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This trail is in an area rich in geological history. Zinc and Iron Ores were transported along this branch from mines in the area that operated for over 200 years. The trail is scenic with a slight uphill climb. In Ogdensburg you can experience a mine first-hand. At Sterling Hill tours of the mine are at 1pm and 3pm daily with an additional tour at 11am on weekends. The mine is closed weekdays in December and March and is completely closed during January and February. Call (973) 209 7212. Another interesting attraction in the area is the Franklin Mineral Museum. Call (973) 827-3481 for more information.
In Franklin, turn onto Route 517 South from Route 23. Proceed into Ogdensburg to a small dirt parking area on the left a few feet north of Ogden Way.
I mountain biked this short but beautiful trail before the 2012 Sandy washout. I took it from Ogdensburg to Beaver Lake Road (walk the tracks the last 300 feet) and then headed down RT 23 and left on 517 to Ogdensburg for a easy loop ride. I hiked the trail 1/13/2023 and I am happy to say that the collapsed section now has a narrow berm on the south side that can be biked (technical) or just walked. There are some trees down along the trail (hop some and carry over some) and some muddy areas by the rock cuts and some passable streams, but the views are worth a try. If you scramble up the rock mound you have great views of Ogdensburg and Sparta, and when you travel under the power lines you have a great view of RT 23 and Franklin. I think the rock cuts are deeper than the ones on the Paullinskill Trail and the elevated rail bed section are amazing. If you want to continue further into the Hamburg Mountain Wildlife Area, you can hop off this trail when it gets close to RT 23, and you will be across the street from their parking area. There is a also great little convenience store at the start of the trail in Ogdensburg as well a a new local bar across the street.
This is 80% flat. Terraine is part dirt, part rocks. Wear good shoes/hiking boots. We walked on a dry fall afternoon. There is a section that has collapsed and you can divert around but it is steep and slippery. Walking stick would have helped. A number of downed trees to duck under around. We had two dogs with us and they loved it. About 3-6' wide in most areas. Rock features beautiful. I would not recommend in snow or rain if you can't see your path (uneven) or added slip factor or mud present. Lovely and mostly shady. Not a lot of parking at ogdensburg trail head.
Very rocky and rutted Not good for hybrid bikes
I like the promise of this trail.Easy access to the trailhead and trail is good for maybe a mile-I tried to bike it with a hybrid but the first few hundred feet has some large rocks and the trail was sort of soft (I was hoping for a hard packed cinder surface with less rocks) but after the first few hundred feet there are less rocks and the trail flattens out. I was doing ok with my hybrid so at this point I turned around to go back to my truck because on unfamiliar trails I usually do a pre-ride before I commit. Well the next day, there was off and on sprinkles so I decided to hike the trail. Well, the first half mile is good, there are some nice rock outcroppings and there is an elevated section of the trail. HOWEVER, at about 3/4 of a mile there is a very large section of the trail that is GONE!!. You can see the trail ahead but you can't cross the collapsed section; you certainly cannot bike it so essentially this rail/trail has been reduced to maybe 3/4 of a mile. That is why I categorize this as promising but right now it cannot be riden. It is possible that you can trek it but you'd have to do some serious scrambling to get across the chasm.
Starting from the cul-de-sac at the end of Ogden Way and heading north, the trail has completely collapsed less than a mile in. There is a giant sinkhole in the old railbed, approx. 30 feet across and 15 feet deep. There is no way around it; because at this point in the trail you are traveling on an elevated path, with un-negotiable (I suppose hikers could do it) drops of 30+ feet on either side. Too bad, because this is a pretty, quiet trail. Upon leaving I did see a dirtbike rider but he did not enter the trail.
Nice trail - remarkably little litter despite it's proximity to civilization. Tried the trail on my hybrid bike - much better suited for a mountain bike. Trail bed is too soft for thin tires.
"If you intend to travel the entire length of this trail by bicycle, I’ll offer you some words of advice: (1) start at the lowest elevation - 700 feet AMSL - and work your way to highest – 990 feet AMSL; (2) don’t attempt to ride anything other than a mountain bike equipped with either front or dual suspension; (3) wear a helmet; (4) bring plenty of water; and (5) use a low gear, take your time, and enjoy the spectacular panoramic views and foliage as you move along. This is a fine trail, even though I’m sure it isn’t on most of our “top 10” lists.
An excellent starting point for bicyclists is located at the dead end circular turnaround of Ogden Way in Ogdensburg. There is plenty of on street parking here and the trailhead is immediately adjacent to the street. Hikers and walkers may choose to park in designated parking areas on nearby NJ State Highway 23 (mid-trail) or on Beaver Lake Road in Franklin (near the active railroad line at the trail’s endpoint).
The trail surface beginning near Ogden Way starts out extremely rocky, but this lasts only for about 100 feet or so. Beyond this point you’ll encounter loose ballast for the most part, with some packed dirt and moderately rocky surfaces as well. An active stream shares a short section of the trail bed, so depending upon time of year and precipitation levels you might run into some running water. The are also a small number of tree roots and left in place railroad ties to negotiate.
This trail lies completely within a very popular NJ State Wildlife Management Area; that is, a public hunting region. Regardless of posted safety notices warning hunters not to fire into the trail’s right-of-way zone, during hunting season I would use this trail only on Sundays (it is currently illegal to hunt on Sundays in NJ). Also, wearing bright orange might be a good idea as well.
I had a great time on this trail. It was very quiet, the trail was a perfect length based on effort required to pedal up the incline, the foliage was nice to look at, and there were one or two cleared areas that provided excellent panoramic views of some nearby Sussex County communities. Come prepared and you will likely have as enjoyable experience as I did.
One other note: there was much evidence on the trail of unlawful ATV and dirt bike use. Be on the alert for fast moving motor vehicles at all times."
" This trail runs from an active line and parallels the active line for most of its length. As the ROWs go down hill, they grow farther and farther apart. If you happen to see a train on the active line, it will be a long freight. The grade is generally moderate, but never level and the path is suitable for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Views are limited, but solitude isn't (if you don't count the freight trains).
Rates a 6 out of 10!
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