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The Fine Points of Delaware Water Gap Trails and Hikes

Hiking The Gap

The famous notch that characterizes Warren County's western skyline is where the Kittatinny Mountains have given way to eons of gentle persuasion by the Delaware River, creating one of the most majestic of New Jersey's natural features between Mount Tammany and Mount Minsi in Pennsylvania. Because of the philanthropic tendencies of a family named Worthington, and the accidents of history that created the National Recreation Area here, the confluence of water and earth at the Delaware Water Gap promises hikers a bounty of blissful steps through exquisite terrain.

The view from Indian Head atop Mt. Tammany at the point of the Gap
overlooking the Delaware River.

You get to the Water Gap Mountain from either Worthington State Park, the Old Mine Road in the National Recreation Area, or from Blairstown on the east side. Once a family estate, Worthington State Forest comprises almost 6,000 acres extending about seven miles along the Kittatinny Ridge. It lies within the Recreation Area, originally condemned in the 1960s to be a gigantic reservoir, and which extends another 70,000 acres into Sussex County and the Pennsylvania Pocono region.

The area proximate to the Gap contains somewhere close to 70 miles of trails which lead hikers to breathtaking overlooks, sublime glens and ravines, rugged outcroppings, a glacial lake, ancient copper mines and endless hours of serenity. The most spectacular view is offered immediately from the Worthington access off Route 80, a short but vigorous hike (including one 30 foot high rock climb) up the Red Dot Trail to the top of Mt. Tammany at the point of the Gap. The Red Dot is the 1.5 mile rim trail leading to the peak and then to a fire road along the eastern edge of the Kittatinny ridge.

The Blue Dot trail takes you to the same spot along a longer (2 .5 mi.) but less strenuous interior route stemming from the Appalachian Trail, also accessed from the parking lots at Worthington. When you reach the top of the Indian Head formation you are about 1200 feet above the river and can look across to the continuing ridge in PA and Southwest along the valley to Scotts Mountain near Phillipsburg, down to Washington and sometimes about 40 miles all the way to Glen Gardner in Hunterdon County. Hikers can go up one way and down another for an exhilarating loop.



View over Warren County from the AT.

A section of the 2,000 mile, Maine to Georgia, Appalachian Trail runs right over the top of the ridge, acting kind of like Main Street in this prime Kittatinny neighborhood. Its about 3 1/2 miles from the Interstate up to the Sunfish Pond natural area, and the beautiful glacial lake makes a perfect anchor for a long afternoon's walk above the Dunnfield Creek ravine. Beyond the pond the AT provides more spectacular views along the seven mile stretch to Millbrook Road. The trail crosses an area called Raccoon Ridge near the Upper Yards Creek Reservoir facility above Blairstown. A narrow razor-back where a ridge ends, Raccoon Ridge is one of the few spots that affords views down to the river to the west and broad vistas to the east. You can also access this popular area via the Coppermine Trail or Kaiser Trail from the Old Mine Road in the Recreation Area. Other routes from the Old Mine Road include the Garvey Springs and Sunfish Drainage Trails, so hikers can travel loops of various lengths and difficulty.


You can also walk five miles from Indian Head along the Kittatinny eastern edge on Mt. Tammany Fire Road to the relatively flat Turquoise Trail, over to the Sunfish Pond fire road and into the Raccoon Ridge area. This trail ends at a fence barricading the Upper Yards Creek pumping facility. Obey the rules and do not cross the fence; for if you do at the wrong time- the moment water is released from the top impoundment to the lower- you may end up as a fine red mist spewing from the pumped storage generating turbines. From here you can finish the 14 mile loop following the Dunnfield Creek trail back down the gorgeous ravine, accentuated by serene pools and glorious forest. Sharp eyes might detect the remnants of a foundation- there was once a sawmill here. In fact, once upon a time there was barely a tree left on these mountains-- all gone to feed the forges and furnaces. Many of these trails are the descendants of logging roads. Or they have been more recently born of fire-fighting efforts in the forest.

If you enter the park on the Old Mine Road, right before the bridge over the Delaware, you bear right and meet the 3-minute light which meters traffic along a narrow stretch of road, able to handle only one lane of traffic. You can park here and access the Karamack Trail, an abandoned railroad bed that offers a flat, packed cinder path, accessible even to a wheelchair along some of its lovely contour along the river. Another mile up the Old Mine Road brings you to the Fairview Hiking Area and the Beulahland Trail, an alternate path up to the AT and Sunfish Pond. Another alternate up the western side of the ridge is the Douglas Trail, which begins about 4 miles north of Route 80 and hits the AT just south of Sunfish Pond. You can walk along the west side of the pond and hook up with the Garvey Springs to head back down to Old Mine Road for a nice 4.3 mile loop.



