Skylands - Sussex County, NJ








The Appalachian Trail

Standard white blazes. The AT passes through Sussex County from the county line just north of Millbrook Gap to just northeast of High Point. See Long Distance Trails: Appalachian Trail


Blair Creek Preserve (TNC)

Managed by The Nature Conservancy

Acreage: ?

Map: See NYNJ Trail Conference Kittatinny Trails maps

Parking: Fairview Lake Lane, Unlocated

Trails: There are informal, unmarked trails which pass through this preserve

Blair Creek Preserve (RVC)

Managed by Ridge and Valley Conservancy

Acreage: 486

Map: See NYNJ Trail Conference Kittatinny Trails map series

Parking: pull off parking along Sand Pond Road near the power line (unlocated).


A planned section of Ridge and Valley Trail will pass through this preserve. There is a woods road accessible from Sand Pond Road on the Warren County side that will be it's route.

At the power line, there is a deteriorating old elevated puncheon that crosses the wetland. It is not advisable to cross this puncheon, as much of it has collapsed into the swamp and would certainly involve getting wet.

The west side of the Blair Creek heading toward Fairview Lake is quite lovely with limited undergrowth. Intrepid hikers will find beautiful wetland views, and the site of a former mill, with the wheel pit and old dam site and race way still visible.


Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (Sussex County Section)

Woods Road Trail: See Long Distance Trails

Buttermilk Falls Trail: (1.6 miles, blue blazed) Buttermilk Falls Trail begins on Mountain Road south of Walpack Center, and climbs very steeply to reach the Appalachian Trail, crossing Woods Road Trail along the way. There are some limited views of the Delaware Valley near the top. Buttermilk Falls is the tallest waterfall in NJ, cascading several times over 200 feet. The trail follows stairs to the top of the falls, then a foot path the remainder of the way.

Blue Mountain Lakes Trails: Multiple old woods roads originally intended to be part of a lakefront development, defunct due to Tocks Island Dam project. A few homes were constructed, the last of which was removed shortly after 2000. Many trails are marked with carsonite posts, not standard blazing.

Hidden Falls Trail: This unmarked trail leads along the edge of a stream north of Buttermilk Falls to the spectacular Hidden Falls. While not as tall as Buttermilk Falls, they are far more scenic. Hidden Falls Trail used to continue up the ridge to Woods Road Trail, but has not been maintained in many years.

Brink Road: Blue blazed. This former cross mountain road now provides an access to the Appalachian Trail and is also a blue blazed side trail to Brink Road Shelter where there is a privy and a stone walled spring. Even the seasonally drivable portions of Brink Road are good to hike. Brink Road descends from the AT to the intersections of Mountain Road and Creek Road near Walpack Center.

Hemlock Pond Trail (orange blazed): This trail connects the Appalachian Trail with the many woods roads around Blue Mountain Lakes and Hemlock Pond. From Hemlock Pond, it follows a few woods roads before beginning a steep ascent to the AT near Crater Lake. There are views to the northwest near the top of this trail.

Mountain Road: This beautiful dirt road begins at the intersection of Brink Road and Creek Road near Walpack Center, and continues to Old Mine Road, passing Buttermilk Falls along the way. Though it is open to vehicle traffic year round, it is still pleasant to hike for those looking for something easier.

Donkeys Corners Road: This road runs from Mountain Road near Buttermilk Falls to Flatbrook-Stillwater Road, where it crosses and becomes Donkey Hollow Trail. The road is abandoned, and passes throgh lovely secluded woods.

Military Road: This trail follows a former road that once connected the village of Walpack Center with Old Mine Road near the Van Campen Inn. It crosses a secondary ridge to the Kittatinny known as Walpack Ridge, and provides access to the Walpack Ridge Trail. It crosses abandoned Ridge Road and descends past a small cemetery where is buried settler Moses Hull before reaching Old Mine Road.

Walpack Ridge Trail (originally Thunder Mountain Trail, red blazed): This trail accessible from old Military Road above Walpack Center has two sections, on the north and south side of of a wetland a lake. The south fork makes it's way over gently rolling terrain and crosses the outlet of a lovely pond, and ends at the Thunder Mountain Art School, near and old barn where access is available on Thunder Mountain Road. The north section follows Thunder Mountain Road (originally Ridge Road) a short distance past some abandoned buildings, then descends slightly to follow the top of a slope overlooking marsh land. It too terminates at Military Road. There is a short, unmarked connector trail that connects the north and south sections of Walpack Ridge Trail between the art school and the wetland.

