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Teaneck Creek Conservancy
This hike traverses an interesting wetland located in the heart of Bergen County.
Handicap Accessible, Public Transportation
Teaneck Creek Conservancy map (available at kiosk at trailhead or at www.teaneckcreek.org.)
Take Interstate Route 80 to Exit 70 (Teaneck). Continue on DeGraw Avenue uphill to Teaneck Road (the second traffic light) and turn right. Turn right again at the next intersection (Puffin Way, the eastward continuation of Oakdene Avenue), proceed to the end of the street, and turn right into the parking lot for 20 Puffin Way (although a sign indicates that parking is for “tenants only,” the parking lot may be used by visitors to the Teaneck Creek Conservancy).
Take New Jersey Transit #167 bus (Teaneck Road) from the Port Authority Bus Terminal to Oakdene Avenue and Teaneck Road in Teaneck, and walk down Puffin Way to the Teaneck Creek Conservancy.
The Teaneck Creek Conservancy is a 46-acre tract that is now a part of Overpeck County Park. Once used as a dump for debris generated during the construction of the nearby interstate highways, the area has been rehabilitated and a trail system constructed. For the most part, the dense vegetation screens the adjacent developments from view, and even the noise from the nearby highways is often drowned out by the chirping birds. At times, it is hard to believe that you are in the midst of densely developed Bergen County!
All trails in the conservancy are nearly flat, and the Red Trail is handicapped-accessible. The loop described below includes the Green Trail, portions of which are relatively narrow, but it is possible to fashion a slightly shorter loop by combining the Red and Blue Trails, both of which are suitable for strollers and wheelchairs.
Although the trails in the conservancy are designated with different colors, they are not blazed in the traditional manner.Colored turtle-shaped tags, referred to as “blazers,” are placed along the trails in designated locations, but they are not generally visible as one walks along the trails. Despite the small size of the conservancy, it is easy to lose your way if you are not familiar with the area, so be sure to take a map along.
After obtaining a trail map from the kiosk on the east side of the parking lot, descend wooden steps to the Red Trail. (To avoid the steps, you can use a path that begins at the end of Puffin Way.) Turn right onto the Red Trail. To your left, you will notice concrete plaques – formed from rubble that was dumped in the area – on which information regarding various species of migratory birds that frequent the area has been inscribed. After crossing a bridge, you’ll notice on the left an interesting silver maple tree with numerous trunks. A short distance beyond, you’ll pass the entrance to the Dr. Ben Burton Butterfly Garden.
At the next intersection )just beyond a bridge), bear left (the path to the right leads to DeGraw Avenue). Although no blazes are visible here, the map indicates that you are now following the Green Trail. Then, after crossing two more bridges, bear right onto a narrower footpath and continue on the Green Trail.
Just before reaching the next bridge, you’ll notice a path on the left that leads to a gate in a fenced area,known as the Laybrinth. Here, chunks of concrete ("rubblestone") have been arranged to form a winding path that leads to a circle in the center. You’ll want to spend a few minutes here, contemplating the surroundings.
Leaving the Labyrinth, turn left to continue on the Green Trail, which has a more natural appearance than the other trails in the Conservancy. The trail winds through a pleasant forested area, with a thick undergrowth of garlic mustard – an invasive species.
Eventually, you’ll reach the banks of Teaneck Creek and bear left, following the creek. You’ll pass a concrete-and-steel footbridge over the creek, which leads to office buildings on Frank Burr Boulevard. To the left, you’ll notice dense reeds, known as phragmites, another invasive species. You’ll also pass several huge willow trees.
At the next intersection, turn left onto the Red Trail, passing a color trail map on the left. Just beyond, you’ll reach the Five Pipes – huge sections of concrete piping, left behind during the construction of the nearby interstate highway. These pipes have been painted by students with scenes depicting the various natural features of the area and the human relationship to the land in several historical eras. This section of the Red Trail follows the route of the Public Service trolley line that operated between 1899 and 1938, connecting Paterson with Edgewater (where a ferry took passengers to New York City). A section of the trolley rail has been placed adjacent to the trail.
Continue ahead on the Red Trail to the next bridge. Here, to the right, is Dragonfly Pond, where you may observe various species of wildlife (the pond may be dry during periods of drought). Now retrace your steps to the Five Pipes and the map, and turn left, crossing a bridge. Teaneck Creek is on your right, and the Glenpointe development is visible through the trees beyond. You’ll pass some more huge willow trees on the left.
At the next intersection, there is a bridge on the right, but you should bear left and continue on the Blue Trail. Follow this trail to its end at Puffin Way. The parking lot where the hike began is just ahead.