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Tenafly Nature Center Loop #2
This loop hike circles the nature preserve, passing interesting rock formations and an attractive pond.
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Take U.S. Route 9W to the traffic light at East Clinton Avenue in Tenafly. Proceed west on East Clinton Avenue for 1.7 miles and turn right at a traffic light onto Engle Street. Continue on Engle Street until it ends at a T intersection with Hudson Avenue. Turn right and follow Hudson Avenue to its end at the nature center, where parking is available.
Stop at the visitor center to obtain a trail map, then proceed ahead on the Main Trail, a wide dirt road which is the continuation of Hudson Avenue. In about 300 feet, turn right onto the Red Trail (blazed with red triangles), which proceeds south. After several turns, the trail begins to follow along a stream.
After crossing a wet area on puncheons, be alert for a trail junction at several huge fallen trees, where the Purple Trail begins. Turn right and follow the Purple Trail, which immediately crosses the stream on a footbridge. When you reach a T-intersection (at a sign pointing to "Highwood Ave."), turn left, continuing along the Purple Trail (the trail to the right is the Blue Trail, which leads to an adjacent residential street). After crossing a brook on a footbridge, the Purple Trail ends at a T-intersection with the yellow-blazed Allison Trail. Turn right and follow the Allison Trail.
Where the trail bends left, there is an interesting rock formation (named "Little Rock Den" on the nature center's trail map) to the left of the trail. After crossing a stream on rocks, you'll reach a junction with the orange-blazed Haring Rock Trail (marked by a sign to the right). Turn right and continue south on the Haring Rock Trail. You'll soon pass, on the right side of the trail, a tree which appears to be standing on four "legs," with a hollow base! The orange trail follows a winding footpath and eventually widens to a woods road.
As you approach East Clinton Avenue, the southern boundary of the nature center, you'll notice a very large boulder to the left of the trail. This is the Haring Rock, after which the trail is named. Here, a yellow/orange-blazed trail goes off to the left. Turn left and follow this trail, known as the Seely Trail, as it proceeds southeast, parallel to East Clinton Avenue, which is visible through the trees on the right. After crossing the Green Brook on a footbridge, you'll reach a junction with the yellow-blazed Allison Trail, which leads left.
Turn left and follow the Allison Trail northward. As the trail approaches the Green Brook, it turns left, joining the red-blazed Little Chism Trail. Both trails cross the brook on a footbridge, then turn right and parallel the brook.
A short distance beyond, watch for a junction (marked by a cairn) where the red trail goes off to the right. Turn right, leaving the yellow trail, and continue along the red trail, which soon approaches US 9W. For most of its length, the Little Chism Trail parallels this busy road, which can often be seen to the right through the trees.
After turning away from Route 9W, the red trail again approaches it at a junction marked by a cairn. Here, the short red-and-yellow-blazed Sweet Gum Spur Trail leads to Route 9W at the entrance to the Greenbrook Sanctuary. Continue ahead on the red trail, which crosses a brook on a footbridge. A short distance beyond, you'll notice another interesting rock outcrop on the left. This formation is made up of igneous rock, known as diabase, formed when molten lava cooled underground. During the cooling process, contraction fissures broke the rock into crude vertical columns, plainly visible in this outcrop.
The red trail once again approaches Route 9W, turns away from it, and crosses a wet area on a long footbridge. A short distance beyond, it ends at unpaved Hudson Avenue. Turn left along the road for 20 feet, then turn right onto the red-and-white-blazed Bischoff Trail, which parallels a stone wall to the left.
With a paved road that leads to the Montammy Country Club visible ahead, the red-and-white trail turns left, goes through a gap in the stone wall, then loops around a small pond. It soon crosses another stone wall, with buildings of the country club visible to the right, and the historic Lambier House (built in the 1870s) visible through the trees to the left. After crossing the boundary between the Tenafly Nature Center and the Lost Brook Preserve (marked by a sign), the trail crosses a third stone wall and ends at a junction with the De Filippi Trail (blazed with white triangles).
Turn right onto the De Filippi Trail and descend to Pfister's Pond. The trail bears left and follows the shoreline of the pond. Part of the trail over wet areas is built on boardwalk, and you will pass a wooden shelter along the way (the shelter is for day use only, and camping is not permitted). When the De Filippi Trail ends at a junction with a wide unmarked path (known as the Main Trail), turn right and follow the path back to the parking area where the hike began, passing a viewpoint over the pond on the way.