Ridge Road: This former road stretches from Thunder Mountain art school, where it is known as Thunder Mountain Road, to the Old Mine Road near where it splits from Pompey Ridge Road. The Walpack Ridge Trail follows the road for a short distance before splitting off to the east. It crosses Military Road, and continues into a former farm property. It then reaches vehicle access by way of Heater Road and continues straight past the historic Layton-Richards House. Beyond the house and barns, all in excellent shape, the road becomes nearly impassable. It is necessary to walk through fields to the east, parallel to follow the road route. It's former junction with Old Mine Road near Pompey Ridge Road is very obscure near a grove of pines.


Evergreen Park and L&HR Railroad Bed:

Managed by Green Township


Ball field park, but adjacent to former Lehigh and Hudson River Railroad (see Warren County for more). A trail follows a portion of the rail bed from Tranquility Post Office and veers away.


Flatbrook-Roy Wildlife Management Area

While there are no official trails within this property, there are several unmarked old woods roads, as well as recently abandoned or unmaintained roads.

Brook Road: This dirt road connects Tuttles Corner-Dingmans Road with Mountain Road and Brink Road near Walpack Center. It has been severely washout out to the point where parts of it were closed indefinitely. In addition, Bridge Road from the village of Bevans (Peters Valley Craft Village) has also been closed at the bridge, making the area very pedestrian friendly during non hunting seasons.

Old Struble Road: Struble Road looks as though it ends at Lindley G. Cook 4-H Camp, but it used to continue down the ridge to Brook Road north of Walpack Cemetery. Near a bend in the paved road, old Struble Road descends through woods near a small tributary, then continues through an area that appears to have been logged somewhat recently before terminating at Brook Road.


Hanford Branch and Wantage Recreation Fields


Born Road, off of Lott Road: Lat:  41°15'52.03"N Long:  74°34'10.31"W

The former Hanford Branch of the New York Susquehanna, and Western Railroad passes through Wantage recreation fields. In fact, some of the access road, known as Born Road is built over it. To the north, the Appalachian Trail is routed on a short section of the Hanford Branch as well, and is in public ownership to a certain extent. The distance between the recreation fields and the Appalachian Trail is only 1.8 miles. The route is mostly clear and would be an excellent trail, but we cannot promote it as such because it is probably not all in public ownership. Nevertheless, it is presented here for it's potential, in hopes that more people might see the value in it's development.


Kittatinny Valley State Park

Managed by NJ Parks and Forests

Acreage: 3,641


Jorba Map (better quality):


Goodale Road: Lat 41° 0'59.60"N Long 74°44'35.12"W

Park Office: Lat 41° 1'4.80"N Long 74°44'13.70"W

Sussex Branch Trail, Rt 206: Lat 40°59'58.82"N Long 74°44'49.59"W

Lake Aeroflex, Limecrest Road: Lat41° 0'36.71"N Long 74°44'4.28"W


Kittatinny Valley State Park is a menagerie of different trails, both marked and unmarked. Near the Forest Fire Service Headquarters, hikers will find many official and unofficial trails left over from fire line training by that department. Aside from the Sussex Branch Trail, the major thorofare, many other trails are designed by JORBA, a fantastic off road bicycle group in NJ. They do excellent trail work, though hikers sometimes are frustrated by the many curves they take designed for mountain biking. Trail users must realize that not all trails are set up for direct point to point hiking, and JORBA creates some of the best trails in the state.

The trails are very well marked with standard blazes. Different shapes are used to eliminate confusion between duplicated colors. It is easy to separate them into the east and west sides of Goodale Road.

Sussex Branch Trail: Unblazed except where other trails are co-aligned. It runs from Netcong area to Branchville. See Long Distance Trails.

Paulins Kill Valley Trail: Unblazed, see Long Distance Trails.

Lehigh and New England Trail: Unblazed, See Long Distance Trails

Red Trail West: This trail breaks off of the red and green trails west of Goodale Road, and crosses the tower access road to allow for more loops in that side of the park.

Red Trail East: This trail breaks away from Sussex Branch Trail a short distance from the parking area along Rt 206. It loops around and passes an old iron mine on it's way north.

Blue Trail East: This trail breaks away from the Sussex Branch Trail just south of White's Pond and passes through varied terrain, crosses the Yellow Trail East, and terminates with the red trail at the park office.

