Know the New Hiking How-tos
Grace Lord Park
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. GPS Coordinates: 40.906869, -74.415022
Trailhead at Essex Avenue and West Main, GPS Coordinates: 40.907464, -74.419882. Park where safe and legal.
Located adjacent to downtown Boonton, this park features spectacular waterfalls along the Rockaway River, as well as historic stone ruins.
The fall line has had an unfortunate consequence. Hurricane Irene in August 2011 caused severe erosion along the Rockaway River in Grace Lord Park. Engineering estimates to stabilize the slope were in the millions of dollar, requiring funds out of reach for the Town. Modest efforts were underway in early 2017 to shore up a segment of the eroded banks along the ravine, principally to protect residential structures.
The park is open to the public. From a trailhead near Essex Ave/West Main Street the Boonton Falls Trail of roughly one-half mile goes as far as the arch bridge and a view of the falls. Another trailhead is off Main Street, where parking is available. See Directions to Trailhead on this site.
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.
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 [check for hours] to explore the rich industrial history of the area. The Society also organizes monthly walking tours on selected Saturdays from April to October.