Know the New Hiking How-tos
Mahwah Township Park
Near where Route 17 merges with I-287, take Stag Hill Road which leads south. This is a tricky intersection, especially traveling south on Route 17 where it is the first exit (just before a truck stop) after Route 17 south divides from I-287 south. If traveling north on Route 17, take the exit to the Sheraton Hotel, but follow signs to a bridge back over Route 17 to Stag Hill Road.
About one-half mile from Route 17 is an ample parking area on the left hand side of Stag Hill Road, see Map Tab above.
A Green Acres site with two short trails on either side of a Mahwah watershed lake
There are two short un-marked trails on either side of the lake; wetlands prohibit a loop hike around the lake. Be aware of and give way to horses on the trails. Although prohibited, ATVs can be encountered on the entrance and gravel roads.
- Gravel road: The entrance road is paved for a little more than a quarter-mile with small brick buildings, appearing to be abandoned pumping stations, widely spaced along the left hand side. At about 0.2-mile from the entrance a wide gravel road to the right leads to and runs along the western side of the lake; it divides and then re-unites just before ending at a cul-de-sac. A narrow path continues down lake for a short distance to three upright tubular barriers marking the park boundary at about 0.75-mile from the start.
- Green Acres path: For the greenway trail stay on the paved entrance road to its end at about 0.3-mile, pass around another wide chain link fence where a Green Acres sign is posted. The trail passes to the east of a shallow lake (which is dry for part of the year) and to the west of the Ramapo River. The path becomes a cement spillway for several hundred feet; it is a place to avoid when the Ramapo River is high. At roughly 0.7-mile on the left is a bridge that crosses the Ramapo River to a path leading to the back of Mahrapo Farms and horse stable along Route 202 (Ramapo Valley Road). Stay on the greenway path past what (only) appears to be the end of the lake; the pathway becomes sandy for a distance. At about one mile from the entrance the path forks left away from the lake into a heavily wooded area with many downed trees and patches of poison ivy, ultimately fading directionless into a wetlands area.
The Ramapo River parallels Route 202 in Mahwah and along the way feeds several lakes around which parks have been established. The best known is Scarlet Oak Pond in the Ramapo Valley County Reservation. A little to the north, going upriver -- and just beyond the Darlington Schoolhouse, the Trail Conference's headquarters -- is Lake Henry at Continental Soldiers Field. The third and northernmost park in this series, and virtually unknown, is a nameless lake in Mahwah Township Park. Its entrance is not very welcoming, with a wide chain-link fence prohibiting the entrance of vehicles and a sign warning “Mahwah Watershed, Keep Out.” There are also no park amenities, such as benches or tables. But inside is a Green Acres site with plenty of solitude and a great place for birding.