Blue Trail West: This trail makes a loop on the east side of Sussex Branch Trail, but west side of Goodale Road through upland woods.

Green Trail: This trail is west of Goodale Road, and crosses the Sussex Branch Trail, following circuitous routes on both sides. Like many trails in KV State Park, it is designed very well by JORBA, an off road biking group, and so many curves in the paths are intended not only for hikers, but for mountain bikers.

Yellow Trail East: 1.7 miles.Yellow blazed. Other than the Sussex Branch Trail, this Yellow Trail is the easiest within KV State Park. It follows paved roads closed to traffic, woods roads, and field edges beginning at the park office. It continues near the shore of Lake Aeroflex, and then continues out to the parking area near the Sussex Branch Trail before turning back to the park office.

White Trail: White blazed trail begins north of the parking area along Goodale Road and makes it's way through nice woods, following near the perimeter of the park. It weaves through varied terrain and passes through a field, then turns south and follows the shore of Lake Aeroflex, the deepest natural lake in NJ. It ends near a picnic bench at the access road that is followed by the Yellow Trail East.

Tower Access Road: 0.75 mile, unblazed. This gravel road travels from Goodale Road across from the parking lot and crosses Sussex Branch Trail. It then makes it's way past some historic barn ruins and to the top of a hill where there is a utility tower. It crosses the west Yellow and Green Trails.

Yellow Trail West: Makes a loop north of Twin Lakes.

Lehigh and Hudson River Railroad Trail: Unblazed. A section of this abandoned railroad right of way passes through Kittatinny Valley State Park close to Limecrest Road. It is not developed as a trail, but much of it is on public land. See Long Distance Trails.

Black and White Trail: This is in the northern section of Kittatinny Valley State Park, and requires more scouting by Metrotrails for a good description. It connects with White Trail and terminates behind the park office.

Unmarked Trails: There are many unmarked connecting paths within Kittatinny Valley State Park, including one leading toward Gardner's Pond, and others from Goodale Road in both directions, and along Whites Pond. There are other unmarked paths opposite Limecrest Road in the vicinity of the old iron mines. Many paths in great concentrations may be found near the Forest Fire Service headquarters along Rt 206, where many new forest fire fighters were trained in fireline


Stokes State Forest

Managed by NJ Parks and Forests



Stokes State Forest is an enormous park with an amazing amount of trails. The Appalachian Trail passes through Stokes, and includes the amazing Sunrise Mountain as well as other overlooks, and the Normanook Tower. Surprisingly, for a park associated with Kittatinny Ridge, few other trails offer view points within the boundaries of Stokes. Regardless, the trails of Stokes offer varied terrain and beautiful woods. West of the AT, it is reminiscent more of the parks on the Pocono Plateau, with winding creeks and rolling hills.

Almost all trails in Stokes are standard blazed, but are done with metal or plastic markers with painted circles in the middle of one or two colors. These colors often fade with the sun, making it difficult to determine what trail is supposed to be what.

Appalachian Trail: (See Long Distance Trails: Appalachian Trail )

Tillman Ravine Trail: This trail begins at a parking area on Brink Road. Several small loops make their way through Tillman Ravine. There are many small bridges, a lovely cascade waterfall, and a round body of water sometimes known as The Devil's Tea Cup. The trail unofficially descends to Mountain Road near Wallpack Center, and passes a former dam site.

Steffan Trail (Black/grey on white blazed, 1.8 miles): This trail begins at Struble Road near the intersection with Rt 206 and ascends a low ridge through lovely tall pines. It then follows the ridge (an unmarked side path leads back to 206) and becomes a woods road before meeting dirt Coss Road.

Coss Road (Unblazed): This old dirt road connects Woods Road Trail at the junction with Jacobs Ladder Trail with Struble Road, and makes connection with Steffen Trail. It is a dirt road closed to vehicle traffic through pleasant woods.

Jacob's Ladder Trail (Blue/grey on metal blazed, 0.4 miles): This steep trail ascends from the intersection of Coss Road and Woods Road Trail and ascends the Kittatinny Ridge to the Appalachian Trail.

Shay Trail (Brown/Yellow on metal blazed): This trail is actually a dirt road this is sometimes open to vehicular traffic. It connects Dimon Road with Brink Road. It gradually descends from Brink.

