Allumuchy State Park – Allumuchy and North Allumuchy Mountain

Park Site

Trail Map:  here and here

Hike Distance: 7.65 Miles

Trails:  White, Dan Beard, Ditch/Cardiac (and possibly others that I didn’t realize)

My Map:

My goal for this hike was to summit both Allumuchy Mountain and North Allumuchy Mountain.  I didn’t have a real plan for that, because I didn’t have a map that showed the definitive location, or a specific trail for reaching the summits.  AllTrails showed an approximate location.  Caltopo showed the mountains, but not trail names or colors.  My plan changed multiple times on-trail; which I fully admit is not the smartest way to plan and manage a hike.

In doing the research ahead of time, I frequently read that there are many trails in the park, many not blazed or listed on the maps; and that bikes were frequent here (I saw four the whole day.)  I will reiterate what I’ve read:  hike here with a good map.  More than once I ended up on a bike trail that was not where I wanted to be.  Also, the Allumuchy Scout camp is located within the park, and you are not supposed to enter.

I parked just off Route 517 on Stuyvesant Road which is a rutted dirt road with large potholes.  I was the third car there, and there were easily 10+ cars when I left, with more coming.  I saw no other hikers the whole day, there was plenty of solitude.  I saw four bikes, two separately, then a group of two went by while I was eating lunch.  At the southern end of my hike I could hear the cars on Route 80, so there is some road noise – but I only heard it near that southern section.

Right off the bat there was a great patch of Perriwinkles.

I started off on White, and for the most part the trail itself was relatively wide and composed of soft dirt.  I was surprised in that the trails were not non-stop rocks like so much of north Jersey.  In many portions of the White trail there are switchbacks on the slopes, many rutted out from mountain bikes.  There are numerous unblazed and un-named trails that junction with white.  The main park trail junctions are fairly well-marked with trail names and permitted uses.

Dutchman’s breeches

After a little while on White, I came across a small ruin; it’s not listed on any of the maps I had.

Violet-Toothed Polypore

In many locations around the park I ran into trees just covered with Fomes, some white, and some dark colored.  I couldn’t really identify which versions I stumbled upon, some were pretty big.  Many of the trees looked like this:

Following White, I came to a trail junction that I had heard about, but was not on the park map.  (The junction shows up in a Caltopo map and is marked in AllTrails.)  A sign called out a junction with the Dan Beard trail.

You can see to the left of the kiosk a well-defined trail (albeit of rock right there) that heads in a south westerly direction.  Looking at AllTrails, it showed that this trail would go right over the top of North Allumuchy mountain.  However, I knew I was right on the edge of the scout camp.  I called the audible, and headed off – knowing that I didn’t want to wander into the camp grounds.  And really, if this trail was off limits, there should have been a sign or barrier.

Hexagonal Core Polypore

The Dan Beard trail is well defined, though lots of un-named/unblazed trails split off; and it was here I saw to bike riders.  The trail is not blazed per-se, but with the number of Posted signs (on my left) it was easy to follow the boundary of the camp.  To my right appeared to be State Park land, and to my left appeared to be the camp.  My rationale was I would be ok as long as I did not step over that invisible line that went from posted sign to posted sign.  Here’s what it looked like:

Signs were literally almost every twenty feet.

I came to a boulder with a whole patch of Daffodils right near the top of North Allumuchy Mountain.

There was not a view at the top, and the same goes for Allumuchy mountain; there was no view to speak of.  However, both mountains are on the NJ1K list.  It was nice to be able to summit them both.

My nomination for New Jersey’s plant:

Garlic Mustard
Turkey Tail

I used AllTrails to guess where the actual top of North Allumuchy mountain was:

Before junctioning with the Ditch/Cardiac trail, the Dan Beard trail took a turn or two that seemed to head into the camp area.  However, I still had posted signs to my left.  And there were a couple unmarked trails that seemed to head towards  Route 80.

Round-leaved Violets
Rue Anemone
Wintergreen

I finally met up with the purple-blazed Ditch/Cardiac trail,  and it was good to be “back on the map.”

Mayapple

After crossing a small stream I came to a  small pine grove, where it was extremely quiet inside.  The trail goes through the pine grove, around the other side, before cutting back inside.

I took purple back to white.  Near the exit of the park, I heard loud motors and was passed by dirt bike and rider on a quad.  I’m pretty sure motorized bikes are not allowed in the park.  And it explains why some of the ruts of mud had really deep tracks.

