Monday, August 11, 2014

Places in Essex County: West Essex Trail

One could easily say that the West Essex Trail, which connects the townships of Verona and Cedar Grove in Essex County with Little Falls in Passaic County, is hidden in plain sight. Although it has been open to walkers and bikers for over 20 years, there is little signage on or near the three mile long trail. 

The West Essex Trail is the only rail-trail in Essex and Passaic Counties, and is a county park on the Essex side. The trail was once the Caldwell Branch of the Erie-Lackawanna Railroad, which ran between Essex Fells and Jersey City. Mile markers to Jersey City still dot the trail. 

The West Essex Trail begins on Fairview Avenue in the Township of Verona, and ends at the Montclair-Boonton Line train tracks in Little Falls. The trail passes by the abandoned Essex County Hospital Center in Cedar Grove, in addition to crossing over Route 23 and the Peckman River.

Access points:
-Fairview Avenue in Verona between Sampson Drive and Durrell Street
-Durrell Street in Verona between Fairview and Grove Avenues
-Valley View Road in Verona (Dead End Street)
-Keeney Street in Cedar Grove off of Grove Avenue
-Route 23/Pompton Avenue in Cedar Grove between Grove and Myrtle Avenues (Stairwell connects trail to street level)
-Slattery Drive in Cedar Grove (Walkway connects trail to pool parking lot)
-Bowdon Road in Cedar Grove between Lakewood Avenue and Highview Terrace
-Francisco Avenue/Route 612 in Little Falls between Tivoli Court and Houston Road

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