Located an hour and a half outside of New York City, the Terrace Pond Loop offers an excellent challenge for any level of experience. The 4.7-mile trail goes through rocky terrain, and then opens up to the scenic views of Terrace Pond. All of the trails are well marked with blazes and maintained by the NY-NJ Trail Conference. The trails do connect to make a nice long day hike but also feature loops for a quick 4-hour hike. The Terrace Pond loop is located in the Bearfort Ridge and Wawayanda region of New Jersey and sits within the Wawayanda State Park.
What Makes It Great
The trail is packed with rock scrambles, views, and plenty of wildlife. From the Clinton Road Trailhead, following the blue blazes, the flat elevation quickly turns up the mountain past a powerline area. This first elevation gain is the steepest and can take the wind out of your chest, but it is the hardest of the inclines. The following miles are full of rock scrambles followed by flat terrain. You will find an excellent outcrop with panoramic views of Wawaylanda State Park to the right after an ascent. The Blue Trail continues until reaching the White Trail that loops around Terrace Pond. There are plenty of scenic spots to sit and relax around Terrace Pond.
In addition to the Blue and White Trails, the Yellow Trail can be introduced to add variation. The Blue Trail runs from the trailhead on Clinton Road to the Warwick Turnpike Trailhead (also known as Terrace Pond North) but does not loop back. The Yellow Trail (Terrace Pond South) will take you also from the Clinton Road Trailhead to a left onto the Red Trail, then onto the White Trail (Terrace Pond Circular). A common route from the Clinton Road Trailhead is to start on the yellow, then to the red, to the white loop, and finally come back to the trailhead with the blue trail.
Who is Going to Love It
Beginner hikers find a great challenge with Terrace Pond. Experienced hikers still get challenges with rock scrambles and a great day hike. Anyone looking for a morning hike or an all day hike can be satisfied with the Terrace Pond trails. It can be done solo (do the loop) or with a group (drop cars at both trailheads). (Terrace Pond provides a great trail for midsize to larger dogs. The rock scrambles would make it difficult for very small dogs, but carrying is always an option. Children have no problem on Terrace Pond trails. For those who are not in the greatest shape, starting on the yellow and ending with blue is advised.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From NYC, get on route 80 west from the George Washington Bridge. Take the exit on right for Route 23 North. Follow Route 23 until making a right turn on the Clinton Road exit. (Yes, Clinton Road is the most haunted road in all of New Jersey.) The trailhead parking is in a lot on the left side of the road while, the trailhead is across from the lot on the right. The trailhead lot is the second large parking lot you will see.
Note that even though swimmers can be seen cooling off in Terrace Pond, swimming is prohibited and can be ticketed. Cliff jumpers can also be seen on the west side of terrace pond circular (the White Trail) but cliff jumping is prohibited because it involves swimming.