For solitude this was a great hike.  I’d like to come back to do the area by Waterloo village or the by Deer Lake.  However, I will definitely have a route set out and have the appropriate maps.

Blazes:

I have no idea what this correlates to:

Hiked:  4/10/2021

Baldpate Mountain

Park Site

Trail Map

Hike Distance: 7.21 Miles

Trails:  Summit Trail (Blue), NW Loop (Red), Ridge Trail (White), Kuser (Green), Cooper Hill (Orange)

My Map:

After two weeks of cold and rain, it was time to get out on the trails.  Leaving my house it was cloudy and about 45.  The sun would come out as I crested Baldpate mountain and the temperature would warm up to about 60 making for some perfect hiking weather.

This hike was the perfect warm-up, even though I I did a good stretch of the Delaware and Raritan Canal two weeks ago.  Baldpate Mountain, at Ted Stiles Preserve, has some minor elevation, very minor scrambling, but mostly flat dirt trails.  Be warned, though, the northern east-west section of the NW Loop had sections with very deep mud.  I also encountered mud on the Kuser  and Cooper Hill trail where very small streams flow down the middle of the trail.  Trails can be used by bicycles (I saw none) and horses (I saw one.)

Right off the bat I saw what appears to grow all over Mercer County, garlic mustard.

On both sides of the trail, all over the park is plenty of Multiflora Rose, an invasive species.  And this is all over.

A little further, I found some fungi in the rose bush, Little Nest Polypore.

Little Nest Polypore

And when the sun peeked out from behind the clouds for an instant, I saw:

cut leaved Toothwort

All this was found on the beginning of the Summit Trail.  I hadn’t gone far.  The trail winds up Strawberry Hill, and there are a couple of good scrambles.

Before reaching the Strawberry Hill Lodge, there was more to see.

Bloodroot (before the sun came out)
Lesser Calendine
Periwinkle
Siberian Squill

Once at the top I explored the grounds of the Strawberry Hill Lodge – which looks like a great reception center on expansive grounds and a view of the Delaware River (though maybe not with leaves on the trees.)

Heading to the NW Loop, I stumbled across a patch of Virginia Bluebells.

Virginia Bluebells

I had to bushwack around some serious mud while on the NW Loop.  And, it climbs steeply to get back to the Ridge Trail.  The Ridge Trail is mostly flat, somewhat-wide packed dirt.

Every so often I ran into unblazed trails with an ominous sign.

Where the Summit Trail junctions with the Ridge Trail are a couple of old farm buildings, part of the Welling/Burd Farmstead.  On the way back, I would turn here to visit the pond.

Just before cresting Baldpate Mountain, I came across an area with many trees cut down.  I have no idea for the reason, and some of the trees looked really tall.

Right after this I was passed by a rider on a horse.

The Ridge Trail ends at a parking lot, and when I got there the sun was out, and there were two horse trailers parked.  A power cut runs through the parking lot, I took the Kuser trail which followed the cut for a short while.

Dafodil
False Turkey Tail
Bloodroot (in the sun)

The Cooper Hill trail climbs up to junction with the Ridge Trail (in order to make my way back.)  Along the way I came across the ruins of an old house.

I took the Ridge Trail all the way back to the farm buildings and turned left on the Summit trail headed towards a pond.  Behind a building on the pond is a secluded concrete slab which made the perfect place for lunch.  People passed by on the Summit Trail, and probably had no idea I was there.   The fish were picking the insects off the water’s surface, and frogs were croaking – the perfect spot for lunch.

After lunch it was a quick jaunt down the Summit Trail back to the car.

Turkey Tail

This is a great place to hike, there are enough trails to make loops of any mileage.  Do note that there are some muddy spots.  And while there are some ascents and descents, it’s nothing too strenuous.  The trails are a pleasure to walk on, and there is ample signage.  I got there by about 8:30 in the morning and was the fourth car in the lot.  When I returned, the lot was full.

Ticks: 0

Blazes:

Hiked:  4/4/2021

Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park (part 2) – Washington’s Crossing to Scudders Falls

Park Site

Trail Map

Hike Distance: 5.22 miles

Trails:  the towpath

My Map:

I reached the parking lot at Washington’s Crossing right around noon, and it wasn’t too packed.  Lots of people were making their way to Washington’s Crossing State Park (which I had hiked at the end of January.)  After eating a quick lunch it was off to hike the towpath.

