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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 have an uneven surface, 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 blazed in a rather unusual 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 left onto the Red Trail. To your right, 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. Bear right at the next intersection (the left fork leads back to Puffin Way) and continue ahead along a wide trail.
After crossing a boardwalk over a wetland, a path just to the right leads to a gate, which opens into 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 onto the Green Trail. A short distance ahead, as the trail curves to the right (and before crossing a bridge), turn left onto a narrower path and continue on the Green Trail, which winds through a pleasant forested area, with a thick undergrowth of garlic mustard – an invasive species – and loops around the back of the Labyrinth. The Green Trail has a more natural appearance than the other trails in the Conservancy.
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 posted color map to 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. Now retrace your steps to the Five Pipes and the map, and turn left, crossing a bridge. Teaneck Creek is to your right, and the Glenpointe development is visible through the trees beyond. You’ll pass some more willow trees on the left.
At the next intersection, there is a bridge to the right, but you should bear left and continue on the Blue Trail, which is surfaced with wood chips. Continue on this trail to its end at Puffin Way. The parking lot where the hike began is just ahead.