Hike Verona: The Old Railroad Trail

By on December 3, 2009

MyVerona-West-Essex-TrailOnce upon a time, a railroad ran through Verona. It was called the Erie Lackawanna, dubbed by some old-time residents the “absence of desire” railroad. (To understand that, pretend you’re in an episode of “Mad Men” and say lack-of-wanna.)

The trains are long gone, leaving us with Depot Street and a nice flat rail bed that stretched all the way to Little Falls. It is perfect for walking, biking or jogging and if you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of Verona cross-country star Dave Oster as he dashes by. If it snows, the trail is the best place in town for cross-country skiing.

The path, now known as the West Essex Trail, doesn’t appear on Trails.com’s map of hikes near Verona, but there are three easy access points in town. You can enter on Fairview Avenue just past the high school parking lot, or park on Durrell Street just up from the Charles Bahr & Son lumber yard. You can also turn left at the Bradford Avenue light on Grove Street and park in one of the little lots on the old hospital grounds.

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The segments are short enough for even the youngest kids to enjoy. But don’t let them wander into the gullies on the west side of the trail, which are loaded with junk. The highpoint of the trail is just past the railroad bridge over Pompton Avenue in Cedar Grove. And no, I’m not going to spoil the surprise.

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