Stoll Trail (Blue/green on metal blazed): This short trail connects Dimon Road to Coss Road next to it's intersection with Struble Road. It passes through some hilly terrain, but is pretty easy.

Tibbs Trail: 0.5 mile. Blue and green on metal markers. This short trail leads from the Shotwell Camping area past a beautiful beaver impoundment, and follows a woods road up hill to Coursen Road. Before reaching the road, it passes an abandoned lift machine that has sat derelect for years.

Lead Mine Trail (Blue/grey on white blazes, 0.6 mile): This short trail heads through woods from Coursen Road to Lackner Trail. It's unclear why this trail is called Lead Mine Trail. No mining is apparent.

Lackner Trail (Black on white markers, 2.15 miles): Lackner Trail starts on Coursen Road near the Stokes SF headquarters and Shotwell Road. It follows an abandoned road alignment to the east, and reaches a lovely little pond. After passing the outlet, it continues on an easy path out to Stony Lake near, ending on the access road half way between the lake and Kittle Field. Stony Lake Trail breaks away just before the end. Lead Mine Trail also makes connection to Coursen Road.

Stony Lake Trail (Green on white markers, 0.3 mile): This short trail breaks away from Lackner Trail and continues around the shore of Stony Lake, and terminates at Coursen Trail.

Station Trail (Green on white markers, 0.8 mile): This short trail provides an easy loop from Stony Lake on relatively level terrain. It is co-aligned and provides access to other trails much of the time, including Swenson Trail, Stony Brook Trail, Coursen Trail, and Tower Trail.

Swenson Trail (Red on white markers, 3.9 miles): Swenson Trail begins at the hub of many trails at Stony Lake. It, Station Trail, and Stony Brook Trail run together for a bit. Swenson Trail breaks away and follows the top of a hill above a branch of the Stony Brook, descends to cross it, and reaches Tinsley Trail. It follows Tinsley Trail down hill to the left briefly, then heads through very rocky woods out to Spring Cabin. It passes the cabin and continues through an extremely wet area, where the trail is pretty much a stream. Cartwright Trail breaks off to the right in this area. Swenson Trail continues, and becomes much easier to it's end point on Crigger Road. A side trail marked by school of conservation descends behind Spring Cabin to a wetland, but appears to end abruptly.

Tinsley Trail (Yellow on white markers, 1.95 miles): Tinsley Trail follows an old woods road from Skellinger Road up the ridge from the west, and across Sunrise Mountain Road to connect with the AT near Sunrise Mountain. Swenson Trail is co-aligned with it briefly near a washout, and Spring Cabin Trail breaks off near the western terminus. Between Swenson Trail and Sunrise Mountain Road, the Tinsley Geological Trail makes possible an alternative loop to the north side of the trail.

Tinsley Geological Trail: This short loop breaks away with a self guided geology tour from the main Tinsley Trail, just down the ridge from Sunrise Mountain Road.

Spring Cabin Trail (Blue on white markers, 0.3 mile): Spring Cabin Trail is actually just a dirt road, which Tinsley Trail is aligned with from Skellinger Road. Spring Cabin is a special amenity that may be reserved only be employees of NJ DEP.

Cartwright Trail (Brown and red over white markers, 1.25 miles): Cartwright Trail begins on Swenson Trail north of Spring Cabin. It can be obscure near it's beginning, as it ascends through forest over rocks where little or no grading has been done. It soon crosses Sunrise Mountain Road, and continues to ascend, next over open flat rocks. Near the top, there is a good view to the north and west of the Pocono Mountains. Cartwright Trail climbs a bit further to connect to the AT.

Stony Brook Trail (Brown on white markers; Blue may be seen in the section from the AT to shelter): This trail follows it's namesake stream east-west from the AT to Blue Mountain Trail west of Kittle Field. From the AT, it heads down hill, and a side path leads to Gren Andersen Shelter. It soon crosses Sunrise Mountain Road and parallels the Stony Brook to join the Station Trail near Stony Lake. Continue from Stony Lake to the large parking lot below the concession, and follow the creek once again to the right. The trail soon passes the lovely Stony Brook Falls and continues on relatively level terrain to the picnic area at Kittle Field and the Silver Mine Trail. Silver Mine Trail and Stony Brook Trail run concurrently for a short distance on an old woods road high above Stony Brook, with a few lovely cascades. When Silver Mine Trail ascends to the right through Mountain Laurels, Stony Brook Trail continues on the woods road down hill. It passes by a small pond, and then comes to an area with old farm buildings before ending at a parking area where Blue Mountain Trail begins to the right. This road used to continue through, but the bridge across the Flat Brook, which connected with Flat Brook Road, is now gone.

