Morris Trails Partnership
[Is there a Facebook page or group for this Chapter?]
This park includes both developed and natural areas, with developed areas generally in the northeast portion. The developed areas include several parking lots, a swimming/boating lake, softball fields, dog park, fitness stations, horseshoe pits, picnic facilities, a playground and some trails designated for foot travel only. The remaining park retains its natural state with an extensive and well maintained system of trails, a few fire access roads, and a group camping area. These trails are open to mountain bikes, horses and hikers, with a few exceptions (see Official Map). A portion of the park is north of County Highway 510 and encompasses a short stretch of the Whippany River; total acreage at present is 1,154 acres; trails permitting mountain bikes 10+ miles.
Lewis Morris Park is a good place to develop riding skills. Suitable for intermediate and beginning riders, the trails are generally fairly smooth but challenging enough to keep you on your toes. There are some stretches of technical roots or rocks but the main challenge lies in the gradient. Overall elevation gain is around 300 feet from Sunrise Lake to the top of the Yellow Trail, with ups and downs between, some of them steep. Single track trails are wonderfully flowy and great fun, one of the great things about Lewis Morris is that you don’t need a squishie to enjoy the place. General layout is a perimeter loop (Yellow Trail) with a series of connecting trails of various difficulties circumscribed therein. See map link below for downloadable .pdf
The Paulinskill Valley Trail and the Sussex Branch Trail are former railroads that have been converted for use as multiple use trails. Both railroads were critical to the development of Sussex County through the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. The wide cinder surface is ideal for walking, running, mountain biking, and horseback riding. When snow conditions are abundant, these trails provide and excellent opportunity for cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. You might even see a musher and his dogsled team running down the trail!
Manny’s review of the park over at VideoTrailReviews.com.
Lewis Morris can have a fairly large number of hikers on weekends and holidays, additionally the trails wind a great deal through heavy shrubbery and undergrowth resulting in very limited sight lines. Be ready to stop on very short notice for horses, hikers or bikes; remember the IMBA Rules of Etiquette and Share the Trail.
- Yellow – The Yellow Trail is the main loop, essentially following the perimeter of the riding area: a mix of single track, dual track and fire road. This trail has only a few technical stretches combined with some good climbing. The trail surface itself is fairly smooth, but there are only a couple flat stretches. You’ll find racers often training here – riders should either be or want to be in good shape.
- Orange(1) – This northern most crossover trail is probably the toughest: all single track. It has some very rooty sections, some rocky and loose sections, and a couple brutally steep sections. There are places you really do not want to crash. Requires good technique and stamina, or a willingness to walk.
- Orange(2) – This is a short crossover, half very fun flowy singletrack and half loose gravel/rocks; a good way to avoid riding on the Yellow Trail’s steep road stretch when combined with the Red and Orange(3) Trails.
- Orange(3) – A crossover, wide single track with a fair amount of small rock, some of it loose. One fairly steep grade with loose rock. Good way to avoid having to ride the major pitch on the fire road when combined with the Red and Orange(2) Trails.
- Red – This comprises a minor loop at the south end of the bigger Yellow loop . It’s a mixture of very nice single track, some gravely dual track, and the fire road. Maintaining momentum on the gravely uphill sections can be challenging. Good for avoiding the major fire road pitch.
- Green – This is a short extremely rooty trail along a creek bed. Great place to get an idea of just how much of a tree is hidden under ground. Squishie recommended.
- Teal – This is a short connecting trail of dual track on loose rock and gravel, generally following a ridge line upward towards the upper part of the park.
- White – This trail is part of the extensive Patriots Path Trail of Morris County and connects with several other parks and trails; it will eventually permit travel throughout the county unencumbered with automotive traffic. The White Trail is north of Route 510 and follows the Whippany River east or west. Within Lewis Morris Park this trail is single track, dual track, and mostly smooth, suitable for novice riders and up. Once beyond park boundaries there are some more difficult sections and some paved, cruiser sections, with one large hill on the way to Morristown.