Know the New Hiking How-tos
Wallkill National Wildlife Refuge
From I-287N take Exit 52B to NJ23-North (it is Exit 52A from I-287S). Follow NJ23-N 15 miles to beyond Hamburg but before Sussex, turn right onto Glenwood Road. In 1.5 miles the refuge headquarters is on the left.
Headquarters street address: 1547 Glenwood Road, Sussex, NJ 07461. GPS Coordinates: GPS: 41.20115, -74.56320
A little-known North Jersey treasure, the refuge stretches 10 miles along the northward flowing Wallkill River
There are five nature trails on the refuge. Use the Web Map link on this site to view trails and trailhead parking areas.
- The level 2.5-mile Liberty Loop Trail, which traverses the refuge’s northern portion, crossing into its New York section, follows the dikes of an abandoned sod farm around a wetland and grassland management area. It is co-aligned with the Appalachian Trail (white) for 1.5 miles. A portion of the trail utilizes the right-of-way of the abandoned Lehigh and New England Railroad.
- This is the only trail in the refuge where hunting is always prohibited (more information on hunting below).
- It is also the only trail where dogs are permitted.
- The Winding Waters Trail, located 0.5 mile west of the Liberty Loop Trail, is at the northern tip of the refuge, further into Orange County, N.Y. It offers another 2.1 miles of trail along the river and through restored fields and a canoe/kayak launch at the trailhead.
- The Timberdoodle Trail follows another segment of the Lehigh and New England Railroad right-of-way through forested bottomlands and wetlands, extending 2.3 miles south of Bassett’s Bridge Road.
- Beginning at refuge headquarters, the Dagmar-Dale Nature Trail traverses hilly terrain, passing through grasslands and hardwood forests on its way down to the Wallkill River. It consists of two loop trails, which may be combined to create a longer loop hike. The North Loop (blue) is 1.7 miles long, while the South Loop (yellow) is 1.0 mile long.
- The 1.5-mile Wood Duck Nature Trail, a self-guided interpretative trail, follows the right-of-way of the Hanford Branch of the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railroad, abandoned in 1958, passing extensive wetlands along the way.
- The first 0.6 mile is wheelchair accessible.
On the Refuge’s web page, click on a “Maps” link for close-up satellite views of several of these trails.
Hunting is allowed on and near these trails at various times in the spring, fall and winter, with the exception already noted of the Liberty Loop Trail, where hunting is always prohibited. Of its 6,000 acres, 5,000 are available for seasonal hunting.
Visitors are urged to wear safety orange when the trails are open to both hunters and non-hunters. It is noteworthy that hunters, according to the refuge’s web site, “must wear in a conspicuous manner on head, chest, and back a minimum of 400 square inches of solid fluorescent orange clothing.”
- New Jersey hunting regulations, which the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service generally follows in the refuge, can be confusing. It may be prudent to call the Refuge office (phone number under Contact Information) before visiting to ascertain if one or more of its many hunting seasons is in progress.
- For more information: On the Refuge’s web site follow the links: “visit/visitor activities/hunting.” See also the current-year hunting schedule for New Jersey state parks here.
There is no hunting on Sundays on the refuge.
The Wallkill River Wildlife Refuge, established in 1990, protects and manages land to conserve the biological diversity of the Wallkill Valley. Its special emphasis is on forest-dwelling and grassland birds, migrating waterfowl, wintering raptors, and endangered species.
A colorful, informative brochure published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is available here. The Friends of the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge organizes education and outreach programs, and maintains a Nature Store.