Coursen Trail (Blue on white markers. Coursen Trail follows Station Trail and crosses Stony Brook, then heads along east parallel with Stony Lake. Stony Lake Trail breaks off ot the right to connect to Lackner Trail. The trail continues up to Sunrise Mountain Road, passing a lovely swamp on the left before beginning the ascent.

Tower Trail (Green on white markers, 1.45 miles): From the south, Tower Trail breaks away from Stony Brook Trail and Station Trail, close to the day use area at Stony Lake. There is no bridge over the Stony Brook. It follows a rather easy grade, but becomes increasingly steep as it makes it's way to Sunrise Mountain Road. After crossing Sunrise Mountain Road it becomes very steep to ascend to the AT just north of the Normanook/Culver Fire Tower. Just before the AT, it passes through an interesting clefted rock, and offers excellent views toward Stony Lake, the rest of Stokes, and the Pocono Mountains beyond.

Acropolis Trail (Gold and brown on metal markers, 0.55 miles): Acropolis Trail follows an old woods road from along Rt 206 steeply up the Kittatinny Ridge to the Appalachian Trail. The trail does continue beyond this point to a seasonal overlook, at the crest of the ridge above Kittatinny Lake.

Blue Mountain Trail (Brown and green on white markers, 1.4 miles): This trail follows relatively easy terrain from it's beginning, a parking area just west of Kittle Field, also the western terminus of Stony Brook Trail. It enters woods from an old farmstead and follows a small ridge near it's beginning. It then continues somewhat near to Flat Brook and connects with Silver Mine Trail on the right. From here, it passes through nice Hemlock forests, and crosses Flat Brook at it's end, Flat Brook Road. There is no bridge over Flat Brook, so crossing can be difficult during times of high water.

Silver Mine Trail (Orange on white markers, 2.1 miles): Beginning at Kittle Field, Silver Mine Trail runs concurrently with Stony Brook Trail on an old woods road beside Stony Creek, with nice views of cascades below. It then turns right up hill and continues through beautiful Mountain Laurels. The trail reaches a three-way intersection. To the right, the trail leeds to a dead end beside a branch of Stony Brook where the Silver Mine exists. It is capped at the top. The middle trail also leads down to terminate in the same area. The main trail goes to the left, passes by some old building ruins, and becomes a foot path when the woods road section ends, descending to Blue Mountain Trail. For a long time, this trail was a dead end.

Steam Mill Trail (Blue on white markers, 0.8 mile)

Howell Trail (Grey on white markers, 2.7 miles)

Criss Trail (Blue and grey on white markers, 2.25 miles)

Deep Root Trail (Orange and yellow over white markers, 1.25 miles)

Rock Oak Trail (Blue and yellow over white markers, 1.5 miles)

Parker Trail (Green on white markers, 3.7 miles)


Lake Musconetcong

Managed by NJ Parks and Forests



Lake Musconetcong is managed under Hopatcong State Park, and has a few properties that border it's edge. Most significantly, it includes a portion of the former Morris Canal.


Swartswood State Park

Managed by

Acreage: 2472


Main park office: Lat: 41° 4'26.38"N  Long:  74°49'12.29"W

Little Swartswood Lake: Lat:  41° 5'0.85"N Long:  74°49'9.51"W

Duck Pond Trail: Lat:  41° 4'22.07"N Long:  74°49'10.72"W

Dove Island Road: Lat:  41° 4'9.89"N Long:  74°48'41.09"W

Dove Island Road, Duck Pond Trail: Lat:  41° 3'55.31"N Long:  74°49'21.28"W

Grist Mill Trail/Rt 521: Lat:  41° 3'33.36"N Long:  74°51'12.51"W

Willow Crest Lake Trail: Lat:  41° 6'27.37"N Long:  74°50'56.20"W


Duck Pond Multi-Use Trail (Unblazed, 0.6 mile): This paved path provides a level surface for walking, biking, roller blading, skate boarding and is accessible for persons with disabilities. The trail meanders through a forested area along Duck Pond. Wayside exhibits found along the trail provide information on the unique natural features found in the area. A bird blind has been constructed to allow visitors to view birdlife in the area with little disturbance to their habitat. This trail was formerly a through public road, which even had a home on it at one time. The southern portion of this trail is prone to flooding.

