Traction Line Recreation Trail

New Jersey

13 Reviews

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Traction Line Recreation Trail Facts

States: New Jersey
Counties: Morris
Length: 2.7 miles
Trail end points: Morris Ave. and Washington Ave. (Morristown) and Danforth Road and Beech Ave. (Madison)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016584

Traction Line Recreation Trail Description

Running alongside a New Jersey Transit passenger line, the Traction Line Recreation Trail has been around since 1986, when Jersey Central Power & Light donated portions of the land to the Morris County Park Commission. Even though this trail runs parallel to an active transit line, the land was first owned by the Morris County Traction Company, which ran trolleys between Newark and Dover 1914–1928. The trolleys also used to take vacationers to the old Bertrand Island Amusement Park at the northern end of the line.

The Morris & Essex Line, which now parallels the trail (a configuration known as rail-with-trail), has a train station along the route that allows residents and tourists alike to access this trail for commuting to work or school, as well as for taking recreational trips to nearby places of interest.

The Traction Line Recreation Trail spans nearly 3 miles between Morristown and Madison. The northern end of the trail begins at Morris Avenue, across from Morristown National Historical Park, a worthwhile side excursion to explore sites significant to the American Revolution. Look for the trail entrance right before you cross Washington Avenue; a green BIKE ROUTE sign marks the start.

From the Morris Avenue entrance, you’ll enjoy a pleasant walk or ride on smooth asphalt, with much of the path lined with greenery, where you may see wildlife such as deer, rabbits, and chipmunks. The trail is flat without any hills or steep grades, so it is accessible to users with different abilities and needs. It also offers 10 workout stations, called Fit-Trail stations, along the route, which provide opportunities to complete cardio, stretching, and strength-training exercises.

After 1.8 miles, you’ll pass Convent Station, accessible via an at-grade, marked railroad crossing. Trail users, as well as vehicles on Convent Road, can cross the tracks to reach the train station. On the other side of the trail, across from the train station, is the entrance to the Academy of Saint Elizabeth, as well as the College of Saint Elizabeth. The trail continues farther southeast to end at Danforth Road, adjacent to Fairleigh Dickinson University. Eventually, the path will continue south of Danforth Road to Drew University in Madison.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach parking near the northern end of the trail from I-287 N, take Exit 36A for County Road 510 E/Morris Ave. Take a right onto Morris Ave., then immediately bear right onto Washington Ave. In 200 feet, take a right onto W. Valley View Dr. In 380 feet, take a right onto Howell Pl., which dead-ends into the trailhead parking lot. From I-287 S, take Exit 36. Keep left to merge onto Lafayette Ave., and in 300 feet, turn left onto Ridgedale Ave. In 0.1 mile turn left onto Morris St., which becomes Morris Ave. Go 0.3 mile to Washington Ave., and then follow the directions above from there.

Although there isn’t a parking lot at the southern end of the trail, on-street parking is available along Beech Ave. To reach it from I-287 S, take Exit 37 to NJ 24 E. Go 1.3 miles on NJ 24 E, and take Exit 2A for County Hwy. 510 W toward Morristown. Merge onto the Columbia Turnpike. In 0.1 mile turn left onto Park Ave. In 1.5 miles turn right onto Danforth Road. Go 0.2 mile, turn left onto Beech Ave., and look for parking; the trail entrance is at the intersection of Beech Ave. and Danforth Road. From I-287 N, take Exit 35, and turn right onto South St. In 400 feet, turn left onto Woodland Ave. Go 1.3 miles, and turn left onto Kitchell Road. Go 0.7 mile, and turn right onto Madison Ave./NJ 124. In 0.6 mile, turn left onto Danforth Road. Take a left onto Beech Ave. and look for parking; the trail entrance is at the intersection of Beech Ave. and Danforth Road.

Traction Line Recreation Trail Reviews

not good for roller blades

The pavement is too rough and also there are little hills that might be dangerous. Is great for bikes though

Simple straight flat

Simple straight flat (most of the time) -- a pretty easy ride for anyone. Some sites to see, but photos are pretty representative of what you will see most of the time. There are a couple of opportunities to exit the path to head out on main roads and do a little looking around. This trail is next to residential, commercial, and a small university.

nice shot trail

The trail is paved along side of a railroad. When we got there around 4 pm, there was literally no one there. It was a smooth bike ride except most part of the trail is not under any type of shade. For its under 3 miles distance one way, it was alright to us.

perfect easy trail for family

We started at the beginning of the trail on south side at Danforth road and rode all the way to Washington headquarters museum in Morristown. We walked around the grounds of the museum. Next time we’ll reserve tickets for the tour of the Ford Mansion. We made a stop at friendly’s for lunch on the way back, discovered the stairs that lead us up to friendly’s! Pretty awesome. It was an easy ride with our 3 years old.


