The Bridge to Lify Island in Lake Hopatcong, “James Leach Boardwalk Trail” needs to be one of the fun things you do this summer. If you love the lake, hiking and exploring this adventure will sure to please. Your dog will thank you too.
How to get to The Bridge to Lify Island
There is two ways to enter the trail. The first is on Prospect Road just north of Northwood Road. A wooden sign reads, “James Leach Boardwalk Trail”, and space off the southbound side to park off the road. This trail entrance is more of an excursion. Just keep heading toward the lake, follow the foot path, and you’ll get there. The other entrance is a stone pathway and can be entered behind the Prospect Point basketball courts on Brady Road. Its about a 20 minute walk to the lakes edge. Depending on what kind of experience you’re into and how much time you have, either way will take you to The Bridge to Lify Island.
The Bridge to Lify Island
At The Bridge to Lify Island, you’ll want to stop and take a few picture. The Woodport side of the lake has boats anchored, and water goers enjoying watersports. Lilypads, rocks and wildlife can be seen on the wildlife preserve side of the bridge. Kayaks and smaller boats can pass underneath as the bridge sits 5 feet off the ground.
Lify Island is perfect. The Large undeveloped island and the wetland surrounding the backside of it is home to wading birds, wetland plants, and a place for fish to breed. The trees have grown high above the landscape, casting shade to the entire island. Sun rays creep threw the leaves shining in the most peaceful places, like onto the leaves of a fern. The sounds of lake goers, birds and moving water makes this place very calming by nature.
A foot path leads the way. Stopping at the lake, back into the land, up and down and around. The large rock at the lakes edge offered a rope swing with a handmade tree chair. The rope swing is not recommended for use and could be dangerous.
This is an adventure worth talking about. Grab a friend or your dog, a bottle of water and check it out. The foot trail will be marked on the island in the next phase of construction.
Lify Island History
Owned by the Boy Scouts in 1922, Lify Island was known as, “Scout Island. The camp had a mess hall and camp offices on the island, and the boy scout campers would sleep in waterproof tents. They stayed for 2 weeks and enjoyed boating, overnight hikes, and swimming to earn a merit badge. For 6 years the camp grew more campers maxing up to its capacity of 96 scouts. The camp closed in 1928 when a huge Boy Scout camp in the Catskill Mountains was purchased. The camps chef William “Pete” Peterson, was given life rights to the island and visited Lify Island until his health declined in the 1970s. After that, Lify Island was established as a Wildlife Preserve.
The Magical Place of Lify Island
The 5 year draw down allowed residents of Lake Hopatcong to notice the rock bridge that lead to Lify Island. The old rock Bridge to Lify Island in Lake Hopatcong gave access to the island and now the wooden Bridge to Lify Island does too. Lify Island is and always will be an untouched piece of Lake Hopatcong. The Bridge to Lify Island shows us that summer life now and from the boys of scout island is much different. Likewise, Lify Island is just as special as it was then.
If you’d like to read more about the history of Lify Island check it out here:
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