This section of the hike uses the towpath on the western side of the canal.  There is high sun exposure (on a sunny day) so be prepared with a hat and plenty of water.  Like my previous hike, the towpath is crushed gravel and flat.  The only real ascent/descent was at Scudders Falls.

The hike starts out with a great shot of the bridge to Pennsylvania.

For this portion of the hike, you are no more than ten or so feet from the canal, and Route 29 is on the other side.  You will hear plenty of road noise from Route 29 like before, as it is a fairly busy road.

This section of the canal flows pretty slow, and makes a great home for ducks and geese.  I saw signs that this section is stocked with trout, no one was fishing though.

Just before Route 29 junctions with Interstate 295, you will reach the Scudders Falls parking lot.  A small downhill road will take you right up to the falls.  It’s fairly fast moving water and there are plenty of signs warning on the dangers of swimming.

A shot of the standing waves:

Kayakers must love this in warmer weather.

How the heck did the log get up in the tree?

I mean, I think I know the answer, but the water must have been pretty high.

Like the last hike, it was straight back to the car using the same trail.

I found this section of the trail to be different from earlier in the day; there was lots more sun, but surprisingly less people on this section.  I imagine it gets more crowded in the summer.

Ticks: 0

Hiked:  3/13/2021

Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park (part 1) – Bull’s Island to Prallsville Mills

Park Site

Trail Map

Hike Distance: 5.98 miles

My Map:

February was a busy month, and received much snow.  Having gotten some hiking gifts form the holidays, I waited for the first good weekend day.  There is store nearby that sells hiking and camping supplies of which I have been the beneficiary (Canyon Pass Provisions) and today was the day to put them to the test.  When I figure out how I’ll handle product reviews, I’ll start including them here.

This is part 1, part 2 will be included in the next post.

The pandemic has kept me busy with work and unable to hike.  I figured, before I start tackling more challenging terrain I had better get back into hiking shape.  A jaunt down the Delaware and Raritan Canal towpath should do just the trick.

I started at Bull’s Island recreation center and immediately was presented by the canal.

For this section of the hike, you will hike on the Eastern side of the canal.  The trail is flat and shaded in this section with benches every so often.

If you are looking for silence, this is not the hike for you.  On your left (for the whole hike) will be Route 29, which is fairly busy. Sometimes you are 10 feet from the road, sometimes a little more.  But, it is always there, and there is always traffic.  The canal will be on your right, and sometimes a handful of yards away, and sometimes you cannot even see it.

Spring is just starting, so there is not much green.  I did find this interesting  mile marker which I believe from an old route.

This section of the trail is actually routed over the old Delaware & Belvidere railbed, though I did not see evidence of that.  The trail is crushed gravel and makes for easy walking.  There are signs every so often with explanations of  how the canal worked and archaeological finds.

I reached Prallsville Mills earlier than I anticipated, and none of the buildings were open.  This means I’ll be back another day to visit.

As I reached Prallsville Mills earlier than expected, I decided to beast it back to the car and do a second section of the D&R Canal that I was saving for a second day.

This is a great park and a long trail (almost 70 miles) and was a perfect way to get back into hiking shape.  You cannot really get lost, there’s one trail.  On this section of the trail I passed a bunch of people walking and numerous bikes, but it was not overly crowded – even on a gorgeous sunny day.

Ticks:  0

Blazes:  (none, but mile markers every so often.)

Hiked:  3/13/2021

Goat Hill Preserve – Goat Hill Overlook

Park Site – a short note here.  There were state park signs throughout the preserve, and I’ve read that the park is part of Washington Crossing State Park.  However, these trails are not on the Washington State Park map.

Trail Map

Hike Distance:  2.43 miles

Trails:  Main, Yellow, White, Red

My Map:

I’m going to preface this by saying I got the creepiest vibes while hiking here.  I hiked these trails right after hiking in Washington Crossing State Park, as I knew this would be a relatively short hike.  From the parking lot, you can take the main trail straight to the overlook.  However, I wanted some miles so made an immediate left on the yellow trail.

And right off the bat, there was fungus.

