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Loantaka Brook Reservation
This nearly level loop hike parallels Loantaka Brook, passing through a pleasant and interesting deciduous forest.
Allowed on leash
Morris County Park Commission Loantaka Brook Reservation map (available from kiosk at trailhead or online at www.morrisparks.net)
Take I-287 South to Exit 35 (Madison Avenue) in Morristown. At the top of the ramp, turn right onto Madison Avenue, then turn left at the first traffic light onto South Street. Continue for 1.1 miles, passing the Seaton Hackney Stables on the left, then turn left into the parking area for Loantaka Brook Reservation.
A paved bicycle trail starts at the south side of the entrance to the parking area. Follow this paved path, which goes around a softball field and a grassy expanse and enters the woods. Just ahead, a short connecting trail on the left leads to an unpaved bridle path. This will be your return route, but continue ahead on the paved path, which briefly approaches Loantaka Brook, then continues along a gas pipeline.
In 0.6 mile, the paved path reaches a grassy circle. Proceed ahead across the circle, then continue through a parking area, with a softball field and Kitchell Pond to the left. At the end of the parking area, turn left onto Kitchell Road for 125 feet, then turn right onto a paved path which heads into the woods.
The path proceeds south through a pleasant wooded area, crossing Loantaka Brook, the bridle path and several tributary streams. About a mile from Kitchell Road, another paved path crosses, but continue ahead on the path you have been following.
In another quarter mile, the path emerges onto the grassy route of a gas pipeline, which it follows to a parking area and a paved road, Loantaka Way. Turn right and head west along the road (you can walk on the grassy shoulder on the south side) for a third of a mile, passing an historic brick horse barn (built in 1834 and still used for horses).
After crossing the bridge over Loantaka Brook, turn left at a crosswalk and proceed south on the paved path, passing the horse barn to the left and entering the woods. The path briefly approaches Loantaka Brook but soon moves away from it.
In three-fourths of a mile, the path curves left and crosses a bridge over Loantaka Brook. About 300 feet beyond the bridge (and just before a "no horses" sign), leave the paved path and turn left on a wide dirt bridle path. You've now reached the halfway point.
After heading north along the bridle path for about half a mile, you'll begin to closely parallel the brook to the left and emerge onto an open grassy area. Just before reaching the horse barn, turn left, cross the brook on a bridge, then turn right and retrace your steps on the paved bicycle trail to Loantaka Way.
Cross the road and bear left at a fork to follow the unpaved bridle path (the paved bicycle trail parallels it to the right). You'll pass several large residential estates on the left. In a quarter mile, the paved path turns right and heads east, but you should continue ahead on the unpaved bridle path, which now closely parallels the brook.
Soon, the bridle path turns right and crosses the brook on rocks (this crossing can be difficult if the water is high). On the opposite side, bear left and head north, briefly joining the paved bicycle trail to cross a stream. When you reach Kitchell Road in another quarter mile, bear right and briefly parallel it, then cross the road and continue north.
After coming out on the northeast shore of Kitchell Pond, the bridle path briefly joins another paved path. Proceed ahead, but bear left at the next two junctions. The bridle path closely parallels the curving brook, then crosses it on a bridge. Bear right and continue along the bridle path to its end at a gate by the stables, then bear left across a grassy area to return to the parking area where the hike began.
To view a photo collection for this hike, click here.