Hike Distance: 6.3 miles
Trails: Ridge, Roaring Brook Trail
After the number of people I saw in the parks last week, I thought I would find something a little more off the beaten path, so to say. For this trip, I headed to Sourland Mountain Preserve, and the famed Devil’s Half Acre. Sourland Preserve is known for its bouldering, both in the Devil’s Half Acre and by the Roaring Brook. There were more cars in the parking lot at 9:00 a.m. than I expected but still plenty of spaces.
Trails are mostly dirt, with some roots, and lots and lots of rocks.
After about 100 yards, the trails would be exclusively
And that is not a lot, by comparison.
The boulders in the Devil’s Half Acre were huge, and there were lots of people all over them. I did not partake: a) there were too many people, not many masked, and b) I wasn’t really dressed for it. But it was cool to see. The trails around these boulders were not well marked, as evidence by my map. If you look at the northern-most part of my map, you’ll see where it appears I went around in circles. I did. AllTrails didn’t really help either. I almost broke out the compass. Once I figured out where to go, it was smooth sailing from then on.
After turning on the Roaring Brook trail, the path became mostly rock.
From here to the end there were numerous small creek crossing that entailed fairly easy rock hopping. It was also at this point that the sun became blazing hot. Surprisingly, I had to pass through, not one, but two chain link fences – I suspect the same fence in two locations. And after looking at the map, my guess is the fence is the town border. Also, I had to cut across a pipeline cut twice.
When the Roaring Brook meets back with the Ridge trail it is mostly downhill and more level terrain. At this point I started meeting more people, probably 80/20 masked; and I came across a group with unleashed dogs.
Getting back to the parking lot around noon I noticed it was packed. In fact, closed. I’m sure a great many of the people were bouldering, as I did not see many people on the trails away from the big rocks. People by the lake were not social distancing. And at least one car followed my back to my car for my space. While it was great in the woods, the parking lot was another story all together. This was a great hike, though, and I would definitely come back.