Hike Distance: 5.02 Miles
Another great day and another great hike. As I got to the trailhead, it was 59 degrees out, and I was the fourth car. I seriously debated starting with a jacket on, but packed it – and after a few minutes, I was thankful. I started with the Blue trail (Falling Waters trail) to head to the falls. Just before the trail descended, I was able to get this picture of Lake George:
Just by the dam, the trail starts down – be prepared, this is rocky and steep in sections. It was perfect weather on my hike; I can only imagine this section on the wet rocks or with ice. However, the falls are awesome. You can scramble all over the rocks to get all kinds of views. It was nearing 60 degrees, had this been August with high heat and humidity, I might have taken a dip.
The Falling Waters trail follows Electric Brook beneath the falls. There are ruins of the old power station, but I did not find them. I followed the trail until the fence marking private property, where the trail bears left and goes straight up hill. At the top of the hill you will come to a junction of many trails and the end of the Falling Waters trail. There will be rocks on your right, walk out those for a view.
The map shows a point of interest that comprises a big rock outcropping. Even though I was making a big loop, I took the Pink trail (not named) to its end where it junctions with the Grand Loop trail. The Pink trail is more a woods road, so, wide with lots of crushed gravel. There is an unmarked trail to the right which shortly leads to the rocks.
Behind the rocks there should be a view, but with the leaves on the trees, there wasn’t much to see. I took Pink back to the junction.
At the junction, I turned left onto a White and Teal Trail (Patriot’s Path and the Highlands trail.) This I took to Fairview Avenue.
Along the way there was a junction and a sign for a Green trail, not named, but shown, on my map. On the sign was tacked “most difficult.” After walking about 100 yards I came to sign that said trail’s end, and a cliff. The map showed more trail, but I couldn’t find where it went, I must have missed it. Because what I walked was flatter than the Falling Waters trail. When I come back, I will have to further explore.
I got back on Patriot’s Path/Highland trail and took that to the parking lot at Fairview Avenue, where I would make a left onto the Yellow Dot trail (Beeline trail.) Approaching this junction and parking lot is where I ran into more people – this is a fairly busy lot. This trail has some steep sections as it climbs onto the back section of Schooleys Mountain. Junction with the Yellow (Grand Loop trail) and continue.
I rested at the junction of Red (High Cut) but stayed on Yellow to get back to the Orange (Upland Meadow trail.) Orange cuts through two meadows filled with plenty of wild flowers and trees, bird houses, and lots of crickets. Under a big tree I stopped for a snack though I was mostly done. The sun was out, and felt great as it pushed the temperatures into the upper 60s.
I walked back on Yellow to Red to cross over the top of Schooleys Mountain. Following my GPS, I estimated the summit to be right here:
It gets a little squirrlly at the top, I lost the trail a couple of times; and I suspect I wasn’t the only one. It doesn’t help when I find blazes in the following locations:
Red junctions with Yellow (again) and I took Yellow back to the car. This portion of the trail is a wide woods road of crushed gravel.
And just before my car I got one more picture of Lake George.
This was a great hike. By the time I got back to my car, there were more cars there and more people out and about. This is a really nice park, as are all of the Morris County parks I’ve hiked in. The trails are well maintained, well blazed and provide great maps (though print your own, there were none at the trailhead.)