Mossy Maze Polypore
False Turkey Tail

The Yellow Trail winds its way to the White Trail, which you take to get back to Goat Hill Overlook.  Branching off the White trail every so often are short trails to rocks and overlooks.  These short spur trails are blazed red.

You can just barely make out Bowmans Tower in the middle of the picture.  It was much easier to see while there.

It was at this point I started getting weird vibes.  While walking down the White Trail I came across this abandoned camp site, right at the junction of one of the Red Trail spurs.

After visiting the rocks, I took a closer look at what was at the camp.  A sleeping bag was rolled up.  There is a demolished tent (a general two-person pup tent that you would get at a big box store) likely demolished by the wind.  Underneath the tent was a (vacant) mummy sleeping bag, an assortment of sardines and other canned food, and some wire (??)  There was a crate, with an empty beer can, an empty wine bottle, and one boot.

I didn’t disturb a thing, only making sure I didn’t come across a body.  The whole camp looks like it has been there a couple of days, and there was NO ONE around.  Admittedly, it was creepy.

When I didn’t see anyone, or the signs of anyone, I headed off.  I started down the next spur to see what view the overlook provided.  Turning around to come back, I was greeted with the following:

Yes, that appears to be an “altar” in a grotto.  Or maybe I was imagining it.  After the campsite, I wasn’t too much in the mood to find out.

Back to the White Trail to head to Goat Hill Overlook.

At another Red Trail junction, I could faintly make out something in the woods.

While impressive, after the abandoned campsite and Satan’s Grotto, I noped out of there eventually reaching the Goat Hill Overlook.

It was at this location that scouts for both Washington’s army and Corwalis’ army spied upon the opposition during the war.

I returned to my car down the main path, but not before I ran into the Turkey Vultures of Doom.

Fortunately, it is five minutes to the car.

I certainly would have enjoyed this more a) if it were about 20 degrees warmer, and b) the creepy vibes were not off the charts.  However, this is a great little preserve with a small lot.  There are numerous No Parking signs along the road to the parking lot, and I imagine it gets pretty busy in better conditions.

Ticks: 0

Blazes:

Hiked:  1/23/2021

Washington Crossing State Park

Park Site

Trail Map

Hike Distance:  4.8 miles

Trails:  Continental Lane, Red Dot, Green Dot, Blue Dot, Red, Yellow Dot

My Map:

First hike of the new year.  And it was cold and very windy, with temperatures around 35.  Fortunately, the sun was out most of the time, and while in the trees, the wind was not that bad.

With the temperatures and the wind, there were very few people out.

I parked by the visitor’s center, but parked in the back of the lot, not knowing where the trail head was located.  Of course, I parked as far away from the trail as possible.  So, walking towards the visitor’s center / museum, I looked for the trail and came across Continental Lane; the route that Washington’s army took after crossing the Delaware River.

Continental Lane is an easy walk.

Not too far down, I found my first instance of green, Garlic Mustard.  And this stuff was growing all over the place.  I will say, that if the Continental Army wanted, they had plenty of spices to add to their meals.

Garlic Mustard

Instead of turning onto Red Dot (which I eventually would,) I followed Continental Lane to the observation lookout.

This overlooked the location where Washington’s army came ashore.  I followed the Green Dot trail to the pedestrian bridge, and crossed over Route 29 – though I did not go all way to the D&R Canal (a trip for another day.)

I headed back to the Red Dot.

American Holly
Thistle

I made my way to the Nature Center, and took the Red trail counter clockwise.  After passing the Blue trail, I saw a small cut-through trail that took me to the Blue Dot trail, and took that.

It was eerie walking through Cedar groves when the wind would start howling.  You could hear the squeaking of trees as they leaned against other trees.  And more than one time I heard something crash, falling from the trees.

Hairy Bracket Fungi

The Yellow Dot trail paralleled Steele Run (southern branch) for quite a while.

At one point there was a rock hop across Steele Run, which I thought odd, as there were bridges throughout the rest of the park.  Before joining up with Continental Lane, the trail passed by an open outdoor ampitheater.

You have to cross the road to reach the end of the Yellow Dot trail, though you could follow the road back to your car.  Turning around after crossing the road gave you a glimpse of the arched bridge.

There is lots of history at the park, and I wish the visitor’s center was open in order to see more of the artifacts.  This was definitely a good hike to start the year on, and I’ll definitely be back to hike portions of the D&R Canal.

