Trail Guides
Flat Rock Brook Nature Center

En Español

443 Van Nostrand Avenue, Englewood, NJ 07631
Phone: (201) 567-1265

OWNER:  City of Englewood

DIRECTIONS:  Exit Van Saun from the pond area. Turn Right onto Howland Avenue. Turn Left at traffic signal onto Forest Avenue. Follow signs for Route 4 East and turn Left at 2nd traffic signal after 1⁄2 mile. Follow ramp, staying Left, and merge onto Route 4 East. Proceed 5.3 miles and exit at Jones Road on the Right. Sign for Jones Road is small and exit begins immediately after you pass under the overpass. Proceed up ramp to stop sign and turn Right onto Jones Road. At next stop sign turn Right onto Van Nostrand Avenue. There is a sign for Flat Rock Brook Nature Center on this corner. Proceed straight into Flat Rock Brook’s driveway.   Map
ACCESS AND PARKING:  Center hours: Monday– Friday 9am–5pm. Saturday–Sunday 1pm to 5pm. Trails open daily from dawn to dusk. Parking is available on site and off of Jones Road. Center may be closed on major holidays; trails are always open. Restrooms off of Jones Road are open in the warm weather. Restrooms are available in the center when it is open.

NEAREST PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION:  NJ Transit Bus Line Nos. 171/175/178/186 and Rockland Coaches’ Red and Tan Bus Line No.11C from George Washington Bus Terminal stop at Jones Road and Route 4, Englewood. Walk up steps to Jones Road. Walk to the Left on Jones Road and continue to Van Nostrand Avenue. Turn Right at stop sign and walk 2 blocks up Van Nostrand Avenue to entrance of Nature Center. From Port Authority Bus Terminal NJ Transit Bus Line No. 160 and Red and Tan Lines Nos. 11A/14 stop at Broad Avenue and Van Nostrand Avenue, Englewood. Walk up the hill on Van Nostrand 2 blocks to Nature Center. Walking distance for both less than 1 mile.

SPECIAL FEATURES:  Once you have enjoyed nature’s gifts outside, try learning more about its diversity inside. Have you ever seen a hissing cockroach up close? The Flat Rock Brook educational center offers live animals for the curious observer. You can have up-close looks at box turtles, frogs, or the albino black rat snake. The talking microscope encourages budding naturalists. There are touch box exhibits and a puppet theater where your child can have the opportunity to be on stage. During the winter months bird feeders are filled to the brim so take some time to brush up on your bird identification skills. Call in advance to learn about special programs. For example, the 3rd Sunday in May is Nature Day and the center also conducts bird walks on the weekends in May and October.

American Lady Butterfly
American Lady ButterflyAngel Reytor
SITE DESCRIPTION:  Flat Rock Brook Nature Center is a 150-acre natural woodland preserve, and is one of the last remnants of the magnificent Palisades Forest. The property comprises 75 acres of Green Acres land owned by the City of Englewood, along with an additional 75 acres formerly known as Allison Woods Park. The two tracts were merged in 1988 and are currently managed by the Flat Rock Brook Nature Association. The Center features over 3.5 miles of well-marked and well-maintained trails, offering visitors an enthralling glimpse into the Center’s diversity. Take in the woodlands, a cascading stream, ponds, wetlands, meadows, wildflowers and quarry cliffs. Look for breeding Great Horned Owl in the woods and Wood Duck and Green Heron at Mac Fadden’s Pond. Listen for Red-tailed Hawk flying over. Keep your eyes peeled for red fox and coyote hunting small prey in the woods.

DON'T MISS:  Don’t miss a walk on the Red Trail, especially if you include a stop at the top of the lookout. On a clear day you will have a bird’s eye view of Teaneck, Hackensack and the first Watchung Ridge. Continue on the Red Trail for a leisurely stroll through the woods, ultimately leading to Mac Fadden’s Pond. Proceed a short distance, to just the other side of Mystery Bridge, and you will be rewarded with a tumbling stream. Enjoy the soothing sounds of water as you walk along the brook to a picnic area and playground.

Winter:  Winter can be a quiet time, but if you look closely you will find that wildlife abounds. Take a walk on the trails after a snow fall and look for animal tracks. The eastern cottontail rabbit, gray squirrel, white-tailed deer, red fox and coyote, among others, all leave imprints in the snow. Winter birds are plentiful. Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse and White-breasted Nuthatch are common, along with White-throated Sparrow and Dark-eyed Junco. There might even be some hearty Fox Sparrows and even a Great Horned Owl. Listen for the Downy, Hairy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers tapping on the trees. If the winter has been warm, the pond may have wintering ducks, especially Mallards, identified by the male’s iridescent green head.
Spring:  The local flock of Wild Turkey is out and about and you may have the opportunity to experience their courtship displays. Wood Duck should be returning to Mac Fadden’s Pond in early spring. Migrating spring warblers are plentiful in April and May. Blue-winged, Northern Parula, along with an occasional Cape May Warbler are known to stop over to feed. Red-eyed Vireos sing their abrupt songs throughout the woods. Listen for the green and bull frogs, and look for snapping and box turtles sunning themselves as the weather warms. Be alert around thickets and in the woods for the House Wren, whose melodic tunes are a pleasure to the human ear. The pretty yellow trout lily should be blooming along with the pink wild geranium and the delicate white spring beauty.
Summer:  Butterflies and dragonflies abound during the warm season. Butterfly weed bushes do just as their name implies, attracting monarchs, cabbage whites and tiger swallowtails, to name just a few. Stand by a spicebush and you may encounter a spicebush swallowtail butterfly or its caterpillar. Dragonflies, their iridescence sparkling in the sun, dart over the ponds. The spectacle of the spring migration has passed, and resident birds are busy taking care of their young. Look for the Baltimore Oriole in the treetops and observe Eastern Phoebe snatching insects mid-flight. The thickets are great cover for Gray Catbird and House Wren. Wildflowers can be observed at the meadows, which give the wildlife watcher a completely different vantage point.
Fall:  Fall is one of the busiest seasons for wildlife at Flat Rock Brook. By mid-August the observant wildlife watcher will notice birds flocking together. When the first cold front passes through, around the first of September, be on the lookout for hawks; Red-tailed, Broad-winged, Sharp-shinned, Cooper’s and Red-shouldered have all been observed passing over the grounds. Along with the hawks, fall warblers are plentiful; you might see American Redstart along with Yellow-rumped, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green and Black-and-white. Wading birds, shorebirds and waterfowl migrate through this area and may stop at the ponds for a day or more.

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