Lake Henry Trail in Continental Soldiers Park (Mahwah, NJ)

Overview

This easy loop hike circles Lake Henry.

Details
Time:
0.5 hours
Difficulty:
Easy
Length:
1 miles
Route Type:
Circuit
Dogs:
No Dogs
Features:
Views, Birding
Location
Park:
Region:
County:
Bergen
State:
NJ
Maps/Books
Buy Trail Map:

Publication
First Published:
07/15/2010

Updated/Verified:
05/07/2015
Submitter:
Daniel Chazin

Photo

Parking


View Lake Henry Hike Extension in a larger map

Trailhead GPS Coordinates
41.084090, -74.178777
Driving Directions

Take Route 17 to the Route 202 south exit in Mahwah. Turn left at the bottom of the ramp, continue on Route 202 for 1.7 miles, and turn right at the second traffic light into Continental Soldiers Park.

Description

This easy, nearly level, one-mile loop hike circles Lake Henry, which is frequented by several species of waterfowl, including swans, geese, cormorants and egrets. The lake is named for Henry O. Havemeyer, the dominant figure in the sugar refining business in the late nineteenth century, who had a home nearby.

The hike begins near a kiosk (with a map) in the northwest corner of the parking lot (in back of the recreational fields and grandstands). Follow a dirt road (covered with wood chips) which begins just north of the kiosk and leads towards the lake, and turn right to circle the lake in a counterclockwise direction on a wide, level dirt road. When you reach a grassy area with a sign "Drinking Water," bear left and cross a footbridge over the Ramapo River, the inlet of the lake.

The trail bears left, briefly narrows to a footpath, then again widens to a woods road and continues around the lake, well shaded by overhanging trees. Clearings on the left afford views over the lake, and several short side paths on the right lead to an interesting backwater of the Ramapo River.

After crossing a footbridge over the lake's outlet, bear left across a grassy area and continue on a dirt road. At the next fork, bear right to return to the parking lot where the hike began. Alternatively, for a slightly longer hike, you can bear left and continue a little further around the lake, passing a nice viewpoint over the lake on a short side trail to the left, then bear right at the following fork to return to the parking lot.


To view a photo collection for this hike, click here.

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Hike extension

Those wishing to extend the hike can continue into the open field at the "Drinking Water" sign [it's about the watershed, not a spot to draw drinking water], proceed towards the well housing, cross Halifax Road into a fisherman's parking lot and dirt road, then beyond a rock barrier into another grassy field that has a wide mowed path. Along the way there are several access points to the river, and during the summer, because it's a fertile floodplain, the plants surrounding the path are so high as to provide a feeling of total isolation. When the path divides at the end of the field -- about one-third mile from the "Drinking Water" sign -- the left fork goes over a berm and narrows quickly leading to a [nameless] lake, or perhaps it's an eddy in the Ramapo River, and ends abruptly. It's a pleasant spot to linger. For those not wanting to re-trace steps back to Lake Henry, the other fork leads in one-quarter mile to a cul-de-sac at Washington Lane, following it "T's" into Halifax Road, a right turn onto Halifax goes back to the well housing on the left with Lake Henry in sight.


Map showing features of hike extension [tabs may load slowly].