Old Mill Road, Mendham Township, Morris County, NJ
US 80 west to Exit 42 for US 287 south; get off at Exit 30B; merge right onto Childs Road; keep heading straight through the traffic light; shortly on the right bear right as Hard Scrabble Road bears off to the right; at the T-intersection turn left onto Cory Lane, almost immediately make a right onto Talmadge Road; drive 1.3 miles and at the T-intersection turn right onto Hilltop Road; at the traffic light turn left onto Route 24 heading south; shortly after passing over the bridge crossing Burnett Brook, turn right onto Old Mill Road; drive 1.2 miles. The park entrance is on the left side of the road.
1930s -- two different summer camps were located here. At the kiosk they have a picture of two guys on horseback (looking like two cowboy "dudes") by the sign for the park: "Nature Loverís Club; Ralston, New Jersey".
1970 -- the area was purchased by the town.
The chimney by the parking lot was part of the large meeting house here. Remains of cottages are found throughout the property. On the property was a swimming pool (now filled in by the town) fed by Burnett Brook through a system of pipes leading from tributaries of the North Branch of the Raritan River. A privately owed home next to the entrance served as a lodge for the camps.
White trail: 1.25 mile loop around the perimeter of the park. There are two different starting points for the trail: by the post below the parking lot and by the post at the small field to the right of the park sign (this second route avoids a steep uphill climb). The trail follows a woods road used by the water system for the pool.
The yellow trail is a short side trail connecting to the white trail at the top of the hill, which is accessed by the remains of an asphalt road.
11/08/04. I parked by the park sign near the entrance. I could see the starting trail marker to the right (a stake with a long piece of white tape wrapped around near the top). The trail was rough at the start. There are a lot of multiflora rose plants along with lots of Asiatic bitter sweet vine intertwined around the trees. I started trimming the bushes and snipping the vines to make it easier to pass for those who might follow after me. Come to a house and make a left turn. I pass the yellow-blazed trail on the left. Find myself on top of a hill cliff looking down. Below the hill is Burnett Brook. Here there are a lot of beech trees. I start descending down a steep slope. The path gets very rocky confirming that yes this is the highlands. The path goes down to Burnett Brook and then along it for a while. The trail is taking me around a hill on my left. Turn left and head uphill on an old road. I see a house down the hill on the right by the stream. It even has a tennis court. Pass some concrete remains set into the side of the hill a bit; walk through a Norway Spruce grove; come out onto the park lawns; I can see my car up the hill to the left. I pass other remains of the former camp buildings and a kiosk with park info and return to the car. Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
* = plant found in bloom on date of field trip, 11/08/04
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree-of-heaven)
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Picea abies (Norway spruce)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Chimaphila maculata (striped wintergreen)
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) *
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp. (black berry)
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis sp. (grape)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Epifagus virginiana (beech drops)
Eupatorium rugosum (white snakeroot)
Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipe)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain)
Plantago major (common plantain)
Carex laxiflora type (loose-flowered sedge type)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Tridens flavus (purple top grass)
Ferns and fern allies:
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)