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Zoo Loop

Intermediate
 4.0 (1)

The Zoo Loop is a quick, hilly trail through the woods that connects to the Orange Reservoir Loop.


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Map Key

2.1

Miles

3.3

KM

Loop

483' 147 m

High

331' 101 m

Low

156' 47 m

Up

163' 50 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

16%

Max Grade (9°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · Lake · Views · Wildlife

Need to Know

There are benches along the reservoir part of the trail. If you continue along the reservoir trail to the other side, there are bathroom facilities by the picnic area.

Description

This is a full loop, so there are no trailheads. You can start at any point along the loop and continue until you reach your starting point.

I started on Northfield Ave at the corner of Sheridan Ave. There's an entrance here to the wooded part of the trail.

Once you enter the woods, there is a windy, steep incline. Pay close attention to the blazes, as the trail itself can sometimes be hard to see on the ground. This part can get muddy in wet conditions, so be aware. It's rather dry in the fall, and the leaves cover the ground completely.

The trail continues up the hill until you cross a doubletrack carriage road. There's a map on a signpost there, where you can check your position. Continue along the singletrack trail for a short while, and the trail will eventually combine with another doubletrack carriage road and open up wider.

There's a steep descent into a valley followed by a steep climb back out. At the top, you'll see another map on a signpost, and the trail will turn to the right to go down towards the reservoir. This part of the trail is windy and easy to lose, but you can clearly see the reservoir path at the bottom - which is where you are heading.

Once you reach the reservoir, the Zoo Loop joins with the Orange Reservoir Loop for about a half mile. Turn to the right and continue along the reservoir. The Orange Reservoir Loop will turn left at a bridge, and you'll continue straight out until Northfield Ave. This part isn't well-blazed, but if you turn right on Northfield Ave you'll eventually see some blazes on telephone poles. Continue about a half mile until you get back to the starting point.

You can park at the parking deck at Turtle Back Zoo or at McLoone's Boathouse and begin the trail on Northfield Ave. There's also a parking lot on Cherry Lane across the street from the Orange Reservoir Loop, and you can park there and hike to where the Zoo Loop begins. The Zoo Loop also connects to the Turtleback Loop , although it's easy to miss the turn if you aren't paying attention.

Flora & Fauna

In the wooded area, you'll see lots of deciduous trees. Along the reservoir, there are more evergreen trees. Deer, fox, and other small animals are often sighted in the area.

Contacts

Shared By:

Brian Rock

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote

#14869

Overall
  4.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#94

in New Jersey

#14,869

Overall
4 Views Last Month
108 Since Nov 10, 2020
Intermediate

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Photos

With spring, comes the vibrant colors along the loop road.
Jun 29, 2021 near Northfield, NJ
When it's foggy, the Orange Reservoir can be a gloomy, eerie place. The trees disappear in the distance, and it's hard to see across the small reservoir.
Nov 8, 2020 near South O…, NJ
The tracks of the Turtle Back Zoo's miniature train ride run parallel to a section of the Orange Reservoir Loop. The miniature train ride is free for the zoo visitors (no separate tickets are sold).
Jun 29, 2021 near South O…, NJ
A view of the Orange Reservoir coming down the hill on the Zoo Loop, where it connects with the Orange Reservoir Loop.
Nov 10, 2020 near South O…, NJ
Young turtles are a familiar sight at the Orange Reservoir.
Jun 29, 2021 near South O…, NJ

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