Terrace Pond Floating Bridge

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Terrace Pond floating bridge

The Terrace Pond Circular trail features a swanky floating bridge and a long wooden ladder.

In 2020 an impressive floating walkway was built to cross the “Outlet” on the north side of Terrace Pond on the Terrace Pond Circular (WHITE) trail.

For years this section was very difficult to cross after the original log bridge was destroyed by storms. 

Hikers had to carefully balance on logs over a long stretch of deep water and mud. One wrong step and a hiker could end up with a soaking wet foot/calf covered in mud – and might even lose a boot.

What did the trail look like before the floating bridge?

When we last carefully tip-toed across the logs on Terrace Pond Circular (WHITE) in 2014, this is what it looked like:

Wet and muddy trail crossing on logs

The crossing was so bad that we stopped using this section of trail to loop around the pond as it just wasn’t worth it. 

Note the shoe left in the mud in this shot – hiking back had to have been fun for that person.

On North Jersey Trails (2017 and earlier), this is the area marked “seasonally wet” on the map. This is from a hike in 2012 (which is also when the embedded video was shot):

Flooded trail with rock on one side

The terrain in the area is too challenging to secure a normal bridge. A solution was developed and implemented by the NY-NJ Trail Conference and it’s West Jersey Crew, along with Wawayanda State Park. The New Jersey Forest Fire Service delivered materials via helicopter. 

For more details about this extensive project see “Floating Walkway to Improve Terrace Pond Hiking Experience” as well as photos of the construction, “West Jersey Crew – Terrace Pond Outlet Floating Walkway”.

In October of 2021, The Land Conservancy purchased a small parcel of land that secures public trail access for the Terrace Pond North trail.

What does the new Terrace Pond floating bridge look like?

Hikers can now easily cross this area on a 120’ long floating bridge. A ladder was also installed in order to bring the bridge materials to the site, and now makes scrambling a steep rock face much easier.

Floating bridge on a trail

The walkway is made of modular sections that float to accommodate fluctuating water levels, with a handrail on either side.

Looking down a floating bridge

A jumble of logs in deep water next to the bridge gives an idea of what the crossing had become.

Water and logs next to a new floating bridge
Logs in deep water

Get a peek through the trees into Terrace Pond. Water from the pond comes through here and creates a boggy area.

Terrace pond with vegetation on either side

Looking back down the floating walkway:

On the west side of the bridge, closer to Terrace Pond North (BLUE), there is a steep jumble of rocks with a ladder.

Ladder on a rock face.

The ladder makes easy work of a steep scramble up a rock face that used to range from fun to a challenge to “ohhhh #@!#!!” depending on your experience, and was dicey in wet or icy conditions.

Hiker at the top of a ladder placed on a rock face
Wooden ladder placed up an angled rock face

Looking back down the ladder with the floating bridge just visible through the trees below.

Wooden trail ladder placed on an angled rock face

The ladder with a hiker on it for scale:

Hiker climbing wooden trail ladder

The floating bridge seen from above, on the west side, above the ladder:

What hikes use the Terrace Pond floating bridge?

The floating walkway is located on Terrace Pond Circular (WHITE) on the north side of Terrace Pond, between Terrace Pond West (YELLOW) and Terrace Pond North (BLUE).

We have four Terrace Pond hike guides on our site. Two includes the floating bridge, the other two offer options for a side trip to check it out or a variation that includes it.

Where is the Terrace Pond floating bridge located?

Terrace Pond is located in Wawayanda State Park in West Milford in north central New Jersey.

Note that there were major changes to the trail system in 2020 so be sure to use a revised map of Terrace Pond trails.


In the Spring of 2022 the bridge will be dedicated to Benjamin Ross, who passed away in 2021.