SAXTON FALLS
US Route 604

Warren County, NJ


Directions:

US Route 80 west to Exit 25; turn at the first right onto the exit for the International Trade Center; drive .7 of a mile and turn right onto Continental Drive North; drive 1.1 miles and turn left onto Route 604 south; drive 4.2 miles and turn left into Saxton Falls parking area.


Geology:

The Musconetcong River Valley narrows to less than one-eighth of a mile at Saxton Falls, south of which its opens back up, this time to one to two miles.  (Wacker 1968:4)


History:

By Saxon Falls the lock lifted the boats to higher ground on the North Side of the road. This is Guard Lock 5.

A dam was erected here in 1830 as a feeder for the 30.6 miles stretch from here to the Delaware River (Phillipsburg). An average of 34.17 cubic feet per second of water was drawn from storage in Lake Hopatcong, Cranberry Lake, and Bear Pond. The property and 3.33 miles of right away was bought from Nathaniel Saxton.

A new dam was erected here in 1927 under Governor A. Harry Moore. The President of the corporation was Howard F. McConnell.


Trails:

10/25/00 Michael St. John and I took a walk north along the Musconetcong River from Saxton Falls. We passed a boarded up house by the river with "The Brackmanns" printed on it.
Walking along the river we noticed that there must have been a cutting crew that had recently came through the area. As usual with cutting crews, they had no concern about botany or vegetation and indiscriminately cut everything down, including beautiful Iris species and swamp rose.

We could not walk very far (maybe 15 minutes) because there was a big water-filled gap in the causeway connecting the river with the former canal bed. There is a nearby house and they had an illegal wire fence blocking off foot traffic from access to the river. When the cutting crew came through they probably threw the fence aside. We speculated that to get even with the cutting crews, the house owners removed the board that undoubtedly was here and that once spanned the water-filled gap in the causeway. We thought the house-owners probably threw the board into the river. We had a laugh-filled lunch by the dam at Saxton Falls, because there in the water, caught on the rocks below the falls, was the board (with the anchoring bolt still attached) that the angry home-owners probably threw into the river. We speculated that this type of vandalism was probably self-defeating because it will cause hikers to delay around the water gap while figuring out how to get over the gap, thereby spending more time around the house property.

Brian Morrell has a website on the Morris Canal Trail and he says that you can take the Saxon Falls Mine Trail. By Saxon Falls the lock lifted the boats to higher ground on the North Side of the road.

Following the towpath east, you can cross over the canal by using a tree as a "natural bridge" . Climbing to the top, you can see a number of mine shafts. One was over 35 feet deep and 15 feet across.

The Highlands Trail route will proceed from Route 15 to the Sussex Branch Trail, which it will follow to Allamuchy State Park. From Allamuchy State Park, two potential routes diverge. The Hunterdon Highlands route heads south through Saxton Falls to Schooley's Mountain, which it follows to Voorhees State Park and Spruce Run Reservoir. From there it follows Musconetcong Mountain to the Delaware River near Riegelsville. The Warren Highlands route heads west to Jenny Jump Mountain, which it follows south to Buttzville and Oxford Furnace. Then it picks up Scotts Mountain and Marble Mountain to complete the trip to the Delaware River at Phillipsburg.


PLANT LIST:
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney/Michael St. John
Includes Saxton Falls and stops at Lock 4 and Morris Canal Trail


Trees:
Acer platanoides (Norway maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharinum (silver maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)
Betula papyrifera (paper birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya cordiformis (bitternut hickory)
Carya tomentosa (mockernut hickory)
Catalpa speciosa (northern catalpa)
Celtis occidentalis (hackberry)
Cornus florida (gray dogwood)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Gleditsia triacanthos (honey locust)
Morus alba (white mulberry)
Paulownia tomentosa (empress tree)
Picea abies (Norway spruce)
Picea pungens (blue spruce) planted
Pinus sp. (weeping pine)
Platanus occidentalis (sycamore)
Populus (Lombardy poplar)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)
Salix nigra (black willow)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Taxus baccata (yew)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Ulmus americana (American elm)

Shrubs:
Alnus serrulata (smooth alder)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Cephalanthus occidentalis (buttonbush)
Chimaphila maculata (spotted wintergreen)
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood)
Decodon verticillata (swamp loosestrife)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Hibiscus syriacus (rose of Sharon)
Ilex verticillata (winterberry holly)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Ribes sativum (garden red currant)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rosa palustris (swamp rose)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Staphylea trifolia (bladdernut)
Viburnum dentatum (arrowwood)
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum)