Ticks:  0

Blazes (I missed getting the Blue Dot)

Hiked:  1/23/2021

Clayton Park

Park Site

Trail Map – surprisingly, there were printed brochures

Hike Distance:  6.09 miles

Trails – all (Glen Trail, Bridges Trail, Clayton Fields Trail, Doctor’s Creek, and Old Forge Trail)

My Map:

I wanted to do something shorter and close to home, so off to Clayton Park, a Monmouth County Park.  While a typical Monmouth county park, with very little signage or blazing, the trails were wide, dirt, with leaf covering and some roots.  It was nice to not have rocks.  Be warned though, there are LOTS of mountain bikes.

You can see by my map that I hiked almost the entire park, I tried not to double-back, but there were two spots I had to.  You really can’t get lost, and you can make as many loops as you want.  Bring a paper map or GPS to guide you around the unmarked trails.

With all the brown, it would be easier to pick out plants and mushrooms.

Bracket Fungi
Japanese Honeysuckle

I did not see one blaze in the park.  The closest thing to a blaze are the signs at trail junctions.

Greater Celandine
Garlic Mustard

There is very little elevation, there are a couple of hills to ascend and descend.

Stinking Orange Oyster

I found some of my favorite, and I never just find one.  Trees and logs are always covered with them.

Turkey Tail
Christmas Fern

Striped Wintergreen

I walked a good portion of the Clayton Fields Trail though I did not walk to the lake.

And I ended up going around the pond twice.

Ticks: 0

Hiked:  11/27/2020

Terrace Pond – West Loop

Park Site – a note here:  The trails are located in Wawayanda State Park, however they appear on the Abram Hewitt map.

Trail Map – here is the official map, linked to the site.  However, trails have been re-blazed.  This map is much better (until the official map is updated.)

Hike  Distance:  4.9 miles

Trails:  Terrace Pond Loop (Yellow)

My Map:

The weather was supposed to be nice, with rain coming in the week, so I figured I would head out again.  When I reached the pond, with the sun out, it was pretty hot.  But, overcast moved in, and the temperature dropped though out the day.  I did this hike clockwise, which put the scrambling and the ups and downs at the beginning of the hike.  As you move away from the pond, you will go downhill and finish up on a woods road, and a smaller trail.

A note about the pond, swimming is NOT allowed, not that I had planned it.  There is ample signage both at the trailhead and at the pond.    Bear in mind that much of the edge of the pond is surrounded by rock and if you get in trouble, search and rescue will take a while to reach you.  While I was at the pond, it was starting to fill up with people – hiking just to the pond is a nice hike.

A note on parking:  I got to drive on New Jersey’s most haunted road.  I had read about this road often enough in Weird NJ, so it was fun to actually visit this landmark.  I can safely say I didn’t experience anything.  Park in lot P-7, when I arrived at 9:00 in the morning I was the third car; when I returned a little after 12:00, the lot was packed.  Walk across the street to the trailhead.

The new blazes really stand out, and are spaced appropriately.  They’re easy to see – maybe because they are so new.  The hike starts out on nice wide trails, and early on you will cross some streams.

The big rocks are a nice touch.

The Ents are still asleep.

After a short distance, you will arrive at a power-cut, make a right, and head up.

Puddingstone!

You won’t go up the whole hill, but will turn part way up.  At that turn is a nice view.

There will be a couple of good scrambles before you reach the pond.

From the top of this scramble, there is another nice view.

With leaves down, it’s easier to pick out anything not brown.  Unfortunately, no mushrooms on this hike.

Rock Greenshield Lichen
Smooth Rock Tripe
Eastern Teaberry

Just before reaching the pond, there will be a good-sized scramble that ends at this fin-shaped rock.

The trail goes around the rock, but you can scramble to the top for a great view.  I did not.  There’s not a lot to stand on, and a sheer drop on the other side.  Crawling most of the way to the top, I can vouch that the view is nice.

More puddingstone

Eventually you will reach the pond, and connect with the Circular Trail (White.)  I put the pond about a third of the way into the hike.  While there is some minor scrambling after the pond, you’re mostly done with the hard stuff.

After leaving the pond, and going over some rocks, I came to this smallish cave.  You can see that it goes back a bit, and there’s water; but I wasn’t willing to find out who might be napping in there.

Haircap Moss

There were a couple of sections of the trail that were just perfect to walk…wide dirt trails covered in pine needles.

