Terrace Pond Loop from Stephens Road
Directions to trailhead
Take N.J. Route 23 West to Union Valley Road (County 513) in Newfoundland. Proceed north on Union Valley Road for 4.5 miles to Stephens Road, and turn left onto Stephens Road. Soon, you will reach a parking area by a gate. Park here and continue ahead for 0.7 mile along unpaved Stephens Road. (If you are coming from the north on Union Valley Road, the intersection with Stephens Road is 2.6 miles south of the traffic light at the intersection of Union Valley Road and Marshall Hill Road in West Milford.) NOTE: You must have a parking permit for the Newark Watershed to park in this parking area, designated on Trail Conference Map 116 as P8.
Follow Stephens Road past the gate for about 0.6 mile until you come to a gate on the right side of the road. Next to the gate, you will notice three red blazes, which mark the start of the Terrace Pond Red Trail. Turn right and follow this trail into the woods. This section of the Terrace Pond Red Trail is an old woods road which proceeds through a deep forest of hemlock and mountain laurel, with some white pine and rhododendron.
After a little over a mile of pleasant walking, the Terrace Pond Red Trail bears left and descends to cross a stream. Soon afterwards, it turns left, leaving the woods road it has been following, and continues on a footpath. Straight ahead on the woods road is the blue-blazed Terrace Pond North Loop, but you should turn left and continue on the Terrace Pond Red Trail, now joined by the Terrace Pond North Loop. In a short distance, you’ll reach a T-intersection with another woods road. Turn left and follow the red and blue blazes, which head uphill on the woods road, rather steeply in places.
About a mile and a half from the start, you’ll come to another T-intersection with a woods road. Here, the blue-blazed Terrace Pond North Loop turns right, and the yellow/blue Terrace Pond Connector Trail begins on the left. Continue straight ahead on the Terrace Pond Red Trail.
In a quarter mile, the Terrace Pond Red Trail ends at a junction with the yellow-blazed Terrace Pond West Loop. Turn right onto the Terrace Pond West Loop, which descends rather steeply to cross a stream. It then begins a steady climb, reaching jumbled lichen-covered boulders near the crest of the rise. A short distance beyond, you'll come to a southeast-facing viewpoint from a rock outcrop.
After a short level section, the trail bears left and continues along another rock outcrop. Like the previous outcrop, this one is composed of reddish-purple "puddingstone" conglomerate rock, with quartz pebbles embedded in the rock.
After following the outcrop for some distance, the trail descends to the right and follows another relatively level section. It climbs along another rock outcrop, then steeply climbs over rocks to reach a seasonal viewpoint to the east through the trees. Just beyond, Terrace Pond itself may be seen below to the right (when there are no leaves on the trees).
Continuing along its rugged, rocky route, the yellow trail passes to the left of a huge boulder with some interesting crevices that you can walk through. There is a view over Terrace Pond from the top of the boulder. Just beyond, the Terrace Pond West Loop descends steeply over rocks to reach a junction with the white-blazed Terrace Pond Circular Trail. Turn left and follow the joint yellow/white trail. A short distance ahead – just beyond another rock scramble – you’ll reach an open area along the lakeshore. This is a great spot to take a break and enjoy the beauty of this secluded glacial lake.
When you’re ready to continue, proceed north along the yellow/white trail. Soon, you’ll come to a junction where the yellow-blazed Terrace Pond West Loop turns left. Bear right, now following only the white blazes of the Terrace Pond Circular Trail. Soon, the trail crosses a floating bridge across a wet area, built by the West Jersey Trail Crew in the summer of 2020. The trail now climbs a ladder and, a short distance ahead, reaches a junction with the blue-blazed Terrace Pond North Loop. Bear right here, now following the blue blazes of the Terrace Pond North Loop as well as the white blazes of the Terrace Pond Circular Trail.
Soon, you’ll reach a junction where the two coaligned trails turn sharply left. Continue ahead on an unmarked side trail that leads to a rock outcrop with a panoramic view over Terrace Pond. When you’re ready to continue, return to the trail, turn right, and climb stone steps. The trails head south along exposed rock outcrops, passing a huge glacial erratic on the right.
In a third of a mile, the two trails diverge. Bear left to continue on the blue-blazed Terrace Pond North Loop, which descends steadily, then bears right and continues on a grassy woods road. After about half a mile along the level woods road, you’ll reach a four-way junction, where the Terrace Pond Red Trail comes in from the right and the yellow/blue-blazed Terrace Pond Connector continues ahead. Turn left and follow the joint Terrace Pond North Loop and Terrace Pond Red Trail, which descend gradually, passing a vernal pond on the left.
After a short climb to a T-intersection, the trails diverge. You should turn right and follow the Terrace Pond Red Trail back to the parking area where the hike began.