Vines:
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Clematis terniflora (yam-leaved clematis)
Coronilla varia (crown vetch)
Dioscorea villosa (underneath many veined 10 or so
Hedera helix (English ivy) 10/25/00
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Menispermum canadense (Canada moonseed)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis spp. (grape)

Herbs:
Acalypha sp. (three-seeded mercury)
Achillea millefolium (yarrow)
Allium petiolata (garlic mustard)
Anemone virginiana (thimbleweed)
Anthriscus sylvestris (wild chervil)?
Apocynum sp. (dogbane)
Arabis canadensis (sicklepod)
Arctium sp. (burdock)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Aster acuminatus (sharp-leaved aster) 10/25/00
Aster cordifolius (heart-leaved aster) 10/25/00
Aster pilosus (heath aster) 10/25/00
Centaurea maculata (spotted knapweed) 10/25/00 a couple
Chelone sp. (turtlehead)
Chenopodium album (pigweed)
Circaea lutetiana (enchanter's nightshade)
Cirsium arvense (Canada thistle)
Cirsium vulgare (bull thistle)
Conyza canadensis (horseweed)
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace) 10/25/00
Desmodium sp. (tick trefoil)
Dianthus armeria (Deptford pink) 10/25/00
Dipsacus sylvestris (teasel)
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive)
Erechtites hieraciifolia (pileweed)
Erigeron annuus (daisy fleabane) 10/25/00
Eupatorium rugosum (white snakeroot)
Fragaria virginiana (common strawberry)
Galium trifolium (sweet-scented bedstraw)
Geum canadense (white avens)
Gnaphalium obtusifolium (sweet everlasting) 10/25/00
Hackelia virginiana (Virginia stickseed)
Hemerocallis fulva (tawny day lily)
Impatiens capensis (jewelweed)
Lactuca canadensis (wild lettuce)
Lathyrus latifolius (everlasting pea) 10/25/00 one
Lepidium virginicum (poor man's pepper)
Linaria vulgaris (butter and eggs)
Lycopus sp. (bugleweed)
Lysimachia nummularia (moneywort)
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife)
Melilotus alba (white sweet clover) 10/25/00
Nuphar variegata (spatterdock) probably
Nymphaea sp. (water lily)
Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose) 10/25/00
Oxalis stricta (yellow wood sorrel) 10/25/00 one
Peltandra virginica (arrow arum)
Physalis sp. (ground cherry)
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose smartweed) 10/25/00
Polygonum lapathifolium (nodding smartweed)
Polygonum punctatum (spotted smartweed)
Polygonum scandens (climbing false hempweed)
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed)
Prunella vulgaris (self-heal)
Rumex crispus (curled dock)
Rumex obtusifolius (broad-leaved dock)
Sagittaria sp. (arrowhead)
Sanicula sp. (sanicle)
Saponaria officinalis (soapwort)
Saururus cernuus (lizard's tail)
Senecio sp. (ragwort)
Silene vulgaris (bladder campion)
Solidago caesia (blue stem goldenrod) 10/25/00
Solidago canadensis var. canadensis (Canada goldenrod)
Solidago rugosa (rough-stemmed goldenrod) 10/25/00
Sonchus asper (spiny-leaved sowthistle) 10/25/00
Spirodela polyrhiza (greater duckweed)
Thalictrum pubescens (tall meadowrue)
Trifolium hybridum (alsike clover)
Trifolium pratense (red clover) 10/25/00 one
Trifolium repens (white clover) 10/25/00
Tussilago farfara (coltsfoot)
Typhus latifolia (broad-leaved cattail)
Vallisneria americana (water celery)?
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Verbena urticifolia (white vervain)

Rushes and Sedges:
Carex laxiflora type (sedge)
Cyperus strigosus (umbrella sedge)
Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Grasses:
Bromus inermis (smooth brome grass)
Eleusine indica (zipper grass)
Elodea sp.? (waterweed)
Elymus sp. (wild rye grass)
Eragrostis cilianensis (stinkweed)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue panic grass)
Panicum dichotomiflorum (panic grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reedgrass)
Poa annua (annual bluegrass)
Setaria faberi (nodding foxtail grass)
Setaria glauca (yellow foxtail grass)
Setaria viridis (green foxtail grass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Athyrium filix-femina (lady fern)
Botrychium dissectum (cut-leaved grape fern)
Dryopteris marginalis (marginal woodfern)
Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)
Equisetum hyemale (horsetail)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)
Thelypteris palustris (marsh fern)