end of Route 23 intersecting Bloomfield Avenue (Route 506)
in Verona, New Jersey
Some people may say that America starts when
you cross the Delaware River, but the gateway to America is Route
23 in New Jersey.
23 in New Jersey follows a northwest path through the state starting
about twelve miles west of New York City. It follows a route almost
three hundred years old that winds its way through the forests and
farmlands of Northern New Jersey. The area's history includes the
ancient home of (Leni-) Lenape and Minsi (var., Munsee),
one of the earliest European settlements in the "New World", and
the beginnings of a country now known as the United States. Today,
the region is comprised of suburban communities and protected forest
Route 23 in New Jersey begins (or ends, depending
on your viewpoint) in the community of Verona, New Jersey between
the First and Second Watchung Mountains. At the Junction of Route
506 (Bloomfield Avenue), Route 23 is named Pompton Avenue. Nearby
is Caldwell, the birthplace of Grover Cleveland and Orange, the
location of the Thomas Edison National Historic site. Bloomfield
College, Seton Hall University, Montclair State University and Caldwell
College are all located in this general area. A short distance away
is Eagle Rock Reservation which has spectacular views of the New
York City skyline.
This is the Northern Piedmont ecoregion comprised
of irregular plains with low to moderately high hills and tablelands
.The Piedmont plateau is separated from the Atlantic Coastal plain
by the fall line that extends from Trenton to Newark Bay. It is
a mixture of farmland and urban areas. Route 23's southern end is
in the Piedmont Plateau which is underlain by beds of red sandstone
and shale with layers of volcanic basalt. It is a region of low
relief about 30 to 150 m (100 to 500 ft.) in elevation. The Watchung
Mountains in the north of this region rise about 60 to 90 m (200
to 300 ft) above the general surface level. Route 23 proceeds through
this area past giant shopping malls and small town main streets.
Shortly after this busy road intersection, Route 23
becomes a pleasant tree-lined thoroughfare. Residential homes and
small businesses, including a small shopping center, line the highway.
It Narrows to a single lane through Cedar Grove's shopping district
and then becomes two lanes again in an uphill straight-away along
the shoulder of the Second Watchung Mountain.
Cedar Grove business district on Route
Route 23 then descends into busy intersection in Singac,
locally known as "Four Corners" at Fairfield Road, near the Passaic
River. The word "Singac" translates to "Bog Meadow" in the ancient
Leni Lenape language. Many of the areas continue to carry names
from the Lenape and Minsi languages as well as Dutch. Crossing the
Passaic River, the roadway skirts the Great Piece Meadows. Routes
80 and 46 meet with Route 23 in this area with a large shopping
mall at the junction.
|Route 23 then continues along the edge of the Bog and Vly Meadow
near Mountain View and Wayne. Many rivers converge in this area including
the Passaic, Pompton, Ramapo and Pequannock. Here, the Piedmont plateau
meets the New England Upland, locally known as the Reading Prong or
New Jersey Highlands. The Reading Prong stretches from Connecticut
to the Reading Hills in Pennsylvania. This area is made up of mostly
metamorphic rocks such as gneiss and schist. It rises steeply in mountains
such as Pohatcong, Scotts and Sparta. Broad flat plains of hardwood
and evergreen forests are situated between the ridges and there are
many lakes in the region.
Small dairy farm in the Kittatinny Mountains
near Sussex, New Jersey
Immediately beyond the New Jersey Highlands is asection
of the Appalachian Valley and Ridge region that lies in NW NJ. After
the Highlands is a part of the great valley, known locally as the
Kittatinny Valley some 24 km wide (15 mi) and underlain by limestone
or sandstone and shale. The Kittatinny Mountains, a flat-topped
sedimentary ridge containing some of the highest elevations in the
statefollow the valley.
The scenic Delaware Water Gap is situated where the
Delaware River flows through these mountains. This cleft is 1200
ft deep in parts and less than one mile across. The cutting of the
gap began in the Silurian Epoch with the formation of the rocks.
This was broad flat plain through which meandered the Delaware River.
Later, as land shifted along a fault line, the land became steeper
and the river ran faster. The fast moving water along with sediment
and stone caught in the current cut through the soft sedimentary
rock creating the deep channel which can be seen today. .A glacier
covered this area at the beginning of the Quaternary Period over
1000 feet thick. Evidence of it's passing can be found on the tops
of the Kittantiny Mountains.
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation
Area and Port Jervis, New York viewed from atop the Kittatinny
Mountains at High Point
Many parks and wildlife management areas are found
in northern New Jersey. North of Route 23, from east to west, are
Campgaw Mountain County Reservation, Ringwood State Park, Norvin
Green State Forest, Abraham Hewitt State Forest, Wawayanda State
Park, with High Point State Park straddling the highway.
Wildlife refuges in this area include The Wallkill River National
Wildlife Refuge, Wanaque Wildlife Management Area and Hamburg Mountain
Wildlife Management Area.
Between Route 23 and the Raritan River in the south, many more
such areas can be found. These include Stokes State Forest, Worthington
State Forest, Swartswood State Park, Allamuchy Mountain Park, Farny
State Park, Round Valley State Recreation Area, The Great Swamp
National Wildlife Refuge as well as many smaller parks. In this
area, the Pequest Wildlife Management Area and Trout Hatchery are
|Before it ends in Port Jervis, New York, Route 23 passes
through High Point State park, one of an interconnecting trio of state
parks including Stokes State Forest and Worthington State Forest to
the south. These areas, among others, comprise the Delaware Water
Gap National Recreation Area.