Bike-N-Hike GWB To Tenafly Nature Center

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Sunday, August 10, 2014
A 3 hour combination bike ride and hike in Bergen County, New Jersey starting at the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee and leading to Tenafly Nature Center for a 3.5 mile hike before riding back to the bridge.

Activity:Cycling, Hiking
Cycling Distance:13.9 Miles
Hiking Distance:3.5 Miles
Duration:About 3 Hours
A partial day bike excursion from the George Washington Bridge along the popular North Jersey bike route of Hudson Terrace and 9W for most of the way towards your hiking destination at Tenafly Nature Center. At TNC you'll enjoy an easy hike surrounded by tall trees and a nice view of Pfister's Pond. The trails are well marked and easy to follow. Large trees, native foliage as well as the sounds of local birds help you escape the city. You may even see some of the wild turkeys running around. The return bike trip takes a more scenic path through Jones Rd.

Starting Point: Hudson Terrace and George Washington Bridge

The exit of the George Washington Bridge pedestrian walkway on Hudson Terrace in Fort Lee is an easy spot to meet your group as cyclists in the area are familiar with it. You can ride in from your current location in NJ, ride across the bridge from Manhattan or drive and park nearby.

GWB To Tenafly Nature Center via Hudson Terrace and 9W

Distance:6.5 Miles
Duration:40 minutes
Total Ascent:338 feet
Total Descent:243 feet

If you forgot anything, a few blocks North of the GWB on Hudson Terrace you'll find Strictly Bicycles, a pro bike shop where you can stop to pick up parts, snacks and drinks for your trip. Be careful on 9W as parts of the road don't have a shoulder and where there is a shoulder, it is very narrow.

Turn Right off the Bridge onto Hudson Terrace and head North.

2.0mi Turn Left on E Palisade Ave.

2.1mi Turn Right onto Albany Post Rd N/Sylvan Ave

2.6mi Slight Left onto US-9W N/Albany Post Rd N/Sylvan Ave

3.9mi Turn Left on E Clinton Ave. You'll need to get across 2 lanes to get to the left turn lane at the light so use caution. After you pass St. John The Theologian Greek Church there will be a very steep downgrade.

5.3mi Turn right on Old Smith Rd

5.5mi Turn Right on Forest Rd

5.7mi Turn Right on Glenwood Rd

5.9mi Turn Right on Highwood Ave

6.0mi Turn Left on Homestead Rd

6.3mi Slight Left on Wood Rd

6.3mi First Right on Hudson Ave

Hudson ave is a pretty steep uphill for 0.2 miles which will lead you to the entrance of the park.

Tenafly Nature Center 3.4 Mile Hike

Distance:3.5 Miles
Duration:1.25 Hours

Once at Tenafly Nature Center you can lock your bike on some of the railings near the administrative building (to the left of the parking lot). I haven't seen any bike racks. Trail maps are available on a wall mounted box to the left of the doors on the administrative building or use the trail maps on Google Maps.

The hike is fairly easy. Mostly level single track dirt paths, some rocky areas as well as boardwalks.  On parts of the trail closer to the entrance you can find benches if you need to give your feet a break. Picnic tables at the pavilion to the right of the parking lot are available for lunch if there are no scheduled activities.

There are a number of different interconnected trails at TNC you can choose from but here's a route (marked with arrows) I like to take. It goes past some nice spots and goes along as much of Pfister's Pond as possible, while still staying on the marked trails.

Start on the main trail, a wide wood chip covered path north of the parking lot. Continue on the main trail until you reach the start of the Yellow Trail on the left. Trail intersections are clearly marked with the trail name on a wooden board attached to a tree. Turn left and follow the yellow blazes. About half way through the Yellow Trail you'll find a floating dock which will give you your first good view of Pfisters Pond.

At the end of the Yellow Trail you'll find yourself back on the Main Trail. Make a right and look for a sign on a tree on the left that marks the beginning of the Red Trail. It's not very far. Once you see the entrance to Red Trail, turn left and follow the red blazes.

You'll eventually come across a small wooden foot bridge over a small stream. Cross this bridge and start following the purple blazes of the Purple Trail on the other side.

Continue along the Purple Trail for 0.5 miles until you reach the intersection of the yellow blazed Allison Trail where you'll turn right (South) and continue for a little over a mile. Allison Trail runs through the middle of the park and is very serene. The sounds of traffic are gone for most of this leg and all you hear are the birds.

Continue on Allison until you reach the Red blazed Little-Chism trail where you'll turn left (North) as you start to make your way back.

Little-Chism is a beautiful trail but it does come pretty close to 9W. You'll be able to hear the traffic through most of this leg and in some places even be able to see the cars and trucks roll by.

Continue on Little-Chism until you reach the wide, graveled main trail (Hudson Ave). Once on the main trail off to the left a little you'll see a couple of rocks across the trail along with a sign on a tree marking the start of Bischoff Trail which is marked with red and white blazes.

I did run into a bit of trouble a short while into Bischoff Trail where I lost sign of the markers somewhere just before the lagoon but back tracking a few feet and scanning the trees I was able to pick up the red/white trail markers again to continue on my hike. Speaking of the lagoon... I don't really remember seeing it!?

Eventually Bischoff Trail will lead you to White Trail. Turn right and follow the white blazes around White Trail. Much of this trail is covered in boardwalk that runs right along the edge of the pond. It's very easy to follow. The view of the pond will be mostly obstructed by trees but you'll get a great view of Pfisters Pond after you pass the Dr Joseph A Defilippi shelter (a very large lean-to.)

After you've stopped to admire the views of the pond continue on White Trail until you reach the main trail. Turn right and head back towards the park entrance. Return your trail map at the administrative building so it can be recycled and have a stroll through the native wildflowers in the Model Backyard Habitat and the large birds in the Aviary.

Before getting back on your bike take a rest on the benches on the deck of the administrative building or cross the parking lot towards the pavilion to fuel up with lunch or a snack.

Tenafly Nature Center To GWB via Jones Rd

Distance:7.4 Miles
Duration:48 minutes
Total Ascent:371 feet
Total Descent:463 feet

For the trip back I decided to take a different route, mainly because I didn't want to go up that long steep hill on E Clinton. The route is longer and actually has more uphills overall but they're more spread out. The route goes through more residential streetts. It even goes past part of Flat Rock Book Park which was the destination of my last Bike 'N Hike trip plan.

Head straight out of the parking lot and continue down the hill on Hudson Ave

0.2mi Turn Left on Wood Rd

0.26mi Slight Right on Homestead Rd

0.56mi Turn Right on Highwood Ave

0.76mi Turn Left on Depeyster Ave

1.16mi Turn Right on E Clinton Ave

1.36mi Turn Left on Engle St

2.26mi Turn Left on E Hudson Ave

2.46mi Turn Right on Whitewood Rd

2.66mi Continue Straight on Laurel Pl

2.67mi Slight Left on Davison Pl

2.87mi Continue on Glenwood Rd

2.9mi Slight right onto Lydecker St

3.7mi Turn Left on E Palisade Ave

3.9mi Slight Right to Stay on E Palisade Ave

3.96mi Turn Right on Jones Rd

5.46mi Slight Right on Edgewood Rd

5.56 Turn Left on Ridgeland Terrace

5.86 Turn Left on Nordhoff Dr

5.92 Turn Right on Jones Rd

6.42mi Turn Left on Main St

7.12mi Turn Left on Park Ave

7.32mi Turn Right on Bruce Reynolds Blvd

7.56mi Turn Left on Hudson Blvd

The entrance to the George Washington Bridge pedestrian/bike sidewalk will be a block up on your right.

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