Know the New Hiking How-tos
Lake Henry Trail in Continental Soldiers Park (Mahwah, NJ)
Directions to trailhead
Take Route 17 to the Route 202 south exit in Mahwah. Turn left at the bottom of the ramp, continue on Route 202 for 1.7 miles, and turn right at the second traffic light into Continental Soldiers Park.
This easy, nearly level, one-mile loop hike circles Lake Henry, which is frequented by several species of waterfowl, including swans, geese, cormorants and egrets. The lake is named for Henry O. Havemeyer, the dominant figure in the sugar refining business in the late nineteenth century, who had a home nearby.
The hike begins near a kiosk (with a map) in the northwest corner of the parking lot (in back of the recreational fields and grandstands). Follow a dirt road (covered with wood chips) which begins just north of the kiosk and leads towards the lake, and turn right to circle the lake in a counterclockwise direction on a wide, level dirt road. When you reach a grassy area with a sign "Drinking Water," bear left and cross a footbridge over the Ramapo River, the inlet of the lake.
The trail bears left, briefly narrows to a footpath, then again widens to a woods road and continues around the lake, well shaded by overhanging trees. Clearings on the left afford views over the lake, and several short side paths on the right lead to an interesting backwater of the Ramapo River.
After crossing a footbridge over the lake's outlet, bear left across a grassy area and continue on a dirt road. At the next fork, bear right to return to the parking lot where the hike began. Alternatively, for a slightly longer hike, you can bear left and continue a little further around the lake, passing a nice viewpoint over the lake on a short side trail to the left, then bear right at the following fork to return to the parking lot.
To view a photo collection for this hike, click here.