Grand Loop Trail

Overview

This loop hike, suitable for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing when the ground is covered with snow, follows rolling terrain around this historical park, passing several interpretive sites.

Details
Time:
3.5 hours
Difficulty:
Easy to Moderate
Length:
6 miles
Route Type:
Circuit
Dogs:
Allowed on leash
Features:
Historic feature
Location
Park:
Region:
County:
Morris
State:
NJ
Publication
First Published:
01/23/2003

Updated/Verified:
07/10/2016
Submitter:
Daniel Chazin

Photo

Morrisown National Park Wick House Photo by Dan Balogh

Parking


View Morristown Natl Hist Park in a larger map

Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates
40.762471,-74.544983
Driving Directions

Take I-287 to Exit 30B. At the first traffic light, turn right onto Route 202. Proceed north for 1.8 miles, and turn left onto Tempe Wick Road at a traffic light. Continue along Tempe Wick Road for 1.4 miles to the park entrance on the right side of the road. The visitor center parking area is just ahead.

Description

From the parking area, proceed to the visitor center. After viewing the exhibits and obtVolunteer Interpretive Guide. Photo by Daniel Chazin.aining a trail map, exit the back door, and continue ahead on a paved path, passing the Wick Farm Garden. Follow the paved path to the entrance to the Wick Farmhouse, which is usually open and staffed by volunteers.

After visiting the farmhouse, turn right and retrace your steps on the paved path until you reach a split-rail fence. Here, you should turn right and head downhill on a wide, grassy road (shown as the Mendham Road Trail on the park map), which soon narrows to a footpath. Near the bottom of the hill, before reaching Tempe Wick Road, turn right at a sign "To Grand Loop Trail." The Grand Loop Trail will be your route for the remainder of the hike.

Upon reaching the white-blazed Grand Loop Trail, turn right and proceed uphill for 0.2 mile. This is the steepest climb you will encounter and is not typical of the terrain on the remainder of the trail. The trail levels off and descends to reach a junction, marked by Signpost #3 (trail junctions in this park are marked by numbered signposts, which will be referred to in the hike description). Here, the trail bears left and climbs to the top of a hill, where it begins to closely parallel the park boundary. After a descent into a valley, it climbs to reach a junction (Signpost #4), where the Patriots’ Path (blue tree-and-river logo on white) joins from the right. A sign points the way to the reconstructed Soldiers’ Huts (downhill on the right), which are worth a short side trip.Soldiers' Huts. Photo by Daniel Chazin.

Follow the Grand Loop Trail as it continues ahead, now running concurrently with the Patriots' Path. When the Patriots' Path leaves to the left in another 900 feet (Signpost #5), turn right and continue to follow the Grand Loop Trail as it descends, passing Signpost #6 and continuing across an open field. After crossing paved Sugarloaf Road, the trail reenters the woods at Signpost #7. It ascends gradually, levels off, then bears right and descends across the side of a hill, with limited seasonal views through the trees to the left. At the next intersection, marked by Signpost #8 -- about two miles from the start -- the Grand Loop Trail turns left and soon levels off. It climbs a little, crosses paved Jockey Hollow Road and passes a locked gate, and reenters the woods. The trail now runs close to the park boundary, with private homes visible just to the left.

After descending gradually and bending sharply to the left, the Grand Loop Trail turns right at Signpost #10, joining the Blue Trail. The joint white/blue trail follows a wide dirt road and passes a small pond on the left. A bench has been placed here, making it an attractive spot for a break. Just beyond, a Y-intersection is reached (Signpost #22). Here, the Blue Trail leaves to the right, but you should take the left fork, continuing along the white-blazed Grand Loop Trail, which descends gradually and begins to parallel a stream on the left. Then, about three miles from the start, the Grand Loop Trail arrives at a T- intersection (Signpost #21), where it turns left. It is now joined by the Patriots’ Path and the Blue Trail, both of which come in from the right. The joint trails cross a wide wooden bridge over a stream and soon arrive at Signpost #20. Turn sharply right here, following the Grand Loop Trail and the Patriots’ Path (the Blue Trail continues straight ahead).

The joint Grand Loop Trail/Patriots’ Path descends to cross the red-blazed Primrose Brook Trail at Signpost #30. Just beyond, the trail crosses Primrose Brook on a wide wooden bridge. Soon, it crosses a feeder brook on another wide wooden bridge, and it climbs a little to recross the Primrose Brook Trail at Signpost #31. As the trail continues ahead, Mt. Kemble is visible through the trees on the left (when there are no leaves on the trees). After a gradual ascent, the trail bears left and passes an interpretive sign with the story of the Connecticut Line. Then, just ahead, the Grand Loop Trail/Patriots’ Path crosses the wide, unblazed Mendham Road Trail (Signpost #55). 

The trail now descends to cross the paved Tempe Wick Road. After descending some more to cross a stream on a wide wooden bridge (Signpost #57), the trail climbs to a junction (Signpost #58). Here, the Patriots’ Path (following the route of the New Jersey Brigade Trail) continues ahead, but you should turn right, following the white blazes. The Grand Loop Trail heads west and then north, roughly parallel to Tempe Wick Road. At Signpost #59, a dirt road joins from the left, and the Grand Loop Trail descends to Tempe Wick Road, completing the loop. To return to the parking area where you began the hike, cross Tempe Wick Road, turn right onto a paved road marked with a “Do Not Enter” sign, and proceed ahead past a “stop” sign, retracing your steps past the Wick Farm to the visitor center.