A fine ride

I ride from my home in Morristown to the end of the trail in Madison whenever the spirit moves me. It's amusing to ride past Florence Vanderbilt Twombly's crumbling wall (built to spare herself the sight of trolley riffraff) and realize that one-percenters die just like everyone else.

just what I needed

Perfect for what I was looking for: a relatively flat and short trail as I am rehabbing from a broken foot. Plus I love trains. ;)

Smooth and relatively flat

Great trail for kids - relatively straight and smooth (paved) - kids love guessing when the next train arrives. Best parking is off Danforth in Madison - behind the assisted living facility near the soccer field. Was an old trolley line before the train replaces this way of transportation. Twombly was so angered she built a huge wall around her estate - now part of Farleigh Dickinson University. More scenic around Morristown - backyards. Ends at Washington's Headquarters - however, not easy to cross those lanes of traffic.

Neighborhood Trail

This is an okay trail if you live in the neighborhood. A good "go to" trail for a quick bike ride or rollerblading. The trail sits parallel to the commuter train which can be very noisy when it passes. Not a scenic route at all. It was a bit of a disappointment since it is only 2.7 miles and not scenic. Loantaka is a much better choice as it is very scenic and much longer route, and is only a few minutes away from Traction Line. There is also no place to park. The lots adjacent to the train are metered parking only. We went on a Sunday afternoon and parked in the lot of the bank across the trains tracks. This is not a trail that you plan a trip to, but a good trail if you live within walking distance.

Fun for the kids

I don't love an all asphalt trail. It's a nice easy trail. it starts at Madison (where there's no parking) and goes through Convent Station. You can park at the train station and pick up the trail there. It's really fun when a train comes.

Start in Morristown, lunch in Madison, combine with Loantaka

Wife and I parked in Morristown, took this trail into Madison, and had lunch at Atlanta Bread (Memorial Day 2010). What we should have done is figured out how to best take roads to the Loantaka Brook park that has many bike trails ( - combining these would make for a nice days of riding.

There are several trail panels with this trails history - I found it quite interesting (there is a real story to how the right of way was obtained!)

We have biking in Loantaka many years ago, so cannot comment on current conditions, but when we were there it was quite nice.

Nice trail but...

This is a very nice trail in the middle of Morris Twp. I have been looking at trails that are longer and longer. I found the trail is not 3.2 miles but only 2.7 miles. I have noted this on quite a few trails. They need to update some information on the trails. I was disappointed it was shorter than advertised. It is a very nice trail and it is something to see the trains and not hear the noise (or the smell) of a diesel.

A Trail for all seasons!

" This 3 mile trail is a wide paved pathway that slopes gently along its route. It is suitable for walking, biking and in-line skating. Perhaps the most interesting feature of this trail is that the Morris County Park Commission clears this trail of snow within 24 hours of the snowfall. While this precludes cross-country skiing, it provides an outlet for ""cabin-fever"" in winters with heavy snowfall.
There is a small parking area at the west end, and available street parking at either end. The only roadways crossed are private entrances, so traffic is minimal. The train traffic on the Morris and Essex line alongside the trail is anything but minimal. It is amazing how quiet the electric trains are!

Rates a 7 out of 10!


Great For In-Line Skating and Children

"The trail surface is perfect for in-line skaters. There is a very slight increase in elevation as you travel from west to east. Also, there are a limited number of street crossings; the four that I counted were all private.

The trail is immediately adjacent to NJ Transit tracks but is completely fenced in (except at the four street crossings). Those who love trains will get a huge kick out of biking, walking, or skating along as trains whiz by.

There are many places to park on weekends in commuter lots and on side streets. Food and other services are available in downtown Convent Station, which is less than 2/10 of a mile from the trail.

A quick connection may be made to two other heavily used bike trails in the area (Loantaka Brook Reservation Trails and Giralda Farms Bike Path) by exiting at Danforth Road and heading up to Madison Avenue.

Drew University, Fairleigh Dickinson University and St. Elizabeth's College are within walking distance of this trail. So my guess is that during good weather, there are many young people out and about.

This trail is worth visiting at least once."

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