Sussex County Leaf Peeping

Sussex County is a leaf peeper's paradise. You can spare yourself the time, road miles and money of a New England journey and enjoy brilliant colors and friendly, rural charm in New Jersey's Great Northwest. Sussex County contains six State Parks and one State Forest, accounting for almost 1/3 of the county's land mass. The Kittatinny Mountains stretch north to south along the county's western boundary, and camping, fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing, biking, birding and boating opportunities abound. Picnicking facilities are found throughout the system.

Campsites and/or cabin rentals occur in High Point, Swartswood and Allamuchy Mt. State Parks and Stokes State Forest . One of our best kept secrets is the annual hawk migration that occurs over the Kittatinny Ridge and attracts birders from a tri-state region. Data is recorded daily from Sunrise Mountain by the Sussex Bird Club. A novice hawk watcher will probably find someone with expertise manning the mountain regularly between September and November.

The ridges and valleys throughout the county's 539 square miles, form a canvas of alluring vistas of gold, crimson and mahogany, showing off many species of hardwoods, accented by the deep greem of the native conifers. During the early morning, the valleys exhibit exciting contrasts and interplay between the vibrant foliage and the hues of rock outcrops, fog and evergreens. The splendor usually begins early in October, peaking two weeks later around Columbus Day and continuing into November.

A visitor to Sussex County will find rural charm along many miles of county roads. Be adventurous and travel off the beaten path. Eventually, all roads lead back to a State Highway. And in the meantime, you will be treated to turn of the century dairy barns, farm scenes with cows, horses and sheep grazing peacefully in their fields, fall colors, apple and pumpkin picking patches, hayrides and all our country charm. You may even decide to stay a little longer at one of our bed and breakfasts, or camp under a starlight canopy.

Fall Foliage Tours in Sussex County:

Photo by Herb Watson

Several routes will give the visitor a taste of the rural splendor that is Sussex County. The county boasts vistas that equal any found in New England, especially in the Fall when the mountains glow red, gold and orange and there is a crisp, fresh breeze blowing the leaves on their journeys.

A visit to Sussex County would be incomplete without visiting High Point State Park and Monument, the highest point in New Jersey at 1,803' above sea level. The Monument affords a spectacular 360 degree view of three states and the Delaware River valley. The park entrance is on Route 23 in Wantage Township - approximately 1 1/2 hours from New York City. Hikers have a variety of trails to chose from, including the Appalachian Trail which runs for many miles through High Point and Stokes State Forest. Or, for a shorter trip, there is the Kuser Natural Area with trails through forested areas onto a boardwalk over a bog.

Just north of the High Point State Park entrance, continue north on Route 23 and turn onto Sawmill Road. This pleasant drive will continue through High Point State Park into Stokes State Forest where you can access the Sunrise Mountain Road. Or, travel to Sussex County via Interstate 80 to State Highway 15 to State Highway 206 where a sign points to the Sunrise Mountain Road. This excursion through Stokes offers views similar to New England or the Skyline Drive in Virginia. The road journeys along the Kittatinny Ridge with open vistas into neighboring states. Fall colors usually peak around Columbus Day Weekend, but the swamps show vibrant colors early in September and the ridges will hold their golden hues well into November.

Pick Your Own Produce; Cut Your Own Christmas Trees:

You'll not only enjoy the splendor of Jack Frost's pallet, rich enough to make the greatest painters envious, you'll also have the opportunity to enjoy a rich heritage in agriculture. Farms, barns and cows dot the countryside. Farmstands advertise Jersey Fresh homegrown produce including apples, pumpkins, yellow and butternut squash, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, and sweet corn. Many farms offer harvest hayrides out to the pumpkin fields - perfect for families and children. Watch the apples being pressed and then try fresh apple cider. Halloween activities also figure into the programs at many farms.

For the Holidays, Sussex County offers over three dozen Christmas tree farms to seek out the spruce, fir or pine of your choice. Most farms open in November and continue right up to Christmas. Santa Claus may be found along the way to delight your children, and many farms offer decorated wreaths and a variety of Christmas crafts. There are also sleigh rides (snow permitting!) on selected farms. What a wonderful way to spend a day in the country!

