Where Waters Rise
The preservation of Crystal Springs nearly tripled the size of an existing block of parkland and preserved farms, which now stretches across some 900 acres of Hunterdon and Morris counties. Part of Hunterdon County’s Teetertown Preserve, Crystal Springs covers 290 acres of Highlands terrain, with a network of trails that leads visitors through meadows and woodland, along the edge of cultivated fields, and to some of the property’s many ponds.
The ponds are fed by natural springs (hence the park’s name) that form the headwaters of Spruce Run Creek, a category one trout production stream and one of three waterways that flow into Spruce Run Reservoir. Three ponds at Crystal Springs are open for fishing; bass, catfish and sunfish are the usual catch.
Patient visitors might catch a glimpse of beavers gliding across the surface of the ponds, herons stalking fish and frogs at the water’s edge, turtles basking on a log, or a variety of migratory waterfowl paddling and preening. A 40-acre meadow south of the ponds is managed as habitat for grassland birds such as bobolinks, eastern meadowlarks, red-winged blackbirds, indigo buntings, and vesper sparrows. The forested areas, including stands of mature hardwoods, a red maple swamp and a hemlock grove, support migratory songbirds.
Continue exploring the area in the Mountain Farm and Ravine sections of Teetertown Preserve, just across Pleasant Grove Road. Here you’ll find wilderness and group campsites, a visitor center staffed on weekends, and miles of well-marked trails, including the steep and winding Geology Trail, which has striking views of Hollow Brook tumbling through a rocky ravine. A large pond in the Mountain farm section is excellent for bass and bluegill fishing (catch and release only) and is stocked with rainbow trout. There’s also trout fishing in Hollow Brook.
Project partners: NJ Green Acres Program, NJ Water Supply Authority, Hunterdon County, Lebanon Township, Washington Township Land Trust, Hunterdon Land Trust.