Mount Paul Road, Mendham and Chester Townships, Morris County, NJ
68 acres


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; drive l0.2 of a mile and turn right onto Hard Scrabble Road; 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. Drive 2.1 miles to a left turn onto Mount Paul Road.  

Heading south on Route 24 in Mendham turn left onto Mount Paul Road (across from the Westmont Montessori School) shortly after the second small bridge over tributaries of Burnett Brook (and south of the Cider Mill with its historical plaque); a very short drive brings you to the entrance of the park on the left.


c. 1950  --  property owned by Stirling Tomkins, a farmer. He tried growing many different crops, but finally settled on sustainable forestry as a staple. 

2000  -- The Township, under its open space acquisition program, acquired two tracts totaling 70 acres. A third 60-acre tract was placed in New Jersey’s farmland preservation program and sold to a private buyer.


There are two separated parcels of land here totaling 68 acres. 

At the parking area there is a one-mile loop trail providing an opportunity for short walks on easy trails through a wetland setting.  The trails begin and end at the parking area on Mount Paul Road. Two tributaries of Burnett Brook flow through the northern lowland parcel where there is a small pond. The trails cross a tributary of Burnett Brook and several seasonal streams on sturdy log bridges, loop around a scenic pond and amble through a densely wooded 46-acre wetland tract.

No parking at the southern parcel which is hardwood forest with a second one mile loop trail. (It is located on the right side of Mount Paul Road and reached via a short walk down that road.) There is a mine site here where shale was taken out for surfacing local roads.


The historic Ralston Cider Mill in the Ralston section of Mendham Township, Morris County, NJ (also known as “ Sammy’s Cider Mill”), is adjacent to Burnett Brook Natural Area and Patriots’ Path. The mill was originally known as the Nesbitt Mill, built in 1848 as a gristmill with four millstones, powered by a waterwheel in its basement. In 1908 it became the Tiger Cider Mill producing apple cider, but closed in the early 1930’s. The mill was purchased in 2003 the trustees of the Ralston Cider Mill Board of Trustees.

11/17/04.  Walking along the orange trail with the brook on the left and wetlands on the right.  One really good thing about this walk is that there are quite a few labels identify the different tree species and with both the common and scientific names.  Cross over a small bridge spanning the brook now with the stream on my right.  There are quite a few invasive species, especially multiflora rose, Japanese barberry and Asiatic bittersweet.  In most places other natural places they are cutting the Asiatic bittersweet vines and so I cut a few myself, at least those that were not too big for my shears.  And now the trail is between two streams, one on each side of the trail.  Cross the brook again via another bridge.  Reach the small pond.  The Orange Trail heads around the pond and then back to where it started its pond circuit.  There are lots of red cedar here.  The Orange Trail intersects with the Yellow Trail on the left hand side.  The Yellow Trail takes hikers to the road from where they can walk to the second part of the natural area.  I keep going on the Orange Trail.  Head through a red cedar forest.  The Orange Trail comes very close to the road.  The trail heads through wetlands with plenty of  boardwalk to help the hiker through the area.  Head across a giant reed grass marsh and then back to the parking area completing the loop.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney

 Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
* = blooming on date of field trip, 11/17/04.


Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Carya spp. (hickory)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus pensylvanica (green ash)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)  lots of it
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Nyssa sylvatica (tupelo)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus bicolor (swamp white oak)
Quercus coccinea (scarlet oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Ulmus sp. (elm)

Alnus serrulata (smooth alder)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Chimaphila maculata (striped wintergreen)
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood)
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose) lots of it
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum) lots of it

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

Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (ox-eye daisy) * one in bloom
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace)
Galium sp. (bedstraw)
Geum canadense (white avens)
Hesperis matronalis (dame's rocket)
Hieracium sp. (hawkweed)
Lysimachia nummularia (moneywort)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain)
Plantago major (common plantain)
Prunella vulgaris (self-heal)
Ranunculus ficaria (lesser celandine)
Ranunculus repens (creeping buttercup) ?
Trifolium spp. (clover)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Veronica officinalis (common speedwell)

Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Elymus hystrix (bottle-brush grass)
Elymus sp. (wild rye grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue grass)
Phleum pratense (Timothy grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)
Schizachyrium scoparium (little blue stem grass)
Tridens flavus (purple top grass)

Juncus effusus (soft rush)
Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Carex stricta (tussock sedge)
Scirpus atrovirens (dark-green bulrush)
Scirpus cyperinus (woolly grass bulrush)

Dryopteris sp. (wood fern)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)