Campgaw Mountain Reservation

Campgaw Mountain Reservation
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Campgaw Mountain Reservation’s Hemlock Trail►

Campgaw Mountain Reservation is a Bergen County park in Mahwah, New Jersey. The Peak of Campgaw Mountain is the center of the park. Campgaw tops out at 735 feet above sea level. In the winter, Campgaw operates a small ski area.

Campgaw offers a 10-mile network of hiking trails. I took the Hemlock (Orange) Trail on an early summer morning. This is an easy one-mile loop around Fyke Pond.

Who was Fyke?►

I remembered the name Fyke from my visit to the Celery Farm in Allendale. The Fyke Nature Association, founded in 1952, maintains that Preserve. So I wondered, who was Fyke? I did some digging and discovered that Fyke is not a person. Fyke is a Dutch word for a trap used to catch eels. Fyke Brook is a tributary of the Ramapo River and created Fyke pond in Campgaw. Dutch settlers in the area must have trapped eels in that brook long ago and named it accordingly.

And the Fyke Nature Association took its name from that brook, because Campgaw was their first preservation success. Back in the 1950s, it was the Association that saved the land from commercial development before turning it over to the County Park System. It was called Fyke Park before the County renamed it Campgaw Mountain Reservation.

After solving the Fyke mystery, I enjoyed my stroll around the pond. I passed water lilies in bloom and croaking frogs. I was alone except for a solitary fisherman on the shore.

There are signs of the Hemlock disease that afflicts most of our forests in the Northeast. These trees are dying out due to a foreign insect infestation. I also saw the rubble of old stone walls and structures…remnants from Dutch colonial days?

There are other trails that ascend to the summit for sweeping views, but I was short on time. The mountaintop will have to wait for my next visit.

Location: 200 Campgaw Rd, Mahwah, NJ 07430
Designation: County Park
Date designated or established: 1961
Date of my visit: 6/17/2020