Scherman-Hoffman Audubon Sanctuary
Hard Scrabble Road, Bernardsville, Somerset County, NJ
260 acres


Near Bernardsville, NJ. Take I-80 to Exit 43. Take I-287 south, toward Morristown, for 11.8 miles to Exit 26B for Bernardsville. Travel north on Childs Road. 9.5 mile; bear right on Hardscrabble Road. Sanctuary parking is one mile on right.

It is bounded by Morristown National Historical Park. Trails lead from the sanctuary to this historic park.


southeastern corner of the highlands. This area is south of the area that was covered by the most recent glacial advance. There are not the ice-polished outcrops seen in the Ramapo Mountains to the north. The soil along the ridge here is deeper, not having been scraped away by the glacier.

As the trail approaches the ridgetop, one encounters boulders of granite bedrock strewn over the ground. The igneous rock is probably one billion years old and forms the backbone of the NJ Highlands, part of a spur of mountains -- the Reading Prong -- that runs from Vermont down to PA. These are the oldest exposed rocks in the eastern US. Erratics here also.


1929  --  the two-story Hoffman house built (now housing offices, museum, bookstore, and program rooms).

Donated by Mrs. and Mrs. Harry Scherman (1965) and Frederick Hoffman (1973,1975).

2002 (May)  --the Harding Land Trust, TPL's New Jersey Advisory Council, and staff from TPL and the New Jersey Audubon Society celebrated the protection of an 11-acre property in Harding Township known as the Post House Woods.  

TPL got funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Johanette Wallerstein Institute, Harding Township, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Green Acres Program, and the NJ Audubon Society. Kelly Shelsky and Cathy Moore, residents on Post House Road, led the community efforts to protect Post House Woods and raised additional funds for the project.


You can take a trail that will connect with the Patriots' Path and Washington's encampment area in Morristown National Historic Park.

There is a 0.5 mile self-guided nature trail.

Audubon guide:

Across Hardscrabble Road from the parking lot is the floodplain of Indian Grave Brook, which features a short guided nature trail about half a mile long.

From parking area red-blazed Dogwood Trail. Rise over rocky terrain through a late-succession forest of mixed oaks and hickory. Dogwood Trail descends toward Passaic River. Bear left where the trail bends to the right. Explore the river's floodplain. Here a climax forest of yellow birch and beech has developed.

Retrace your steps to the Dogwood Trail and continue on it as it moves out into the open. Hoffman's Fields represent early succession on an open field. The rare wood turtle, which is actually quite common in the sanctuary, can be seen in May, when it comes into the meadows to lay eggs.

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
date = blooming on the date of field stop, 11/08/04 (there was also another visit many years earlier)

Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Picea abies (Norway spruce)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)

Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Chimaphila maculata (striped wintergreen)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) 11/08/04
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Vaccinium pallidum (hillside blueberry)

Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis sp. (grape)

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed)
Aster sp. (aster)
Cimicifuga racemosa (black snakeroot)
Goodyera pubescens (downy rattlesnake plantain)
Monarda fistulosa (bergamot)
Orchis spectabilis (showy orchis)
Panax trifolius (dwarf ginseng)
Ranunculus repens (creeping buttercup)
Solidago sp. (goldenrod)
Thalictrum pubescens (tall meadowrue)
Viola spp. (violets)

Carex laxiflora type (loose-flowered type sedge)

Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue grass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)