WEIS ECOLOGY CENTER
150 Snake Den Road
Ringwood, NJ 07456
From the SOUTH via Garden State Parkway:
1. Take the Garden State Parkway North through the Essex toll
2. Take a left at exit 155P, which will put you on Route 19 North.
3. Follow this to Route 80 west. Take Route 80 west to Route 23 north.
4. After approximately 6-8 miles, turn right at the third Newark-Pompton
Turnpike exit (or ALT 511). This is the exit just after Circle Farms and
the Amoco station.
5. Continue to first traffic light and turn right onto Hamburg Turnpike.
At next traffic light turn left onto Ringwood Avenue or ALT 511.
6. After approximately 5 miles, turn left onto Westbrook Road. This is
the first left after the Skyline Restaurant on your right.
7. Westbrook Road forks: bear to the left. After the fork, take the second left turn onto Snake Den Road. Snake Den Road also forks: bear to the left. Look for the Weis Ecology Center sign and outer parking lot about 1/3 mile from this fork.
From the SOUTH via Route 287:
1. Take Route 287 North to exit 55 (Wanaque-Pompton Lakes).
2. Turn right at end of exit ramp, onto Route 511 north (a.k.a Ringwood Avenue).
3. Continue using directions #6 -- #7 above.
From the LINCOLN TUNNEL:
1. Take the Lincoln Tunnel to Route 3 West. Continue approximately 10
miles on Route 3 to Route 46 West. Take Route 46 West to Route 23 North.
2. Continue by using directions #4--#6 in the first set of directions.
From the GEORGE WASHINGTON BRIDGE:
1. Cross the G.W. Bridge to Route 4 West. Continue
miles on Route 4 West to Route 208 North.
2. After Rt. 208 North joins with Rt. 287 South (approximately 13
miles), take the Skyline Drive exit (Exit 57). At the end of the ramp,
turn right onto Skyline Drive and proceed over mountain to Ringwood.
3. At second stop sign, Skyline Drive ends. Turn left onto Route 511
South and continue approximately 1.7 miles to Westbrook Road. Turn Right
onto Westbrook Road.
4. Continue by using direction #7 above.
Center Hours: Wednesday through Sunday 8:30 - 4:30
Book Store Hours: Saturdays and Sundays -- call for hours.
The Center itself is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, offering restroom facilities, a gift and book shop, and information for all.
1765 -- Peter Hasenclever discovers and opens an iron ore mine known variously as the Blue, London, Iron Hill or Whynockie Mine. Hasenclever worked for the American or London Company. The ore was nine to sixteen feet wide.
the 1800s -- the Wyanokies were the scene of iron mining. Today the forge known as Freedom Furnace is under the waters of the Wanaque Reservoir. The woods around the area were logged for charcoal by the Ringwood Mining Company.
Early 19th century -- Blue Mine worked by Peter M. Ryerson; ore shipped to the Freedom Furnace in Midvale, NJ.
1840-1857 -- the Roomy Mine worked. Benjamin Roome was a 19th century land surveyor. The ore was four feet thick.
1855 -- the Blue Mine goes "out of blast," i.e. shut down.
1871-1872 -- Blue Mine reopened for two years.
1886 -- the Blue Mine reopened for a short period by the Whynockie Iron Company.
1890 -- the Blue Mine reopened by the Midvale Mining Company.
1905 -- the last mine in the area was shut down.
1913 -- the first trail here constructed. Dr. Will S. Monroe designed and complete most of the trails in the Wyanokies. He was a professor at the State Normal School in Montclair.
1974 -- Walter and May Weis purchased 160 acres of land in Ringwood, NJ, in order to realize their dream of preserving land for the purpose of environmental education. Thus, the Weis Ecology Center, a private, non-profit organization, was created to offer the public a unique opportunity to learn about the Northern New Jersey Highlands Region. Today the Weis Ecology Center educates over 12,000 people annually.
(Source: Lenik 1996:59-65)
Caution: Hikers should either purchase Trail Conference Map #21 or stop at the Weis Ecology Center/NJAS before attempting a hiking trip through this area.
Visitors to Weis can follow the well-marked trails to diverse location on our property, as well as in Norvin Green State Forest, which is located adjacent to the Center. For a camping adventure there are roomy campsites and quaint cabins available for rental at reasonable prices (advanced registration required).
Enjoy a scenic view of the Wanaque Reservoir at Wyanokie High Point. Visit our butterfly/songbird meadow. Sit by the flowing water of Chikahoki Falls. Come by and visit the Weis Ecology Center and revel in the beauty of the outdoors!
Some of their hikes are:
Blue Mine Walk -- easy
Pine Paddies Starter -- moderate (currently closed by local quarriers)
High Point Vista/Mine Loop -- moderate
Assiniwikam Sunworshipper -- moderate/strenuous
High Peaks Sampler crams the best views of Weis and Norvin Green into a challenging seven miles: pine paddies (currently close by local quarriers), Assiniwakam Mountain (currently closed by local quarriers), Boulder Dance, Wyanokie High Point and two old iron mines.