VanCampens Glen

Coppermines Trail, named after the remnants of the Dutch mines dating from the 1600s, begins almost 8 miles down the Old Mine Road and runs to the AT just south of the Mohican Outdoor Center, an old camp now operated by the Appalachian Mountain Club. The camp sits on Catfish Pond, a few miles north of Sunfish Pond and the Yards Creek area, and from which you can begin another loop around what is called the Rattlesnake Swamp. These trails are also easily accessible from the east at Blairstown's Mohican Road and from Route 602 at Millbrook Village to the north. The Mohican Center sponsors a series of hikes all over the Park during the summer. (See our calendar or call 908/362-5670.

Back down at the Old Mine Road you can pull off and get into Van Campens Glen which, for good reason, is among the most popular places near the Gap. Here it is the interior scenery that is spectacular as the cool beauty of the brook brings you to spots that will certainly make you smile. In a few minutes, you can find solace here... or perhaps a memorable moment with a friend.

On The Trail

Traversing these steep slopes, often covered with loose shale, requires sturdy boots or climbing shoes that will support your ankles. Make sure they're broken in and bring extra socks- wet, sweaty socks in leather boots are very uncomfortable.

Be careful of snakes- there are Rattlesnakes and Copperheads, so use common sense and don't stick your hands under rocks. You'll see an occasional black bear. Again, use common sense, don't feed them, and be cautious around cubs. Bang something and talk to them to let them know you're around. Above all, don't get between mother and cub

