Welcome to a virtual tour of the Franklin Lakes Nature Preserve!
The preserve consists of the Haledon Reservoir and its watershed land which was purchased by the Borough of Franklin Lakes in 2006 from the Borough of Haledon for $6.5 million using funding from Green Acres and the Bergen County Open Space Fund. The preserve was open to the public in June of 2011.
The 75 acre Haledon Reservoir is the centerpiece of the Franklin Lakes Nature Preserve and is an extremely popular fishing spot. The reservoir, created from the impoundment of the Molly Ann Brook in 1919, provided water to Haledon, North Haledon and Prospect Park. The Molly Ann Brook is the last tributary of the Passaic River before the Great Falls in Paterson.
The Franklin Lakes Nature Preserve features 2 hiking trails. Access is available from Ewing Avenue, a small parking lot off of High Mountain Road and from nearby High Mountain Park Preserve’s Red Trail via Reservoir Drive and crossing High Mountain Road.
The main trail is the 1.5 mile white blazed Shoreline Loop Trail which encircles the entire Haledon Reservoir.
Starting from the parking area, the trail heads over the dam separating the Haledon Reservoir from the small pond to the south. The trail follows alongside the reservoir and near High Mountain Road and Ewing Avenue.
The western portion of the Island Bridges trail is accessible near where the Shoreline Loop Trail passes by Waterview Drive.
Beautiful views of the Haledon Reservoir with High Mountain visible can be seen from this area. After exploring the western section of the Island Bridges Trail (as of October 2012 the Island Bridge Trail is incomplete. Bridges are scheduled to be installed sometime in early 2013 which will connect the eastern and western sections of this trail for a total of about a half a mile in length) head back to the Shoreline Loop trail which will briefly exit the Franklin Lakes Nature Preserve near an outflow from a neighboring swamp.
Once the Shoreline Loop Trail enters back into the preserve, the trail crosses the Molly Ann Brook over a wooden bridge. Frogs can be heard (and sometimes seen) splashing into the water here during the warmer months.
From here, the Shoreline Loop Trail heads east near a church and near the High Mountain Golf Club which is visible through the trees.
Along the way, the trail comes across a basalt beach.
Basalt was formed when molten lava extruded out of the earth’s surface and cooled rapidly. Basalt is found in nearby High Mountain Park Preserve which is situated on the 2nd Watchung Mountain Range. Once pass the basalt beach, the trail turns south. The eastern section of the island bridges trail is accessible from this point.
After exploring the eastern section of the island bridges trail, head back to the Shoreline Loop trail and continue south until the trail terminates near a picnic area in a pine grove near where the trail began.
Flora found at the Franklin Lakes Nature Preserve includes the below among others:
Fauna that I’ve spotted at the Franklin Lakes Nature Preserve includes:
This preserve is a great place to explore and just relax. Directions are listed below (as taken from the NYNJ Trail Conference Website)
Take N.J. Route 208 to the Ewing Avenue exit in Franklin Lakes. Turn left at the end of the ramp (if coming from the west, turn right) and continue for about two miles until Ewing Avenue ends at High Mountain Road. Turn left onto High Mountain Road and continue past a lake and a smaller pond on the left. In 0.5 mile, at the end of the smaller pond, you will see a small brown sign for the Franklin Lakes Nature Preserve on the left. Turn left into a driveway, passing old reservoir buildings on the right, then turn left again at a sign for parking and continue to a parking area just below the dam.
Note: Part of the preserve, including the entrance and parking, is in North Haledon (Passaic County). The address for the preserve is 1196 High Mountain Road, North Haledon, N.J. 07508
Feel free to e-mail NJUrbanForest at NJUrbanForest@gmail.com with any comments, memories or suggestion! Thank you and have fun exploring!