30-mile Bike Tour

2009 Bike Tour Logo

This delightful tour around the Great Swamp Watershed passes through seven of the ten towns that comprise Great Swamp (Basking Ridge, Long Hill Township, Harding Township, Morris Township, Morristown, Madison Borough, & Chatham Township). It travels through predominantly rural roads with scenic vistas, and passes many other environmental organizations that make up the backbone of conservation in the area. There are a variety of places for restroom and other stops along the way. Points of interest are marked, and clicking on the pictures will take you to more information about the specific organizations, including maps and hours of operation.

This tour was developed by Somerset Hills YMCA and the Great Swamp Watershed Association for the Ten Towns Bike Tour in 2009.

Click here for a pdf (3.5 mb) of the bike tour, suitable for printing to take with you while you ride.

Maps (click map for larger version)

30-mile route road map
Google Earth map of 30-mile route
Directions starting from Somerset Hills YMCA


SS – stop sign
TL – traffic light
Rt. – Right turn
S – Straight
Lt. – Left turn
T – t-intersection
RR – rest rooms
TCO – to continue on
Pt to pt
0.00 0.0 Rt. at SS Mt. Airy
0.45 0.4 mi to Rt. Chimney Ash Farm Road
0.58 0.1 mi to Lt. Ivy
0.65 0.1 mi to Rt. Oak Ridge
0.82 0.2 mi to Oak Ridge becomes Brook Ave.
0.95 100 yds to Rt. West Oak at SS. Cross above route 287
1.66 0.7 mi to SS Rt. Finley Ave. and quick Lt. around island & flag pole (keeping brick church on your left)
1.75 0.9 mi Lt. SS N. Maple Ave.
Map of streams and wetlands in Great Swamp WatershedEntering Great Swamp Watershed.
Map of streams and wetlands in Great Swamp WatershedPass Basking Ridge Oak. This huge old white oak tree is 600 years old and 97 feet tall, with a spread of 156 ft and a circumference of 18 ft. According to local lore, George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette picnicked under its shade and colonial soldiers stopped here to rest.
2.75 0.9 mi to TL, Rt. Madisonville (becomes Lee’s Hill Rd.)
3.33 0.5 mi to Rt. Pleasant Plains Rd. to Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge new visitor center
0.3 mi New GSNWR Visitor CenterRt. gravel driveway. Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge: Visitor center with gift store/interpretive displays. Restrooms here, behind Visitor Center.
0.3 mi Left out of White House, back to Pleasant Plains Rd.
4.13 Rt. at SS onto Lees Hill Rd (turns into Blue Mill)
5.13 Photo of Primrose Brook GSWA sign for Primrose BrookCross Primrose Brook, one of five tributaries to the Passaic River flowing through Great Swamp. Four of these tributaries either rise or flow through Bernardsville.
6.68 TL Continue S on Lees Hill Rd.
6.90 2.7 mi to Lt. Sand Springs Rd.
7.29 0.3 mi to Rt. Sand Springs Lane
7.86 0.5 mi to SS, Lt. James St.
8.55 0.6 mi to TL, Lt. Harter Rd.
8.83 0.1 mi to Lt. Tiger Lily Lane
0.4 mi Great Swamp Watershed Association Conservation Management Areato end of cul-de-sac.Conservation Management Area (CMA). This 53-acre forested wetland is owned and managed by Great Swamp Watershed Association. It includes 1.5 miles of trails including portions through a 23-acre deer exclosure. It is managed for biodiversity and is the site of much restoration work. Trails open dawn to dusk. Volunteer to help GSWA manage this area!

