Closter Nature Center Short Hike
Directions to trailhead
Closter Nature Center is located at 154 Ruckman Road, Closter, NJ 07624. From Route 9W in Alpine, proceed west on Closter Dock Road for 2.7 miles to Oakland Avenue. Turn right onto Oakland Avenue, which merges into Ruckman Road in about 0.1 mile. Continue on Ruckman Road for another 0.2 mile to the parking lot for the Nature Center, on the right.
This hike loops around the Closter Nature Center. The low-lying trails are often wet, so much of the hike is on puncheons (wooden boardwalks). Along the hike, you'll pass several deer exclosures (black plastic fencing, with white ribbons attached), designed to prevent deer from munching on the vegetation.
From the Nature Center building, where parking is available, turn right and follow Ruckman Road east for about 600 feet. Just beyond the driveway to 190 Ruckman Road, you’ll notice a triple red blaze on a large tree on the north side of the road, adjacent to a sign for the Closter Nature Center. Enter the woods, following the Red Trail, with puncheons placed over wet areas.
Just beyond a huge fallen tree, turn right onto the Green Trail, which soon crosses Willow Brook on a substantial wooden bridge. The trail immediately turns sharply left and parallels the brook, following a raised berm. When the Green Trail ends, turn left and recross the brook on another wooden bridge, following blue blazes.
Soon, the Blue Trail turns right to cross Smith Brook, but you should continue ahead on the White Trail, which parallels the brook. When you reach Ruckman Road, turn left along the road for 150 feet, then cross the road to the parking area where the hike began.
For more information about the Closter Nature Center, or to download a map, go to www.closternaturecenter.org.
To view a photo collection for this hike, click here.