Spring Lake Trail (White blazed, 2.8 mile trail): This trail begins at the end of Duck Pond Trail. It is also accessible from the group camping area. This trail follows very close to the edge of a massieve swamp, part of Duck Pond. It then passes through woods and loops back past Frog Ponds, past group camping, and then back to it's beginning. Much of this trail is prone to flooding. A side trail provides additional access from Dove Island Road parking.

Bear Claw Trail (Yellow blazed, 0.8 mile): Beginning at the Duck Pond Trail across from the main Swartswood Lake area, Bear Claw Trail an earthen, hilly path above and parallel to Duck Pond Trail. The trail ends where it meets the paved Duck Pond Trail allowing you to combine the two trails for a full loop back to the parking area, or it may allow for an alternative to the Duck Pond Trail during high water.

Grist Mill Trail (1.5 miles): This is a lollipop loop trail found at the most southern end of Swartswood Lake by the dam. It starts at the historic Keen's grist mill, crosses the dam bridge, and passes by some lovely spots with views of Swartswood Lake.

Unnamed Trail/Camp grounds: This trail leads from Newton Swartswood Road through the camp grounds, then out to the beach area in the state park. It follows some of the camp roads as well as foot path.

Willow Crest Lake Trail: This trail makes a lollipop loop, passing through dense forest and then along the shore of Duck Pond.

Also in Sussex, note there are changes in Wallkill NWR

Wallkill National Wildlife Refuge

Managed by US Fish and Wildlife Service



Timberdoodle Trail Map:

Dagmar Dale Trail Map:

Liberty Loop Trail Map:

Wood Duck Trail Map:


Glenwood Road/Wood Duck Tr: Lat 41°11'38.02"N Long 74°35'7.88"W

Landrud Road/Dagmar Dale Tr: Lat 41°12'24.93"N Long 74°33'39.69"W

Bassetts Bridge Road: Lat 41°15'16.79"N Long 74°32'35.43"W

Kelly Rd: Lat  41°14'37.92"N Long 74°32'56.43"W

Oil City Road near Liberty Lane (NY): Lat 41°17'0.27"N Long 41°17'0.27"N


Wood Duck Nature Trail: Unblazed, 1.5 miles. Parking Lat:  41°11'38.37"N Long:  74°35'8.16"W. This short trail follows the former route of the New York, Susquehanna, and Western Railroad's  Hanford Branch which broke away from the main line at Beaver Lake, then made it's way through Ogdensburg, Franklin, Sussex, and through Wantage to Middletown NY where the Middletown and Unionville Railroad continued.

Now, the trail breaks away from a parking area on Glenwood Road and continues on the old rail line fill over wetlands to a former wooden trestle site over the Wallkill River. Only a few timbers remain of this bridge. The trail is aptly named for the reclusive little duck that makes the sorrounding habitat it's home.

The Hanford Branch leaves public land on the south side of the Wallkill River, and although it is clear much of the way, it is not yet a trail to Franklin and Ogdensburg. From Ogdensburg, it is hikable as part of Hamburg Mt. Wildlife Management Area. To the north, a section of it is now an access road, and a piece runs through Wantage Recreation Fields. A short section of Appalachian Trail runs on the right of way as well.

Dagmar Dale Nature Trail; North: 1.7 miles, blue blazed non standard. South: 1 mile, yellow blazed non standard. Parking off of Glenwood Road: Lat:  41°12'2.91"N Long:  74°33'53.99"W. This trail offers two possible loops. They lead through mostly open fields on a mowed path, so blazing isn't really necessary. There is a fantastic view over the Wallkill Valley near it's northern end. It loops down to the edge of the Wallkill River, then makes it's way back to the refuge headquarters past a little pond.

Liberty Loop Trail: Unblazed except white blazes of Appalachian Trail.  2.5 miles. (parking lat:  41°17'0.29"N, long:  74°31'33.98"W) This trail makes a loop around the former sod farms, beginning in Pine Island NY (Warwick Valley). One mile of this trail is co-aligned with the Appalachian Trail. The eastern north-south portion of the loop follows the abandoned right of way of the Lehigh and New England Railroad (1886-1962). More sections of this are being opened as a trail in different areas. See Long Distance Trails. Note that half this trail and parking are in NY.

