Welcome to the 11.5 acre Yantacaw Brook Park! The park (once part of the former site of the Upper Montclair Country Club) is located in Montclair, New Jersey and provides much needed open space and wildlife habitat.
The park is managed by both Montclair and the Yantacaw Brook Conservancy.
Yantacaw Brook flows into the park from the north through remnant deciduous wooded wetlands and is dammed to form a small pond. From the pond the brook exits the park southeast and meets the Third River which is a tributary to the Passaic River.
A portion of the Essex County’s 36 mile Lenape Trail traverses the park on its eastern border.
Click Here for a full description of the Lenape Trail –>LenapeTrailGuide_Dec2019
Welcome! I’m glad you can join me as we traverse the wilds of Montclair, New Jersey’s Yantacaw Brook Park! Here we are starting north of the main section of the park with Yantacaw Brook Road to our left and Yantacaw Brook and its wetlands to our right.
Yantacaw Brook Park is like a mini arboretum (a museum of trees). There are so many species!
We will talk about some as we meander along the path.
Below is just a small list of some of the trees found in Yantacaw Brook Park:
- Northern Red Oak (NJ’s State Tree!)
- Sugar Maple
- River Birch
- Tulip Tree (NJ’s tallest native tree! The Redwoods of the east 🙂 )
Let’s begin our virtual walk! Take a look at this tree with the star shaped leaves. It’s an American Sweetgum Tree! The fruit is a green spike ball that turns brown with age. Ten different species of caterpillars are dependent on the Sweetgum tree.
We see a Red Maple Tree growing near Yantacaw Brook as we continue south to the heart of the park. Red Maple is one of the most common and widespread native trees on the eastern coast in the mid-Atlantic region.
We have now come to an intersection and we need to cross Club Road to continue to the heart of Yantacaw Brook Park.
We see two trees guarding the entrance like sentinels. The first one straight ahead is a massive Willow Oak. Willow Oak reaches its northern natural limit here in New Jersey. It is a popular urban tree as it is frequently planted as a street tree due to its tolerance of pollution and compact soil.
Speaking of urban trees, the second tree to our left is a decent size London Plane Tree.
The leaf of this tree is the symbol of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. This tree is an extremely common one planted in urban/suburban parks and streets.
The London Plane tree is a hybrid between the American Sycamore and the Asiatic Sycamore. The bark of a London Plane Tree is usually more olive-green than the native American Sycamore. The leaves of the London Plane tree are usually smaller than the American Sycamore as well.
Let’s head on in! This path is nice and wide and makes for very easy walking. I hope you are enjoying yourself!
We have come to an intersection. The path follows a loop around the pond so we will go straight and come back later on the path crossing the bridge to the right.
Before we go any further let’s take a closer look at Yantacaw Brook. The brook is rated by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection as FW2-NT. This basically means that this is a fresh water stream that is non-trout producing.
Click here to read more about water classification here in New Jersey –> factsheet1
As we look at the brook we notice a Mallard couple making their way to the pond. Mallards are probably the most common duck that people see so I would have been surprised if we didn’t see any here!
Here we see a beautiful Weeping Willow Tree on the western shore of the pond. Weeping Willows have always been one of my favorite trees. Most Weeping Willows are actually hybrids of the White Willow (a European tree).
We’ve arrived at the center piece of the park. Let’s take a moment and take in the beautiful surroundings of the pond.
Ready? Let’s continue our trek as we start to turn east around the pond.
Here we have come to a small bridge which crosses near the outflow of the Yantacaw Park Brook Park pond dam. We have deviated slightly from the path that surrounds the pond but that’s ok. It’s worth it to take a look at a dam!
Here we see the outflow and the continuation of Yantacaw Brook on its way to meet the Third River and ultimately the Passaic River. Let’s turn back. If we continue we will exit the park at Glenside Terrace.
As we round the bend on the east side of the pond we see a flowering tree up ahead. It’s a Kousa Dogwood, native to Asia. It is a very distant relative of the Flowering Dogwood, a native species here in New Jersey.
The bridge I talked about earlier is straight ahead. We will take a left and head north back to our cars.
Thank you for joining me today on our virtual walk! If you are not yet tired you can explore the nearby Essex County Brookdale Park which is located a block away to the south!
Yantacaw Brook Park is located at 30 Club Drive Montclair, NJ. Parking is available along Yantacaw Brook Road.
- Identifying Trees of the East: An All-Season Guide to Eastern North America
- A Field Guide to Eastern Trees: Eastern United States and Canada, Including the Midwest (Peterson Field Guides)
- Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: Eastern Region