Denville Township [†] is a 13-square mile municipality about 30 miles west of New York City. The community is known as the "Hub of Morris County" due to its location at the center of the county. The Township is in the Highlands physiographic province that stretches from south central Pennsylvania to western Massachusetts. The terrain is typical of the Highlands with a combination of rocky hills, small lakes, streams and wetlands. Typical of the Highlands region, the ridges are oriented from northeast to southwest. Elevations in the Township range from 458 feet above sea level in the Rockaway River valley to 1,033 feet along the ridgeline in the southern part of town.
Denville is bordered by Randolph Township to the west, Parsippany‑Troy Hills Township to the south and east and Rockaway Borough, Rockaway Township and Boonton Township to the north. Randolph and Parsippany‑Troy Hills are also suburban communities, Rockaway Borough is a small centralized town, while Rockaway and Boonton Townships are somewhat rural municipalities. Denville shares characteristics with each of these adjoining municipalities. The northern portion of Denville is rural, most of the community is suburban, while the central business district functions as the center of the community. This presents a mix of typical suburban development, older lake communities, rural areas and a central business district with a vibrant Main Street. There is a variety of potential hiking destinations and experiences. Additionally, the town features two New Jersey Transit rail stations with service on two commuter lines (Morris&Essex and the Boonton Lines). Incorporating access to these train stations and to the downtown are prominent goals of this plan.
The Township is entirely within the Passaic River basin. Most of the Township drains to a major tributary of the Passaic, the Rockaway River. The Rockaway River valley and the river's floodplain are major features of the Township's geography. Den Brook, Hibernia Brook, Beaver Brook and Troy Brook are smaller tributary streams in Denville that feed the Rockaway River. The historic Morris Canal crossed the Township roughly following the course of the Rockaway River. Flooding along the Rockaway, particularly in the downtown, has been a reoccurring issue. The abandoned route of the canal and the undeveloped Rockaway floodplain offer opportunities for new trails and trail connections. A small portion of the southeastern corner of the Township drains to the Whippany River, another Passaic River tributary.
Three main highway corridors divide the Township. Interstate 80, U.S. Route 46 and N.J. State Highway 10 all traverse the Township from east to west. N.J. State Route 53 runs north to south connecting these three highways and the Township's downtown. The three east-west routes are heavily travelled multi-lane divided highways with Route 80 also being a limited access freeway. These highways essentially divide the Township into thirds. Connecting these parts of the community with pedestrian trails is another goal of this plan. This may prove to be difficult as these major highways present obstacles for any trail routes that will run from north to south. Pedestrian crossings of these three highways will be difficult or impossible without major accommodations. However, a pedestrian bridge across Route 46 near the downtown area is in place and provides at least a partial solution to this issue.
Trails Plan for Denville Township, Greener by Design for the Township of Denville, 2018, www.denvillenj.org, accessed September, 2021.