Traction Line Recreation Trail

New Jersey

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Traction Line Recreation Trail Facts

States: New Jersey
Counties: Morris
Length: 2.7 miles
Trail end points: Morris Ave. and Washington Ave. (Morristown) and Danforth Road (Madison)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016584
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking

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Traction Line Recreation Trail Description

In June 1986, the Morris County Park Commission dedicated this recreation trail that runs parallel to the New Jersey Transit Line railroad tracks. The trail was developed with the cooperation of the Jersey Central Power and Light Company and the New Jersey Department of Transportation. In April 1990, a nine-station Parcourse Exercise unit was installed to enhance the health aspects of the trail. The addition was made possible through matching grants from Allied-Signal Foundation, Crum & Forster, and the Jersey Central Power and Light.

The northern end of the trail is near the intersection of Morris Avenue and Washington Avenue, across from Washington's Headquarters National Historic Park. This is a residential area and there is only on-street parking. The southern end of the Traction Line ends at Danforth Road, near Fairleigh Dickinson University's College in Madison. There is no public parking at this location.

Parking and Trail Access

From Route 124: Traveling east through Morris Township, turn left at Rods/Madison Hotel onto Convent Road. Cross the railroad tracks to the path entrance on the left. (Parking is available in the adjacent lot.) These directions lead to the Convent Station on New Jersey Transit's Morris and Essex Line in about the middle of the trail.

From Route 287 South: Take Exit 35 to Route 124 East (Madison Avenue). Turn left on Madison Avenue, and follow the roadway to the traffic light at Convent Road. Turn left and proceed as above.

From Route 287 North: Take Exit 35 to the light. Turn left onto South Street. Bear right onto Route 124 (Madison Avenue). Turn right on Madison Avenue/Route 124 East. Continue following the directions as above.

Traction Line Recreation Trail Reviews

I ride from my home in Morristown to the end of the trail in Madison whenever the spirit moves me. It's amusing to ride past Florence Vanderbilt Twombly's crumbling wall (built to spare herself the sight of trolley riffraff) and realize that one-percenters die just like everyone else.

Perfect for what I was looking for: a relatively flat and short trail as I am rehabbing from a broken foot. Plus I love trains. ;)

Great trail for kids - relatively straight and smooth (paved) - kids love guessing when the next train arrives. Best parking is off Danforth in Madison - behind the assisted living facility near the soccer field. Was an old trolley line before the train replaces this way of transportation. Twombly was so angered she built a huge wall around her estate - now part of Farleigh Dickinson University. More scenic around Morristown - backyards. Ends at Washington's Headquarters - however, not easy to cross those lanes of traffic.


This is an okay trail if you live in the neighborhood. A good "go to" trail for a quick bike ride or rollerblading. The trail sits parallel to the commuter train which can be very noisy when it passes. Not a scenic route at all. It was a bit of a disappointment since it is only 2.7 miles and not scenic. Loantaka is a much better choice as it is very scenic and much longer route, and is only a few minutes away from Traction Line. There is also no place to park. The lots adjacent to the train are metered parking only. We went on a Sunday afternoon and parked in the lot of the bank across the trains tracks. This is not a trail that you plan a trip to, but a good trail if you live within walking distance.

I don't love an all asphalt trail. It's a nice easy trail. it starts at Madison (where there's no parking) and goes through Convent Station. You can park at the train station and pick up the trail there. It's really fun when a train comes.

Wife and I parked in Morristown, took this trail into Madison, and had lunch at Atlanta Bread (Memorial Day 2010). What we should have done is figured out how to best take roads to the Loantaka Brook park that has many bike trails ( - combining these would make for a nice days of riding.

There are several trail panels with this trails history - I found it quite interesting (there is a real story to how the right of way was obtained!)

We have biking in Loantaka many years ago, so cannot comment on current conditions, but when we were there it was quite nice.

This is a very nice trail in the middle of Morris Twp. I have been looking at trails that are longer and longer. I found the trail is not 3.2 miles but only 2.7 miles. I have noted this on quite a few trails. They need to update some information on the trails. I was disappointed it was shorter than advertised. It is a very nice trail and it is something to see the trains and not hear the noise (or the smell) of a diesel.

" This 3 mile trail is a wide paved pathway that slopes gently along its route. It is suitable for walking, biking and in-line skating. Perhaps the most interesting feature of this trail is that the Morris County Park Commission clears this trail of snow within 24 hours of the snowfall. While this precludes cross-country skiing, it provides an outlet for ""cabin-fever"" in winters with heavy snowfall.
There is a small parking area at the west end, and available street parking at either end. The only roadways crossed are private entrances, so traffic is minimal. The train traffic on the Morris and Essex line alongside the trail is anything but minimal. It is amazing how quiet the electric trains are!

Rates a 7 out of 10!


"The trail surface is perfect for in-line skaters. There is a very slight increase in elevation as you travel from west to east. Also, there are a limited number of street crossings; the four that I counted were all private.

The trail is immediately adjacent to NJ Transit tracks but is completely fenced in (except at the four street crossings). Those who love trains will get a huge kick out of biking, walking, or skating along as trains whiz by.

There are many places to park on weekends in commuter lots and on side streets. Food and other services are available in downtown Convent Station, which is less than 2/10 of a mile from the trail.

A quick connection may be made to two other heavily used bike trails in the area (Loantaka Brook Reservation Trails and Giralda Farms Bike Path) by exiting at Danforth Road and heading up to Madison Avenue.

Drew University, Fairleigh Dickinson University and St. Elizabeth's College are within walking distance of this trail. So my guess is that during good weather, there are many young people out and about.

This trail is worth visiting at least once."

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