Echo Lake Park, Union County

rob23

Member
I just got back from ridding Echo Lake Park in Westfield. This place has a lot of potential for new trail.

The woods are open and easy enough to ride through so trimming wouldn't be a problem. There are existing trails there including some great little downhills, roots, rocks and nice loamy dirt. There's definately some room for more trail. Not a bad place in Union County to kill an hour or two.

We should build some trails there! I don't think anyone would mind or care; a lot of the park is neglected and littered. Some ares of the park I just rode through the woods, no one even goes there but I noticed some good terrain in there.

I've read a lot of griping here about not being able to ride Watchung or South Mountain. We could link this park up with trails in near by Lenape Park, Nomahegan, Black Brook and Rahway River. Those parks could use some more trail too, especially Lenape. With all tha area to cover we won't need to ride South Mountain and Watchung.

Well if anyone cares to layout some trail or just go for a ride drop me a line.

Here are GPS tracks of the trails at Echo Lake along with waypoints for each trailhead I found. See waypoints starting with EL. Try to ride my tracks and burn some new trail in! :D

see ya in the woods`

http://gpsroutebuilder.com/GPS/NJ/Parks/NJ_MtnB_Trails_v3.gpx

p.s. you can open this file in Google Earth (a free download) if you don't have a GPS. From Google Earth you can convert it into a KML file.
 
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woody

Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Interesting... I work within spitting distance (literally) of Echo Lake Park but I've never considered it as a mtb possibility. Always thought it would be too small & tame, but coupled with those other parks it just might work. :hmmm:
I would recommend consulting with the parks department and creating a plan before building new trails. Renegade trail building is one sure way to get mtbs officially banned there (assuming they're not already). You might also include a 'park cleanup day' as part of your plan, which I'm sure they would appreciate.
Please keep me posted and count me in to help with the work - on the up & up.
-Woody
 

bobkennelly

Member
thats in Mountainside and I lived there for 25 years, as far as I can see see, there is not much of anything going on other than a traill going to Kennelworth. I can bet you anything that Union county will not let anyone do any trails with out a major hassle. There is a old Railway going through that area as well, now that would be cool to get cleared out, it goes from rt. 22 in Union by the old drive -in ,to summit by overlook hospital.. I used to walk around on it as a kid.{1969)
 

bobkennelly

Member
I wish I could have been there, but Elmer is just too far of a drive for me, would have been almost a 2 hour ride, but I hope you did well Fred, I was thinking of you guys today, I hope to be at Jamesburg and Mercerville though..
 

ArmyOfNone

Well-Known Member
I wish I could have been there, but Elmer is just too far of a drive for me, would have been almost a 2 hour ride, but I hope you did well Fred, I was thinking of you guys today, I hope to be at Jamesburg and Mercerville though..

Its was a blast today! We sure missed ya! See ya soon!
 

rob23

Member
ok, guys forgive me if I got a bit excited, I'm not out there blazing new trail with a brush hog or anything..

Is there anyone already familiar with working with the Parks Dept in Union. I agree with doing it the legal way. These areas already have a good existing trail network and great potential for more trails.

I went out and recorded tracks for nearby Nomehagan and Lenape Parks. I rode the existing trails and there's no restrictions on the trail use. I read all the posted signs for park rules and none of them mention anything about trail use. I also saw several police throughout the day and other park users, no one seemed to mind that I was ridding the trails. There is effidence of mountain bike use at these parks already (ie: stacked logs, berms, jumps, tracks, etc)

You really don't need a lot of woods to have a great trail network. If you ever rode Mercer County Park you know the majority of the trails are in a concentrated area though the park itself is very big. Actually, with these four parks linked together there is a lot of woods.

Lenape is the largest park by far but only has one existing trail I could find. The trail is decent enought to make a worth while connection between Echo Lake and Nomeghan. Trail head is in back of the lake.

