EVANS FAMILY FOREST PRESERVE
Willow Drive, Chester Township, Morris County, NJ
The Trailhead is located at the end of Willow Drive where parking area is
or at the Trailhead on South Road (off North Road) where there is room for about 3 cars.
US 80 west to Exit 43 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 Hard Scrabble Road bears off to the right; at the T-intersection with Cory Lane, turn left; almost immediately make a right onto Talmadge Road. Drive 1.3 miles and at the T-intersection turn right onto Hilltop Road; at the light turn left onto Route 24. From Jane Terrace on the left (across from the Ralston Recreation Area) it is 2.7 miles to a right turn onto Chestnut Drive. Take the first right onto Willow Drive. Drive 0.8 of a mile to the end of Willow Drive. Park
1999 (December) -- the property was purchased with a combination of funds from the Morris County Open Space Trust Fund, a Green Acres Grant from the State of New Jersey and funds from the Chester Township Open Space Trust Fund.
woods primarily; Ayers Brook (a Trout-Production Stream).
Scout camping area.
The Evans Family Forest Preserve is adjacent to the Telcordia property; across North Road are the Black River fields and the Black River Wildlife Preserve.
Seven miles of marked trails, including an interpretive nature trail.
The website for Chester Township, NJ has a complete description of the trails, presented below:
Saw Mill Trail (Silver) 1.5 miles - The Saw Mill Trail begins at the parking area on Willow Drive. At a junction approximately 100 yards from the parking area, the Saw Mill Trail turns right uphill where the blue blazed Horton Trail heads downhill to the left. After heading uphill about .1 mi. the trail turns sharply left and follows a ridgeline to the highest point in the park at approx. .3 mi. where the yellow blazed Wycoff Trail starts and descends to the left. From here the trail descends steeply to the remains of an old dam which once created the pond that powered a saw mill. The trail turns left to follow the crest of the dam to Ayers Brook where the trail turns sharply right and follows the brook for approx. .1 mi.. After a small stream crossing the trail goes sharply left to cross Ayers Brook over a crossing constructed from logs. The trail then turns sharply right and follows the path of an old millrace for about 50 yards before turning sharply left, where the white blazed Evans Trail terminates. The trail continues through the woods reaching the junction with the red blazed Ayers Brook Trail in about .1 mi.. The trail then steeply ascends a hill to its terminus at the second junction with the white blazed Evans Trail.
Ayers Brook Trail (Red) 1.5 miles - The Ayers Brook Trail starts at a bridge on South Road where there is room to park three cars. The trail enters the woods and parallels Ayers Brook for about .2 mi. where the trail turns left to join an old woods road, which the trail then follows to the right. After approx. .3 mi., the trailhead for the white blazed Evans rail is reached. The Ayers Brook trail bears to the right at this junction and descends to a junction with the yellow blazed Wycoff Trial. The trail then follows an old woods road which parallels Ayers Brook for about .3 mi. where the remains of the road terminate. The trail then enters the woods. The remains of the old millrace and Ayers Brook can be seen off to the right. After approx. .3 mi. the junction with the green blazed Saw Mill Trail is reached. About .2 mi. after passing the junction, the trail again follows the remains of an old road for about .2 mi. to its terminus at the junction with the white blazed Evans Trail.
Wycoff Trail (Yellow) 2.0 miles - The Wycoff Trail begins at the highest point in the park at a junction with the green blazed Saw Mill Trail. The trail descends steeply, crossing the blue blazed Horton Trail at .2 mi. and continuing down to a stream crossing at .3 mi.. The trail then turns left and ascends steeply for about .3 mi. where the trail turns sharply right at the crest of the hill. The trail continues through the woods and crosses a small stream where the remains of an old woods road are reached. The trail follows this road for about .3 mi. and enters a large open field. The trail follows the edge of the field about .1 mi. before turning sharply right onto an old road that descends to a crossing of Ayers Brook and a junction with the red blazed Ayers Brook Trail. The trail then ascends steeply about .2 mi. to its terminus at a junction with the white blazed Evans Trail.
Horton Trail (Blue) 0.5 miles - The Horton Trail starts about 100 yards from the parking area on Willow Drive. After following the green blazes from the parking area to the T-junction, the Horton Trail begins to the left descending on an old woods road. At about .2 mi a junction with the yellow blazed Wycoff Trail is reached. The trail continues downhill another .2 mi. to a stream crossing. The trail then continues along the road another .1 mi. to its terminus at its second junction with the yellow blazed Wycoff Trail.
Evans Trail (White) 1.5 miles - The Evans Trail begins at a junction with the red blazed Ayers Brook Trail approximately .5 mi. west of the trailhead on South Road. Where the Ayers Brook Trail bears right, the Evans Trail follows the old woods road ascending straight ahead. The trail follows the park perimeter reaching first the junction with the yellow blazed Wycoff Trail (.2 mi.) then the green blazed Saw Mill Trail (.6 mi.). The remains of the road become indistinct and the trail continues through the woods reaching an old stone wall, which marks the park boundary. The trail turns sharply right and heads downhill passing the terminus of the red blazed Ayers Brook Trail and continues downhill to Ayers Brook. The trail then turns sharply right to follow the brook and runs alongside a massive stone wall built along the banks of the stream. The trail continues along the stream to its terminus at the second junction with the green blazed Saw Mill Trail.
11/15/04. Arrive very early in the morning, 6:20 or so. It is cold, especially with the wind. Walk to the kiosk and take a look at the trail map. I see where the blue trail goes to the parking lot on the other side of the Preserve and decide to take it. The path here is an old road that is pretty easy to follow. Pass the yellow trail on the left. The trail descends downhill to a stream. Cross the flat wooden bridge over the stream. There is a hill on the left covered with Christmas fern. Right turn for the blue trail, while the yellow trail goes straight heading around the hill.
Cross over a small stream then head off to the left following signs for the blue trail. At this point the blue trail was hard to follow as it made its way through the woods on trails rather than on wide roads. Maybe the path is easy to follow during the spring and summer, but in late fall it is not. I kept losing the trail. And it doesn't help when a fallen tree blocks the way. The trail maker did not follow the advice that the hiker should be able to see the next trail marker from where he/she stands at the last one.
The blue trail works its way along the stream and then over to a fenced in area (a Native Plant Restoration Area). The trail follows along the fence and then turns left to head along the stream. The trail comes out at South Road by the road bridge over the stream. The parking lot is just a little farther up the road. The red trail starts here.
I turned around to head back. I had more luck this time following the blue trail since I knew where it was going.
Almost back at the parking area at the end of Willow Drive, I decided to turn left and walk up the hill to see if there was a good view from there. All I saw was other big hills. Turned around and walked back to the car. Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Carya sp. (hickory)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus sp. (ash)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Picea abies (Norway spruce)
Populus grandidentata (big-toothed aspen)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Chimaphila maculata (striped wintergreen)
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive)
Ilex verticillata (winterberry) ?
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum)
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Smilax sp. (greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis sp. (grape)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Epilobium sp. (willow herb)
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Juncus effusus (soft rush)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Setaria faberi (nodding foxtail grass)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)