Grace Lord Park

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Location


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Park Overview:

Located adjacent to downtown Boonton, this park features spectacular waterfalls along the Rockaway River, as well as historic stone ruins.

Trail Uses:Hiking
Dogs:
Trail Miles:0.5 miles
Park Acreage:
City/County/
State:
Boonton/Morris/NJ
Buy Trail Map:Jersey Highlands: Central North Region Trails Map
Park Description:

Located along the cascading Rockaway River, Grace Lord Park provides a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, birding, and fishing. The park also offers a fountain, playground, swings, and a landmark gazebo. Boonton Falls is perhaps its most unique attraction which, according to the town's web site, is rivaled only by the Great Falls of Paterson. As was the case with Paterson, the fall line generated water power and attracted industry. No active industry remains at this site but there are historical ruins to discover, and the Rockaway River still rushes over a dam, down a steep gorge to Boonton Falls and beyond.

The Boonton Historical Society, located near the park at 210 Main Street in the John Taylor building, is worth a visit [Sundays 1-4pm] to explore the rich industrial history of the area. The Society also organizes monthly walking tours on selected Saturdays from April to October.

Trails Overview:

Post-hurricane damage note: From a trailhead near Essex Ave/West Main St. a short segment is now open going southwest as far as the arch bridge.  So the park is open as far as the falls and bridge, and fully open on the opposite side of the bridge.  Information that follows, including trail descriptions, were written before the storm struck.

The Boonton Falls Trail is about 0.5 mile in one direction, with plenty of awe-inspiring views. Follow this link for a compelling description of the trail; or this one from the Boonton Historical Society [which also explains the origin of the park's name].  A section of the Morris Canal, Plane 7E, touches the northwestern side of the park.

Additional hiking trails can be found in Tourne County Park, a short drive from Grace Lord Park.

Directions:

Traveling south on I-287, take Exit 45 turn left onto Myrtle Street [Rt 202]. In roughly a mile, turn right onto Main Street, just as Rt 202 crosses I-287. In about 500 feet turn left onto Morris Avenue [the names change at this intersection; to the right of Main Street is “Division Street.”] In less than 0.3 mile on the right is a small gravel parking area -- be aware, no street sign marks its location.

Traveling north on I-287, take Exit 44 turn right onto Lathrup Avenue, and then right again onto Main Street. Soon after crossing I-287, turn left onto Morris Avenue; parking area is less than 0.3 mile on right.

There are several other parking areas with access to the park on its eastern and northern edges.

 

Public transportation:

  • A NJ Transit bus stop and rail station are near Myrtle and Main Streets in Boonton, close to the park. However there is no direct service from New York City; a transfer is required for either mode of transportation.
  • Lakeland Bus Company has direct, but spotty service [especially on weekendd] from the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 42nd Street and 8th Avenue to Boonton.
Contact Information:Town of Boonton
9734029410
Region:Morris County
Fees:None

Comment: Please be relevant, civil, non-commercial.

Closed as a result of Hurricane Irene

Folowing is from an e-mail sent to me by a park official: "I just wanted to alert you that the path along the Rockaway River in Grace Lord Park, Boonton,  is closed until further notice.  There was SEVERE erosion along the river as a result of Hurricane Irene.  There is now a drop off of 50-80 feet from one area of the path to the river below.  The path is blocked with wooden snow fencing.  I viewed it from the other side of the river myself yesterday, I was near tears.  That naturally, beautiful river bank is now a scraped and scoured 60 foot wall of soil."  .