Timberdoodle Trail: Unblazed. This trail follows the right of way of the Lehigh and New England Railroad (1886-1962). It is currently incomplete, except for a section between Kelly Road (lat:   41°14'37.85"N, long:  74°32'56.27"W) and Bassett's Bridge Road (lat: 41°15'17.04"N long:  74°32'35.45"W) , a distance of 0.8 mile. Parking at either end.

Sparta Mountain Preserve

Managed by NJ Audobon Society

Acreage: 349



Ryker Lake: Lat 41° 3'0.80"N Long 74°32'58.14"W

Edison Monument lot, Edison Rd: Lat 41° 3'48.99"N Long 74°34'15.28"W


Highlands Trail: A section of the Highlands Trail runs through the Sparta Mountain Preserve. It enters after crossing Glen Ridge Road and continues north along the shore of Ryker Lake, and continues out of the preserve. It connects with trails at Ryker Lake and audobon trails. See Long Distance Trails

Ryker Lake Loop: Blazed with both Audobon Society metal diamond markers and Highlands Trail teal diamonds. A loop can be made around Ryker Lake using both state and Audobon Society land. From the parking area, follow the unmarked path a long the shore of the lake. Cross a foot bridge over the outlet, and the trail leads to the right, looping around the hillside. This returns to the same trail along the lake, leaving these two options. Soon, reach the Highlands Trail with teal diamonds and follow it left on the wider route along the lake. At the north shore of the lake, a diamond marked audobon trail leaves to the left and joins Audobon Trail, marked similarly. A left turn leads back to the parking lot. Another option continues along the Highlands Trail and makes another turn to the left on yet another side trail, and again the left turn leads along Audobon Trail south to the lot.

Audobon Trail: Blazed with diamond shaped audobon markers. This trail leads from the access road to Ryker Lake through the Sparta Mountain Preserve as well as the state WMA lands to the Edison Monument. It follows along the west shore of Ryker Lake, then continues through woods skirting swamp lands. The trail is standard blazed, but poorly maintained. Many blazes are missing, and the trail is not cut back often enough making it often difficult to follow. In addition, almost all trails are marked with the same or very similar markers, making it very tough to figure out locations. Monument Trail joins in on the left, and Audobon Trail continues through a beautiful wetland and over hills heading north. A spur trail marked in the same way leaves to the left, and dead ends at an overlook over a small pond. It is worth the side trip, but can be very confusing for those wishing to hurry through. Be aware of this if there are time constraints. North Entrance Trail will break away on the right toward Edison Ave, while Audobon Trail continues to the parking lot and monument after passing the fenced off old Edison Mines.

North Entrance Trail: This trail follows a woods road, probably an old mine tramway of some sort, from Audobon Trail to Edison Ave.

Monument Trail: Diamond audobon markers, standard blazed. This nice trail stays mostly high and dry when compared to others in the preserve, making it's way over nice hillsides before joining the lower Audobon Trail. This is probably the easiest to follow of the Sparta Mountain Trails, save for the Highlands Trail.

Unmarked trails: Some side trails make for shorter loops and connections to Sparta Mountain Wildlife Management Area. They can be difficult to follow at times. Please use a map and maybe a GPS when attempting to follow these obscure routes.

Sparta Mountain Wildlife Management Area

Managed by NJ Fish, Game, and Wildlife

Acreage: 3281.80

Map south:

Map north:


Ryker Lake: Lat 41° 3'0.80"N Long 74°32'58.14"W

Heaters Pond, Edison Road: Lat 41° 4'22.40"N Long 74°35'5.55"W (note: signage has said this parking is only for Ogdensburg residents, however state maps show it as public parking).

Right side of Rt 23 in Beaver Lake (unlocated), part of Hamburg Mountain WMA, but with access to Sparta Mountain WMA.


Highlands Trail: Teal diamond blazed. A section of the Highlands Trail passes through Sparta Mountain WMA. It enters the property near Ryker Lake and continues north to exit the property onto Newark Pequannock Watershed property. See Long Distance Trails.

Sparta Mountain Audobon Trails: Some of these trails cross between Sparta Mountain Preserve and the state land. See Sparta Mountain Preserve for descriptions.

Heaters Pond: Informal trails pass around this body of water and over the ridge in the vicinity of this pond. They are unmarked for the most part.

Ogden Mine Railroad: Abandoned rail line which stretched from Lake Hopatcong to Edison's mines in Sparta Mountain Preserve. See Long Distance Trails.

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