Loop Trail), turn right onto a gravel road and descend towards Lake George, bearing right at a fork. Upon reaching the lake, turn left and continue along the lakeshore.

Just beyond the dam at the end of the lake, a triple-blue blaze on a tree marks the start of the Falling Waters Trail. Continue along this trail, which descends into the scenic gorge of Electric Brook, named for a long-abandoned electric generating plant which was powered by the brook (the concrete foundations of the plant are still visible just beyond a small waterfall). This section of the hike is particularly beautiful, but the trail is quite rocky in places.

Waterfall along Electric Brook. Photo by Daniel Chazin.After a short but steep descent over rocks, you'll pass two attractive waterfalls. This is a good place to take a short break to appreciate the wild and spectacular scenery. A short distance beyond, upon reaching a "private property" sign, the trail bears left and climbs out of the gorge, following a woods road.

At the top of the climb, the blue-blazed trail ends at a junction with the white-blazed Patriots’ Path and the teal-diamond-blazed Highlands Trail. Turn right and follow the Patriots’ Path/Highlands Trail for only about 50 feet. Where the trail makes a sharp left turn, continue ahead to a south-facing overlook from a rock outcrop. The view is over agricultural lands, with some houses in the foreground and hills in the background.

After taking in the view, retrace your steps and bear left onto the Patriots’ Path/Highlands Trail. Continue a short distance beyond the junction with the blue-blazed trail that you just climbed, but when the Patriots’ Path/Highlands Trail turns left, continue ahead on a wide, unmarked gravel road (designated on the park map as the Quarry Stone Path). View from Patriots Path. Phot by Daniel Chazin.

Following the arrow that points towards the Bee-Line Trail, turn right onto the yellow-blazed Grand Loop Trail, which descends steadily. When you reach the Bee-Line Trail (this junction is also marked by signs), turn left, continuing to follow the Grand Loop Trail. You now begin to climb steadily, rather steeply in places.

At the top of the climb,marked by a sign and a cairn, turn left onto the red-blazed Highland Cut. This trail is a footpath that "cuts across" the ridge of Schooley's Mountain, passing the highest point in the park (elevation 1,104 feet) on the way. Unfortunately, there are no views from this high point, which is in the midst of deep woods.

After a brief, gentle descent, the Highland Cut ends at a junction with the yellow-blazed Grand Loop Trail, a wide woods road. Turn right and follow this road back to the restroom building and the parking area where the hike began.

Comment: Please be relevant, civil, non-commercial.

A great short hike

Really enjoyed this trail. I would say it's more of a strong moderate even though its a short hike because of some steep rocky areas and some long uphills. I went on a Monday and I never saw anyone on the trail. The unmarked gravel road also referred to the Quarry Stone Path is now marked by pink blazes. I'm so thankful for this website and the detailed turn by turn direction otherwise I wold probably still be wandering around the woods.

Very nice park, Patriots Path cuts through here

Living in town, I've been to this park many times. In this hike description, only about half of what's in the area is covered. There is a Green (or teal-ish) blazed trail that descends toward the brook from the lookout, although it ends at the gravel woods road (it used to continue up the opposite side of the brook from the Blue trail, but now there are signs stating not to go further, somethng about work isn't completed on that section although I've been on it in the past, wouldn't surprise me if there was damage to the trail from past floods or they have a property issue with the abutting private property owners) - what remains of the trail is pretty challenging as it's a steep climb. The Bee Line trail heads down the hill, moderate diffuculty, to Fairview Ave. (As does the White blazed Patriot's Path) Here you would cross the street, and head down maybe 50 yeards or so from the parking area to pick up the Columbia Trail (a rail-trail that stretches from Flanders - about 4 miles up Bartley Road to the current terminus of the tracks that are still in service by Morristown & Erie RR at the Toys R Us warehouse - to High Bridge) You can also continue across this trail to the Gillette Trail which heads through some woods to cross the Raritan to a field that used to be part of Ort's Farm property that is now Open Space to a parking area on Mill Road in the center of Long Valley - Patriot's path designations continue along Rt 513/Mill Road from here.   In the other direction from the lookout, once you get back to the lake, you can either cross on the wooden bridge over the falls or head up further to cross the floating metal bridge over the lake itself. (Sometimes this bridge seems to be closed as they've recently had to dredge the lake for Red Algae and are renovating the boathouse, I remember back in the day you could rent paddle boats by the hour here) Heading out toward the Springtown Road entrance, you could cross here by the turn to the left on the road and follow Patriots Path in the woods toward Harrington Park (formerly Falcon Fields) and beyond.   The trails in the area have really increased in number in recent years. A lot more area to explore, even when you're not looking for a challenging mountain hike. If you like bike trails, I recommend the Columbia Trail.