Loantaka Brook Reservation has a multi-use trail system, intertwining eight miles of paved bike and gravel, horse-accessible walking trail. The waterside pathway connects four sections: Seaton Hackney Stables and South Street Recreation Area in Morristown to the quiet, wooded Kitchell Road section in Convention Station to Loantaka Way on Green Village Road in Chatham Township.
The start: Seaton Hackney Stables
This Morris County equestrian center offers cross-country clinics, side-saddle lessons, private lessons, summer, fall and winter camps for budding equestrians, a troop program, and a show team for experts.
440 South Street
info at seatonhackney.com
Second section: South Street Recreation Area
Softball and soccer fields, a playground, picnic areas, grills and restrooms provide basic trailhead amenities for the start (or end) of a long hike or bike ride. Little kids can burn off some energy before having to get into the baby jogger, stroller or Burley bike trailer.
The yellow blaze trail loops toward Woodland Avenue, then connects to the blue blaze trail at Kitchell Road.
As the blue trail leaves the South Street Recreation Area, it follows Loantaka Brook to Kitchel Lake at Loantaka Brook Park. Many day users simply part at Loantaka Brook Pond Parking on Kitchell Road in Convent Station
. More ambitious walkers and cyclists can continue on into a beautiful, forested respite, heading southeast through Harding into Chatham Township on the Loantaka Way Trail.
End: Loantaka Way Trail
The Loantaka Way Trail traces a brook through the Helen Hartley Jenkins Woods in Chatham Township. Named for the aunt of Great Swamp benefactor and Remington Arms Company owner, Marcellus Hartley Dodge, Sr., this quiet, little grove contains the most rural stretch of the Loantaka Brook Reservation. Be on the lookout for wildflowers in spring and summer; migratory birds from early spring until late fall.
Follow the red blaze trail to Green Village Road in Chatham Township. The end of the Loantaka Way Trail spits hikers and cyclists out behind Drew University and near Fairmont Country Club.
It is also within walking and biking distance to the Great Swamp, making it possible to extend a day trip into New Jersey's most famous birding destination. There are ongoing discussions about connecting Loantaka Way Trail to the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.
Things to know before you go:
Don't cycling on the gravel path
Parking is available on South Street, Morristown; Kitchell Road, Convent Station
; off Spring Valley Road in Morristown; Green Village Road, Chatham Township.
Water fountains run during summer months only.
Food and water are best purchased on South Street, or near the Green Village Road exit in downtown Madison.
If a horse is on path, stop and let it pass.