Meadowlands Long Loop at Richard W. DeKorte Park

Overview

Details
Time:
1.5 hours
Difficulty:
Easy
Length:
2.5 miles
Route Type:
Circuit
Dogs:
Allowed on leash
Features:
Views, Birding
Location
Park:
Region:
County:
Bergen
State:
NJ
Maps/Books
Publication
First Published:
07/02/2009
Submitter:
Daniel Chazin

Photo

Meadowlands

Parking


View DeKorte Park in a larger map

Trailhead GPS Coordinates
40.785513,-74.105401
Driving Directions

Take the N.J. Turnpike to Exit 16W and proceed west on Route 3. Take the exit for Route 17 south. At the traffic light at the end of the ramp, turn left onto Polito Avenue and follow it to its end at Valley Brook Road. Turn left and continue for 1.5 miles to a railroad crossing. Just beyond, bear left and enter Richard W. DeKorte Park.

Description

Begin by visiting the Meadowlands Environment Center, just south of the parking area, to obtain a copy of the trail guide.

From the Environment Center, follow the brick-paved Shorewalk north along the shore of the Kingsland Impoundment. In 900 feet, the Marsh Discovery Trail begins on the right (a short distance north of the security booth at the entrance). Turn right and follow this trail - a boardwalk which links a series of dredge-spoil islands.

Since the park is situated along the Atlantic Flyway, many species of birds and waterfowl can be observed. Benches and wildlife observation blinds provide opportunities to linger for a while and observe the natural surroundings - with the New York City skyline in the distance.

In about half a mile, the Marsh Discovery Trail ends at a junction with the Transco Trail. Turn right and follow the Transco Trail along a dike constructed in 1950 for a buried gas pipeline. The dike separates the waters of the Kingsland Tidal Impoundment - to your right - from the Saw Mill Creek Wildlife Management Area - to your left. Many native species have been planted along the trail, and several former truck turnarounds have been converted to scenic overlooks.

Just past a gate at the end of the trail, you will reach a four-way junction. Turn left, entering the Lyndhurst Nature Reserve. Continue ahead on a dirt path, bearing left at each intersection. To the left, you'll pass the trunk of a 254-year old Atlantic white cedar tree.

In 600 feet, you'll pass through a gateway and continue ahead on a stone-lined path, with Teal Pool on the right and the Saw Mill Creek Mudflats on the left. If the water is high, a section of the trail may be flooded. You can traverse the flooded area by carefully walking on the rocks that line the left side of the trail.

When you reach a T-intersection at a power line tower, turn right and pass through an open gate. For the next half mile, you'll follow the Saw Mill Creek Trail on a wide causeway. This trail ends at another gate, where you turn right onto a gravel road. You'll pass a carillon on the left and, just beyond, reach the North Arlington Scenic Overlook, from where the New York City skyline is visible in the distance.

Bear right beyond the overlook and follow a gravel road - the route of the Transco Trail - for the next half mile. After passing a parking lot on the left, you'll reach the same four-way intersection that you passed earlier in the hike. Turn left and continue on a dirt path, which becomes a brick-paved path in front of the Administration Building of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission. In 400 feet (near the end of the building) turn left at a crosswalk, cross the paved road, then turn right and continue uphill.

You are now on the Kingsland Overlook Trail, which climbs an artificial mound, created by a landfill for household waste. This former eyesore has been capped by a waterproof plastic substance, covered with topsoil, and planted with attractive shrubs and trees. The trail provides views of the Kingsland Tidal Impoundment below, with the New York City skyline in the distance (although views are partially obscured by the vegetation). The Kingsland Overlook Trail ends opposite the start of the Marsh Discovery Trail. Turn right to reach the parking area, where the hike began.