Iron Hill Park: A Forest Grows in NewarkMay 19, 2021 11:22AM ● By Tricia Hoadley
Text by Richard L. Gaw
Whether through circumstance or pursuit of the optimal efficiencies of modern life, those who live in Newark year round are tethered to the endless thicket of life known as Suburbia. It is a tangle of looping and connective highways, office parks, shopping centers, developments and the daily complexity of determining how to get from Here to There, and smack in the middle of this busy infrastructure, a major university thrives.
Against this landscape of concrete and convenience lay the quiet and breathtaking pathways of Newark’s parks that provide an invigorating respite from the rituals and the obligations and the hum of a growing city. Of the many options to choose from, one of the most popular destinations for Newark residents has been Iron Hill Park, a 3.2-mile loop trail that is bordered to the north by Interstate 95, Welsh Tract and Whittaker roads to the west, Route 896 to the east and Old Baltimore Pike to the south.
Spread across 35 acres and with a peak elevation of 328 feet, Iron Hill Park is the dream for everyone from the causal hiker to the nature enthusiast to the mountain biker, because within its smallish confines, one is able to utterly disappear for an hour or so beneath the spires of its woods and reemerge refreshed and renewed.
Named for its iron deposits that were mined during the 18th and 19th centuries, Iron Hill Park is celebrated for its dense forest and its winding trails; the artist’s palette of its colors and its gentle sounds; its stone walls that date back to the Revolutionary War; its place along the Mason-Dixon Trail; and for the exuberance of activities that it offers like disc golf, a bark park, a playground and sponsored trail hikes. It is also home to the Iron Hill Science Center, where visitors can experience the natural world of local flora and fauna, explore rock and mineral collections, fossil specimens found in the region and artifacts.
Over the past several years, Iron Hill Park has been blessed and nurtured by the companionship of the nonprofit Friends of Iron Hill Park. Established in 2008, the Friends are a dedicated consortium of volunteers who promote the park’s many projects, programs, educational opportunities and family activities that meet the growing demand for outdoor recreation and natural resource protection.
Friends of Iron Hill Park have also partnered with Henry’s Racing Team and First State Velo Sport to plan and execute The Iron Hill Park Volunteer Trail Mapping and Marking Project that updated mapping and trail marking throughout the park.
To discover Iron Hill Park and to learn more about Friends of Iron Hill Park and its many volunteering opportunities, visit www.friendsofironhillpark.org.