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Tourne County Park Longer Loop
This hike climbs to the top of the Tourne, with panoramic views, loops around the southern section of the park, and passes an interesting wetland.
Allowed on leash
Take I-80 to Exit 43 (Mahwah/Morristown/I-287), then take Exit 43B onto I-287 North. Take the first exit, Exit 43 (Intervale Road), and turn left at the top of the ramp. Cross over I-287 and turn right at the traffic light onto Fanny Road. At the second stop sign, reached in 0.9 mile, continue ahead, following the sign to "West Main Street," then bear left at the next fork onto County Route 618. In 0.2 mile, turn left onto McCaffrey Lane and proceed for 0.2 mile to a parking area on the right.
From the kiosk at the end of the parking area, continue downhill along McCaffrey Lane for 500 feet. Just beyond a bridge over a stream, turn right onto the Red Trail (marked by a triple-red blaze on a tree).
You'll immediately go through a gate in a chain-link fence and enter the Wildflower Trail area, where the trail curves sharply left. Continue for another 500 feet on the Red Trail, soon exiting the Wildflower Trail area via another gate.
Just beyond, you'll reach a four-way junction. Turn right and follow the DeCamp Trail -- a wide, yellow-blazed gravel road that climbs on a moderate grade to the top of the Tourne. Near the top, you'll reach a panoramic viewpoint to the east, with the New York City skyline visible in the distance on a clear day. Just beyond, you'll pass a memorial to the tragic 9/11/01 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, which was visible from this point.
A grassy clearing on the left, with picnic tables, marks the high point of the Tourne (897 feet). Continue ahead on the gravel road, which descends slightly to reach a west-facing viewpoint over the Wildcat Ridge. A bench has been placed here so you can rest and enjoy the view.
Continue downhill along the road, passing interesting boulders on the hillside to the left. At the base of the descent, the yellow-blazed DeCamp Trail turns left, but you should turn right onto the Red Trail, which leads in about a quarter of a mile to a parking area, with a handicapped restroom. Turn left, continuing to follow the red blazes, and cross the park entrance road by a yellow gate.
The Red Trail, which you’ll follow for the rest of the hike, now enters the less-used southern section of the park. It climbs a rise, bearing left at a fork on the way up, then bears right at a fork as it descends. At the base of the descent, it crosses the Pink Trail. After a relatively level stretch, the Red Trail crosses the Purple Trail. It then ascends on switchbacks to reach a high point (711 feet) with a bench – the halfway point of the hike..
The Red Trail now descends rather steeply. At the base of the descent, it turns left to pass a vernal pool on the right. Just beyond, it briefly joins the Purple Trail, which comes in from the left. In 75 feet, the Red Trail turns right, leaving the Purple Trail, and climbs slightly to a ridge that overlooks a valley on the left.
After descending once more, you’ll come to a junction, where you should turn left, following the sign to "Tourne." Once again, the trail runs along the edge of a ridge, overlooking a ravine on the left, until it descends to a four-way intersection. Continue straight ahead, crossing the Ogden Trail – a wide dirt road, built in 1898 for a proposed railroad but never actually used as such - and pass Birchwood Lake, visible through the trees on the right.
In 500 feet, the Red Trail bears left at a bench. It follows a relatively level but somewhat rocky route for a third of a mile and then joins the blue-blazed Swamp Trail for about 500 feet. When the Swamp Trail leaves to the right, continue ahead on the Red Trail, which joins a woods road coming in from the right and begins to descend. On the way down, the Swamp Trail again joins for 500 feet, then departs to the left. At the base of a descent, an short unmarked path to the left leads to the edge of Rattlesnake Meadow - a fascinating wetland, filled with dead trees.
At the end of Rattlesnake Meadow, the Red Trail joins a gravel road coming in from the left, and it bears right at a fork. Soon, the Red Trail ends opposite the parking area where the hike began.