Nearby accommodations and attractions

  • Franklin Mineral Museum
  • "The Fluorescent Mineral Capitol of the World" Fluorescent, local & worldwide minerals, fossils, artifacts, two-level mine replica. New activity "The Adventure Package" includes gem panning, fossil dig and rock collecting! Gift shop, picnic area. Open daily.

    32 Evans Street, Franklin 07416, 973/827-3481

  • Lafayette Mill Antiques Center
  • 55 antique dealers in a rambling 1800's gristmill featuring furniture (traditional to mid-century modern), art, antique advertising, lighting, tools, dolls, china, jewelry - the old, the odd, the unusual. Open daily 10-5, closed Tues. and Wed. Cafe on premises.

    12 Morris Farm Rd., Just off Rt 15, Lafayette 07848, 973/383-0065

  • Harmony Ridge Campground
  • Outstanding family facilities near Culver Lake and Stokes Forest include over 200 sites on 160 acres, cabins, trailers, tent sites, camp store, laundry, hot showers and full range of on-site activities.

    23 Risdon Drive, Branchville 07826, 973/948-4941

  • Silver Canoe and Raft Rentals
  • Canoe, rafts and kayak rentals on the Delaware River. Low rates, group rates, prompt and friendly service. 1 1/2 hr from NYC.

    , Port Jervis, NY 12771, 1-800-724-8342

  • Sussex County Strawberry Farm
  • U-pick strawberries (June), raspberries (late August), and pumpkins (October). Greenhouses with wide selection of hanging baskets and bedding plants. Outdoor wood and poly furniture.

    565 Rt 206 N, Andover 07821, 973/579-5055


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amy h
16 Oct 2015, 15:48
Hello am curious about the foliage this weekend - any recommendations? thank you:)
05 Oct 2014, 14:09
Just wood like know if foliage is like this weekend at high point.
10 Oct 2010, 07:11
Thanks Kelly, that does help...down in Central NJ we have hardly any color yet. Going up to Stokes or Worthington today
10 Oct 2010, 06:30
Hi Ron,\r\n\r\nI live up in Sparta and in fact, I'm taking all of my kids on a day trip in the area today b/c the colors are beautiful!! No, not necessaily at peak just yet, at least in Sparta. But we're about 30 min from High Pt. and I suspect the color is even more abundant there. Hope this helps!
08 Oct 2010, 08:46
Does anyone know what the foliage is like this weekend up there? I know its probably not going to be the best leaf peeping year but is there any color yet?
08 Oct 2010, 07:43
The Pilgram like Village you are referring to is Millbrook Village. I think they are open for a period of time during the year, including fall. Just google Millbrook Village, NJ and it should give you some information there. Have fun!
07 Oct 2010, 17:15
try googling pumpkins farm/sussex, nj\r\nTranquility Farms (bear rt. when exiting rt 80 west at exit 19) has hay rides, corn maze, pick your own pumpkins, sm. petting zoo, fresh produce and plants, etc.
Donna Traylor
07 Oct 2010, 06:08
The first annual Sussex County Harvest Festival will be October 23, 10-5, at the SC Fairgrounds. It will highlight agritourism, ecotourism and arts and heritage tourism. It is a free, family fun day. Contact me via email for more information.\r\nAlso, the SC Farmers Market at the Fairgrounds will run thru 10/30, Saturdays from 9-2.
Kerry L.
02 Sep 2010, 11:35
Last year a group of us happened to run into an activity going on around the town of Stillwater where we were took a bus down to a pilgrim like community where they had a smoke hous, corn husk dolls, how pilgrims made applebutter, etc. We were wondering when it would be happening again this year and do not know how to find it again. Do you have any information about it? It was in October of last year.
deborah bennett
17 Aug 2010, 10:32
hello, im looking for a great pumkin festival or fall festival in sussex county ,are there any around for weekend of 10/16/10.not having any luck under festivals.
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