NJ Highlands Trail Circuit -- very strenuous. Follow NJ/NY's new bi-state
trail through the most remote and scenic sections of the park. You'll pass
Chickahoki Falls, Otter Hole Creek and find superior views atop Yoo Hoo Point
and Buck Mountain. A gorgeous hike through NJ black bear country. Stamina and
good woods sense required!
1025/02 Took the yellow trail (yellow dot on white circle background)/red trail (red dot on white circle background) near the main parking area outside of the Weis Ecology Center area. The trail starts out rather flat but as the yellow trail leaves the red trail it climbs up a ridge. From the top of the ridge one can see the mountain range to the west. There are a number of open pits once used for mining iron ore along the trail and then just as you descend off the yellow trail heading back toward its juncture with the red trail there are two mine openings visible. (Roomy Mine complex.) Nice treat!
Follow the yellow/red trail south to cross a stream on a relatively newly built wooden bridge. When the red and yellow trail parted company (the red heading west and the yellow heading north), I took the yellow trail that headed up just behind the mountain ridge. Heard some shotgun blasts really close by but did not see the shooter. There were yellow signs up saying no hunting along the trail.
Started descending off the ridge and joined with the blue trail. Took yellow/blue trail to where the two trail parted company and then took a right turn on the blue trail that followed a wide wagon road back towards the parking area. Came to the asphalt road that leads back to the parking area (red dot trail markers along the left side of the road for part of the way). Arrived back at the parking area. It took only about two hours for the trail walk and, as a botanist, I go slow.
To reach the Roomy Mine -- Take the yellow trail (Mine Trail)/red trail and pass by the first two times the yellow trail leaves the red trail. There is an unmarked trail going off to the left, an old narrow mine road; turn left on the path and go 600 feet up the road.
The Blue Mine is located farther south of the Roomy Mine. See Lenik's book for map and better directions.
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney, 10/25/02, * = plants found in bloom
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree-of-heaven)
Amelanchier arborea (shadbush)
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya tomentosa (mockernut hickory)
Castanea dentata (American chestnut)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juglans nigra (black walnut)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tuliptree)
Ostrya virginiana (eastern hop hornbeam)
Picea abies (Norway spruce)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)
Ulmus americana (American elm)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Clethra alnifolia (sweet pepperbush)
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive)
Epigaea repens (trailing arbutus)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Forsythia sp. (golden bells) (planted)
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) *
Hibiscus syriacus (rose-of-Sharon) (planted)
Ilex verticillata (winterberry holly)
Juniperus horizontalis (juniper)
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)
Philadelphus sp. (mock orange)
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Vaccinium sp. (a low bush type blueberry)
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum)
Amphicarpaea bracteata (hog peanut)
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vinca minor (periwinkle)
Vitis sp. (grape)
Acalypha sp. (three-seeded mercury)
Achillea millefolium (yarrow)
Agrimonia sp. (agrimony)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)
Antennaria sp. (pussytoes)
Apocynum sp. (dogbane)
Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Aster cordifolius (heart-leaved aster) *
Aster divaricatus (white wood aster) *
Collinsonia canadensis (horsebalm)
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace)
Epifagus virginiana (beech drops)
Erechtites hieraciifolia (pileweed)
Euthamia graminifolia (grass-leaved goldenrod)
Fragaria virginiana (strawberry)
Galium aparine (cleavers)
Geranium maculatum (wild geranium)
Hemerocallis fulva (tawny daylily)
Hieracium paniculatum (panicled hawkweed) *
Hieracium venosum (rattlesnake hawkweed)
Hydrangea sp. (hydrangea) (planted)
Impatiens sp. (jewelweed)
Lechea sp. (pinweed)
Lepidium virginicum (poor man's pepper)
Lespedeza sp. (bush clover)
Oxalis sp. (yellow wood sorrel)
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain)
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose smartweed) *
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed)
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil)
Prunella vulgaris (self-heal)
Rumex obtusifolius (broad dock)
Solidago bicolor (silverrod)
Solidago caesia (blue stem goldenrod) *
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion)
Tephrosia virginiana (goat's rue)
Trifolium pratense (red clover)
Verbena urticifolia (white vervain)
Veronica officinalis (common speedwell)
Juncus tenuis (path rush)
Carex laxiflora type (loose-flowered type sedge)
Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue grass)
Schizachyrium scoparium (little blue stem grass)
Setaria sp. (Green or yellow foxtail grass)
Tridens flavus (purple top grass)
Asplenium platyneuron (ebony spleenwort)
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (hay-scented fern)
Dryopteris marginalis (marginal woodfern)
Polypodium sp. (rock cap fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)
Polytrichum sp. (hair cap moss)
rock trip lichen