There are two good mountain bike trails in Nomehagan including a very cool BMX pit with huge jumps that the kids made. There are also several other two track and secondary trails. However, they seem to be building more paved foot paths in Nomehagan. Trails are behind the lake and around the back end.

Echo Lake is by far the best park to ride with the most challenging terrain and existing trails. To get started there, park at the western most lake and look for the trail head around the wall, follow the trail to the right which splits into two trails where you can ride a loop. Take that same trailhead and break to left at the first split, follow the trail to the top of the ridge, ride the ridge east and you'll find a great dowhill which will leave you at the fisherman's path around the lake. You'll also find some good downhills on the northern side of the park including a nice two track made by the rangers truck.

Unami Park in Garwood has two trails. I ride there every morning for a little work out. There's some space in the woods for more trails here as well and you can connect to this park via the Rahway River park.

All in all, if you connect the three major parks with the trails I mapped out already you could have at least 3-4 hours of trail ridding in Union County on existing trails.

I have yet to explor Black Brook which connects to Lenape. I'll keep you posted.

Here's my latest tracks:
http://gpsroutebuilder.com/GPS/NJ/Parks/NJ_MtnB_Trails_v4.gpx

Here's a picture for all that are not GPS inclinded.

Union1.jpg
 
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bozizle

Active Member
Echo

I lived in Westfield for 17 years and think your right you rpobably could put a few treails in there....personally I would think it would be an amazing spot for a cross race.
 

John Baumann

Active Member
I live in Kenilworth and have ridden and explored all those spots. Usually for a good after work quicky It seems the trail around echo lake is rarely used and the part you refer to as the fisherman's path is a little bit challenging but be careful of the broken glass. There's also some trails across the damn from Lenape Park that I include in the loop.
 

sasquatch2

Member
I work in da area 2

I work right near the BMX pit on North Michigan Ave, the East Coast Greenway goes thru Lenapi and Echo. I've explored to woods of Lenapi and found some quad trails and lots of river mud slop. I explored Nomahegan too this summer. I agree, it would be awesome to string this area together as a trail system, there's tons of acerage around here.
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Drive through Echo Lake park on any warm weekend day, and you'll see hundreds of casual users out there. I doubt the park will be very welcoming to adding mountain bikers to that. Not trying to be negative, but the park is very heavily used by familes right now. Adding bikers to it would generate lots of tension.
 

rob23

Member
really, quad trails in Lenapi? Where's the trailhead?

I don't think you'd be disturbing any families by ridding a mountain bike in the woods.
 

GJ11

New Member
New to this web site but been riding in Westfield for a couple years now. Here's my latest loop from Westfield, over to the College, through Nomahegan, into Lenape, and over to Black Brook and the Water Tower in Kenilworth to the west of Mich Ave. I just double back and head home the way I came out.

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/95468630

I've seen cops and park employees on this ride and never been bothered. The trails are there, but with the latest stimulus dollars that Union Co seems to have, they've managed to pave a large portion of this run (prolly ~50% now). There are still some drop-ins along the way that keep it fun.

Anyway, I ride with a group weekly and we have been able to string together a ride that goes from Washington Elementary (in Westfield) over the the water tower in Kenilworth, back into Lenape, across the levee (with a pond loop), and up through Echo Lake past the 9-11 memorial. We then go past the Bark Park, along the back side of the paddle boat lake and out onto Mountain Ave. At that point you can cut through Wytchwood to work your way back to town or reverse course and head back through the parks. I will ride the entire loop and upload the GPS track for all to see.

It would be nice to have more off road options, but this loop works in a pinch. As busy as these parks are on the weekends, you would think it would be in the Park Dept's interest to have more "off road" options for riders.
 

allygadget

Active Member
I am totally down for trail building over here! I had no idea there were any kind of trails. I am about a 5 min bike ride away from rahway river park in springfield. Its pretty wet and mushy there all the time so trail building might be tough.
 
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