Wildcat Ridge Wildlife Management Area

Location


View Wildcat Ridge WMA in a larger map

Park Overview:

See migrating hawks in the spring and fall as they ride the thermals along a ridge top; view the vastness of the Farny Highlands forest resource.

Trail Uses:Hiking
Dogs:No dogs
Trail Miles:1.6 miles
Park Acreage:3745 acres
City/County/
State:
Rockaway Township/Morris/NJ
Buy Trail Map:Jersey Highlands: Central North Region Trails Map
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Park Description:

Wildlife with wings is a characteristic feature of the 3,745-acre Wildcat Ridge WMA.  At the southern end, the abandoned and barricaded Hibernia Mine is New Jersey's largest known bat hibernaculum, home to an estimated 26,000 little brown bats. 

The area is also an official Hawk Migration Association of North America "hawkwatch" site. The Hawk Watch Overlook observation platform is at the end of the Flyway Spur Trail [orange; 0.9 mile]. This is a great place to see migrating hawks in the spring and fall as they ride the thermals along the ridge top.  Volunteers have counted as many as 18,000 raptors during the fall, and 3,000 in the spring.  As NJ DEP Division of Fish and Wildlife writes about the area: "Even when the hawks are not soaring the view provides an otherwise hard to obtain understanding of the vastness of the Highlands forest resource and its value to hundreds of species, including humans, in northern New Jersey"

  • In early 2015 the NJ Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Acres Program announced the purchase of 1,500 acres of pristine watershed buffer land from Jersey City, providing permanent protection to land that surrounds the city’s Split Rock Reservoir located primarily in Morris County’s Rockaway Township

    The preserved tract is a greenway connector, linking the state’s Wildcat Ridge Wildlife Management Area, Farny State Park, and Buck Mountain. The land is primarily forested, with hiking trails and fishing access, and includes a wide range of plant and animal species –including threatened and endangered species.  Click for additional details.

Trails Overview:

Three short trails traverse the area, and they can be combined with an 0.7 section of the Four Birds Trail [white] to form a 2.2 mile loop.  The Flyway Spur Trail [orange; 0.9 mile] goes to Hawk Watch Overlook.   Current topographical maps in PDF are available for download from the Table of Wildlife Management Areas    

Directions:

From I-80 take exit # 37 [Rockaway/Hibernia]. Turn left [north] at light. Proceed 6.3 miles to right turn onto Upper Hibernia Road [at Marcella Community Club]. Stay on Upper Hibernia Road for 2.7 miles [it becomes a dirt road] to the white gravel parking lot on right [identified with a sign]. 

Alternatively, from the I-287 interchange [north or south] take Route 23 north for 8.9 miles to La Rue & Green Pond Road exit. Cross over Route 23 and go south a very short distance and take immediate right onto Green Pond Road. Go 5.1 miles south to a left turn onto Upper Hibernia Road [opposite Marcella Community Club]. Stay on Upper Hibernia Road for 2.7 miles [it becomes a dirt road] to the white gravel parking lot on right [identified with a sign].

Contact Information:NJ DEP, Div of Fish & Wildlife
6099840547
Region:Morris County
Fees:None

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

White nose syndrome at Hibernia

The following is a quote from an article by Brian T. Murray at nj.com on November 30, 2010: Once the largest wintering haven for bats that flutter about the Garden State, the Hibernia mine in Morris County is now more of a morgue. Where 27,000 to 30,000 bats of multiple species once gathered each fall to hibernate, only a few hundred hang on the walls now.