Port-a-Potty here Spring through Fall

9.35 0.4 mi From CMA, back on Tiger Lily Lane
9.85 Rt. at SS Harter Rd.
10.05 0.1 mi to TL, Lt. James St.
10.57 0.5 mi to Rt. Southgate Parkway
10.81 0.9 mi to Lt at SS, South St.
11.15 0.3 mi to Rt. Woodland (towards Madison and Chatham)
12.00 0.9 mi Bike Route SignRt. to green bike route sign onto paved bike pathway. Stay on paved path over bridge. Park trails.Morris County Park Commission Loantaka Brook Reservation. 600-acre ribbon park has nearly 5 miles of paved recreation trail and unpaved bridle trails, and stretches along the banks of the Loantaka Brook, protecting fragile stream edges with forest and allowing wildlife to move in safety.
12.48 Restrooms on Rt. in brick bldg.
12.50 Lt at T intersection & Rt. on roundabout to parking area. Keep pond on left, and continue straight to SS
12.69 Bridge at Kitchell PondAt SS, Lt. Kitchell Rd.Kitchell Pond is part of the GSWA water quality monitoring program where nutrients, pH, and other parameters are studied. Results have determined that this stream is most in need of remediation in the watershed. Efforts to protect the site from erosion and salt addition are underway.
12.72 Rt. onto paved bike path
13.77 at 4 way intersection, go S
14.20 In Loantaka Brook Reservation parking lot.
14.25 to Lt at SS Loantaka Way. On public roads.
14.48 0.2 mi to Rt. Shunpike towards Hickory Tree & Chatham
15.11 At TL, S at Green Village Rd. (Shop Rite on Rt.)
15.23 0.7 mi to TL, Rt Southern Blvd (towards New Providence)
16.57 1.3 mi Morris County Outdoor Education Center signto Morris County Park Commission’s Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center.Restrooms 0.5 mi down entrance road open limited hours.

Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center has 78 acres of trails through the floodplain forests and marshes surrounding Black brook. The center offers information and programming year-round.

16.58 Morris County Outdoor Education Center signCrossing Black Brook, part of Great Swamp WatershedNearly 90% of Black Brook is located within Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and it joins the Passaic River just beyond the Raptor Trust (see mile 24.39 below).
17.61 1.0 mi to TL, Rt. Fairmount
19.45 1.7 mi to Rt. Meyersville Rd. (towards Meyersville)
21.95 2.4 mi Blue Goose sign marking boundary of GSNWRto approach for circle to Rt. New Vernon Rd/Lees Hill (towards Great Swamp)Watch for the “Blue Goose” signs indicating boundaries of the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. You are cycling through the heart of the refuge’s 7,600 acres of federally protected marshes, swamps and floodplain forests.
22.79 Note – Black Brook of Great Swamp Watershed
22.88 0.8 mi to Lt. White Bridge Rd.
24.06 Sign for GSNWR Office & Friends Book StoreNote on Rt. Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge CenterSign for Friends of GSNWR This is the administrative HQ of the refuge but has limited public opening hours and restroom access. FRIENDS OF GREAT SWAMP is a non-profit group that supports the activities of the refuge and has a gift store and great kids discovery area beyond the refuge HQ. Their hours are limited to weekends.
24.39 Sign at The Raptor Trust entranceNote: Raptor Trust Bird Area parking lot on Rt., restroomsTHE RAPTOR TRUST is a non profit organization dedicated to wild bird rehabilitation. Trails lead past its cages of non-releasable birds, which are open for viewing 7 days a week. A donation is suggested when visiting to help offset costs of the organization.
25.00 The White BridgeS White Bridge Rd. on bridge over Passaic River. White Bridge Rd. becomes Lord Stirling Rd.The Passaic River flows toward its exit from Great Swamp Watershed at Millington Gorge.
25.02 Dirt section (0.31 miles) go slowly!
25.33 Sign for Lord Stirling Park Environmental Education CenterSomerset County Park Commision Environmental Education Center, restroomsSOMERSET COUNTY PARK COMMISSION. Lord Stirling Park. This park has 8 miles of walking trails and is open 7 days a week year round. There is a gift store and interpretive exhibit about the formation and cultural history of Great Swamp. Programs are offered year round.
26.36 3.4 mi to Rt. SS, S. Maple Ave.
27.23 Liberty Cycle Bike Shop on left
27.39 1.0 mi to Lt. Oak St.(No sign) towards Basking Ridge Center
27.40 At SS S to continue on W. Oak St. Caution (cross Finley Ave.)
28.17 0.7 mi to Lt. Brook Ave.
28.32 0.1 mi to Rt. Oak Ridge
28.49 0.1 mi to Lt. Ivy
28.55 100 yds to Rt. at SS, Chimney Ash Farm Rd.
28.69 0.1 mi to SS, Lt Mt. Airy Rd, Caution…traffic
29.18 0.5 mi to Lt. into Somerset Hills YMCA