Desiccated puffball

Eventually the trail will wind down to a swamp, and join a woods road.  You will go over three drainage pipes, that form small cascades across the road from the swamp.

Follow the woods road for a while.

Bracket fungi

Eventually, the road will veer left, with the trail making a hard right, and becoming more of a trail than a road.  You will follow this back to the trailhead.

Flat-Branched Tree Club-Moss

Just before descending to the trailhead there is a good-sized Rhododendron tunnel to pass through.

This is another great hike.  I may attempt the northern loop in the future as a new trail has been cut to form a true loop.  I can imagine this hike would be much more crowded in the summer and nicer weather.  Because of the popularity of the pond, I did come across more people, but not the insane crowds on some of my previous hikes.

Ticks: 0

Blazes:

Hiked:  11/21/2020

Point Mountain

Park Site  (northern section)

Trail Map

Hike Distance:  6.9 miles

Tails:  Orange, White, Blue (northern section), Red, Blue (central section)  (The brochures have actual trail names, I’ve just used the colors from the trail map.)

My map:

Point Mountain has been a place I’ve been to a couple of times as I dropped off and picked up my daughter from Camp Bernie.  It was time to climb to the viewpoint and explore the park.  Arriving at the trailhead, it was in the mid 40s, yet when I reached the viewpoint, it was already in the upper 60s.  The sun felt great, and I’m not going to complain about 70 degree weather the first weekend in November.

I have some mixed emotions about this hike, which I’ll get to.  However, know that practically all of the leaves are down (which hasn’t happened yet at home.)  This was a blessing and curse – the curse to be revealed later.  However, as the ground and surroundings are brown, anything non-brown became picture-worthy.

From the trailhead, start on blue (for a very short time) until orange splits off.

American Wintergreen
Resinous Polypore
Christmas Fern

And those were just within the first 100 feet.

Orange splits off, and you can see what you will be in for as the trail works its way up to the top.

Ultimately, you will wind your way around to the right, and come up the shoulder.  Once to the top, there are numerous viewpoints looking north over the farmlands.

The Orange trail leaves and meanders northeast along the ridge.  You’ll see a couple of rocks to scramble out on for more viewpoints.

Garlic Mustard

The ridge walk was especially pleasant as temperatures had really warmed up.  The trail was easy to follow and you can see views off to your left.  To the right is all forest and an army of squirrels gathering food for the winter.

As you descend, you will reach an area with a small stream crossing.

I took the White trail north heading into the Northern Section of the park.  This trail was well marked and easily followed.  I had read that there were sections that were overgrown, I did not find that to be the case today.  As the trail emerges by Penwell Road and a creek, I found these Turkey  Tail fungi.

 

Spotted Wintergreen

This tree was covered with Turkey Tail.

The trail comes out on Penwell Road and it is not immediately obvious where to go.  Cross the road, and head to the left.  There is a private driveway, with a “No Outlet” sign.  Just to the right is a large cairn marking the continuation of the trail.

Head up.  It’s another climb.  And at this point, on this day, all the leaves were down.  I felt like I was wading through water.  The leaves were knee-deep in some parts, and it was very easy to lose the trail.  I’m pretty sure I was off trail quite a bit.  Essentially, I hiked blaze-to-blaze, when I saw the next blaze, I walked to it whether the trail could be seen or not.  And, it was very loud, with all the leaves.  Coming down I figured would be treacherous.

I took the White, which crested the mountain, then descended, to the Blue, to the Red, which connected back to the white.  On the red you go through a large stone wall.

Funeral Bell Mushrooms

Don’t eat those…they’re toxic.

I backtracked on white to eventually get off the mountain, and head back to the central section of the park.  What I found interesting is there a section of the white trail where it appears that someone walked with a portable blower and blew off the leaves.  It’s only for about 100 feet or so, and you can see where this person’s trail heads back towards private property.  It was a welcome, brief, respite from the noise.

Back in the central section of the park, I continued on Orange until it joined with Blue – which paralleled the Muscunetcong River.

While walking this section there are many nice rocks to sit on, take a break, and watch the river flow by.

Canadian Wild Ginger

The Blue trail splits, taking the left fork will take you back to where you parked.  I went right and followed the river a bit more.  Eventually the bridge comes into view.

Clustered Black Snake Root

I decided to cross the road by the bridge, and finish up that last section of the blue trail.  You can see by my map that I didn’t finish the whole trail.  There was a huge blowdown obscuring the path.  Also, this section is wildly overgrown, and you don’t want to go off trail.  I’m sure I picked up a hitchhiker here.  On my way back, there were so many leaves down, that I’m sure I was off trail in spots.

Thin-wall Mazed Polypore

The lot was full when I reached it after finishing the Blue trail.  And it was warm, in the 70s by now.  All in all, I really enjoyed the Central Section of the park.  I do not think I would hike the northern section unless it is before the leaves dropping.  I did not see a single person on this hike until I reached the river, and back at the lot.  I would definitely hike to the viewpoint again.  Trails were well marked, and aside for the overgrowth and leaves, were easy to follow.

Ticks: 1

Blazes:

Northern Section
Northern Section

Hiked:  11/7/2020

Mt. Tammany

Park Site

Trail Map

Hike Distance:  3.77 Miles

Trails:  Red Dot (Mt. Tammany), Blue (Pahaquarry), Green (Dunfield Creek), White (Appalachian)

My Map:

Nothing says Fall like driving north on Routes 31 and 46 north of Route 78.  The colors, the farmstands, the cool air; it’s all there.  This was not my intended destination, but I figured I would give it a whirl since my initial destination was before this, and I figured if the lots were full I could go back to where I initially intended to go.  I got lucky.

It was in the 40s when I left, and it was probably 50 when I got back to my car after the hike.  The top of Mt. Tammany was definitely cooler.

Be warned.  The lots fill up fast on a weekend. I just missed getting into the lot by the trailhead by one car.  So, it was down to exit one, go under 80, and back to the visitor’s center; which, by my arrival had plenty of spots left.  However, I had a good half-mile walk to the trailhead.  Do not park on 80.

I have fond memories of hiking Mt. Tammany (and Mt. Minsi) back when I was much younger, but it had been a long long time since I was last here.  The visitor’s center seemed very different (it wasn’t open for obvious reasons) from when I was here last.

Even though I was early (9:00 a.m.) the Red Dot trail was crowded going up.  That’s an understatement.  I felt like I was in a conga line and I thought back to Stairway to Heaven a couple of weeks ago.  So, you won’t see many pictures of the way up.  In fact, I wore a mask almost the entirety of the ascent.  You will see all types of people heading up.

The overlook on the shoulder still afforded a great picture.

As I mentioned, it has been a long time since I was last here.  While there was lots of scrambling on the way up, there was a particular rock I remembered, and the trail turned left just before that rock.  I feel like the trail has been re-routed.  What seemed new to me was a real long scramble to a rock-strewn trail to the top.  I have vague recollections of a forest walk before coming to the top that I did not pass through.

Honey Mushroom

It took me about an hour to reach the top, due mainly to having to stop and wait for the line in front of me to make it up the rocks.  Once to the top, you can’t help but take the iconic picture:

Mt. Minsi

It was very crowded at the top, and much colder.  I stayed to eat a little (it was only 10:00) and enjoy the view.  Then it was off before the rest of the crowd got there.

I took the Blue trail back down, and for the most part the trail was exactly as I remembered it.  Fortunately, I had the trail mostly to myself, which allowed me to grab some pictures.

The ridge walk is pleasant, before it heads downhill.

And then, it’s all downhill from there.  Welcome to New Jersey trails:

Eastern Teaberry

I stepped off the trail to let some hikers ascend, and found the following off trail:

I have no idea what this is
Wintergreen

On the way down I came to a section where all the leaves were down.  This area is about a week ahead of where I live in terms of colors and leaves on the trees.

Stump puffballs

Eventually, I merged with the Green (Dunfield Creek) trail.  I’ve always liked hiking by Dunfield Creek. It’s a little darker, as the sun is blocked, and the sounds of the creek follow you in either direction.  Plus, the trail is much flatter, with less rocks.

Looking up the bluffs on the other side of the creek
Bracket Fungus

Just before the parking lot, there was a grove of brightly-colored trees.

This is a fun hike, the view is definitely worth it.  I could do without the crowds, and have only myself to blame; as I called an audible to come in the first place.  Make sure you either arrive early or come on a weekday.  When I got back to the visitor’s center, every space was full, including along the visitor’s center road (this was around noon.)

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Hiked:  10/25/2020