Comments

Emily
16 Nov 2011, 17:27
We are looking for an easy bike trail in the area. Any ideas?\r\n\r\n
RF
09 Aug 2011, 12:55
We just did Mt Tammany hiking last Wednesday and it was really great. We took Red trail which is arond 1.3 miles and came back with Blue trail whic is 1.8 miles with few friends and my two kids who are 3 and 6 years old. It is little stip when you take the RED trail but it was well worth it. We started around 12:45 pm and came back around 4:15 with stay in the top and it was raining when we came back and we also took shower in one of the small Fall when coming back in Blue Trail.
Dan
11 Jul 2011, 15:07
i would like to know place to backpack at the Delaware water gap. i would like to do a 2or three day hike.
Kelly S
27 Jun 2011, 16:26
I love hiking the AT in Worthington State Forest. I saw a black bear today w/her two cubs. It really was something. It was the first time I have seen a bear in the wild so I was excited, but very cautious and nervous since she was w/her cubs. She knew I was there and did not pay me any mind. She was foraging w/her cubs nearby. I watched for a moment and moved on. I took the green trail back from Sunfish pond. I highly recommend it! Its a little steep at first, but very scenic threreafter and a good trail to jog a bit on. I did not see one person on it until it converged w/the other trails. I highly recommend it. I wear running shoes when I go on these trails, but more ankle support is definitely needed.
Trish
01 Mar 2011, 18:03
several years ago, i went hiking in the gap with my then boyfriend. we saw a black bear and the idiot boyfriend went to chase him with the camera. the bear didnt bother us, but we did see it moving more to us after that, and then ---when running out, and we were out of harms way, it stood up on a car in the parking lot to see what they had in their picnic basket inside the SUV. It left paw prints you couldnt believe,,,,,,,,,,, they are massive and nothing to play with. looking to go again soon with another person that is more inexperienced than I....... any info is appreciated........ it was just lovely at some point that time....any one have ideas???
Rick
01 Feb 2011, 15:42
I am a cub scout leader and would like to plan a overnight trip in April. We would be camping in the camping area just south of sunfish pond. I was hiking in the area last year and saw a sign that read no camping unless thru hiking. Can exceptions be made?
Craig
19 Dec 2010, 19:07
Whats up guys? well i came across this and my girlfriend loves to see things like this and i live in Jersey about 45 mins from the gap. i was tryin to see if anyone of u know where i could park near the hikings trail cause id like to show her this stuff.
Elizabeth
06 Nov 2010, 19:50
i plan to take a group of friends hiking to sunfish pond this week- i hear it is 3 1/2 miles from the rt 80 entrance point. how much time should i estimate for the hike? some are experienced, some not.
Dave
25 Oct 2010, 14:23
On Saturday at about 6pm a juvenile bear about 150 pounds came bounding out of the bushes on my way back from the Sunfish Pond AT trail and then ran down the trail ahead of me. I was surprised because there had been a lot of people around earlier.
Nietzky
25 Oct 2010, 13:21
I hiked 4 weeks ago in worthington state forest. I was there with my brother and we saw 2 black bears. 2 different places. 1 big boar 300 pounds and 1 female 130 pounds. Big boar was spotted crossing old mine road towards the water.
Birdman
14 Sep 2010, 07:02
I saw a big bear last week giving birth to triplets.
hikerbob
07 Aug 2010, 19:51
There's a large fire near sunfish pond. the AT is closed from mohican rd. south to the gap. hikers must use old mine rd.
Fred
22 Jun 2010, 09:02
I'm going to be spending a bunch of weekends hiking the trail. I'm relatively new to hiking, but in good shape and looking for some long/strenuous/adventurous hikes. I usually hike solo, but would love to join another person or group of similarly minded adventurous people. Email me if you are doing something that I could tag along for. njrunner2001@yahoo.com
Andrew Loxley
29 May 2010, 12:52
Did you find a good trail? I am going from Philly tomorrow, and was thinking about hiking around Bushkills Falls
allison
25 May 2010, 18:53
Hiking with my dog, want a beautiful hike thats not too arduous. From Philly. Recommend a good place to start, nice town, a route I should take? Never been to that area. Just want some peaceful afternoon:-) Thanks!
Foster
14 May 2010, 16:25
To hike mt tammany youll probably want to park on the nj side regardless of where youre coming from. The red trail can be physically challenging, but is doable from a technical standpoint. The 'rock climb' is really just walking up a steep set of rocks- while not too technically challenging, id be careful in the rain.
Arts
04 May 2010, 07:08
I was planning to hike Mt Tammany this week-end. Coming from easton where to park the car PA side and is the rock climb on red dot trail very tricky - do we need to have ropes ! and can we catch the blue dot trail if we are unable to manage the rock. Any piece of advise will be appreciated. Than
Trevor Lagrange
04 Apr 2010, 10:27
There is no way for a wheel chair bound person to reach Mt Tammany summit or near it. There is a fireroad(very rough road, need off road) that I don't believe is open to the public, which goes atop the mountain but stops at least a mile before you can see the gap/scenic view. There are many other nice spots you can drive to, waterfalls, views of the river and views of Mt. Tammany.
sarah
31 Mar 2010, 15:13
Is there any way to access any scenic view atop Mt Tammany by a wheelchair confined person?
Claudia
22 Dec 2009, 19:34
Hi!. I'm planning to go hiking the 24th 2009. pls let me know if it open or it's closed?. Thank u
Luke
29 Nov 2009, 07:56
Planning for next springtime-ish. Looking for an extended weekend hike. Im trying to plan it to stage a 2nd vehicle at hikes end. An ideas?
Dave
26 Nov 2009, 10:47
Came across 2 bears on the AT a couple of days ago not far from I80, I assume mother and cub. My boots were making a lot of noise so they definitely heard me coming but showed no fear and started moving towards me. I backed up and returned to the parking lot for my bear spray. I've noticed a couple guys recently wearing gloves carrying a heavy grocery bag and cameras. I'm wondering if they are feeding the bears.
Neil Spear
23 Oct 2009, 19:09
The trails are open year around. Just be carefull when there is ice. You will be hiking on lots of rocks. I will be doing a hike with a Meetup group on the 8th starting on Coppermine trail going to Kaiser then to AT. It starts and ends at the AMC Mohican center. If you want to join us write or call me\r\nNeil\r\nnspear@verizon.net\r\n(201) 757-1632
GRSA
15 Oct 2009, 19:42
I am planning a trip over there in early november. do they still allow hiking on the trails at that date or are things closed? Thank you
Tryon Photo
11 Oct 2009, 19:04
I love the Water Gap. Hiked there all my life. On the rare chance I get to spot a Black Bear I feel Lucky. See my Water Gap photos at www.tryonphoto.com
victor
09 Oct 2009, 16:29
My son was with 3 other faster hikers than me who all walked up on a mother bear and her cub. They were 15 yds away and they did not see the cub and the mother gave a little warning sound, and the cub jumped out of the tree and ran with the mother bear following casually. The group remained calm and did not run. The bear knew they were there and did not see them as a threat. We always hang the food bag in a tree aprox 15 to 20 ft. on a large branch. Also try to keep the rope 10 ft from the base of the tree. Just tie something heavy like a big rock and heave the rock with the rope tied to it over the branch, then just pull it high.Then tie the other end to either another tree or boulder.
sue
09 Sep 2009, 03:44
Apparently, bears are prevelent now in this section of the AT. I used to hike there 15 years ago and never saw traces of a bear. They are rarely aggresive, but I started to take my backpack off since it had a couple of egg mcmuffins in it. I would have rather that he ate that for breakfast than me. Here is a good article that illustrates what to do if you come across a black bear on the trail.\r\nhttp://www.runtheplanet.com/trainingracing/safety/blackbearsafe.a sp
Bob
08 Sep 2009, 20:08
I saw a bear leaning over a rock, looking down at me, in the middle of a step rocky section of the red dot trail today. I had my corgi and my 6 and 10 year old daughters with me. We turned around and headed back to the car in a hurry. The bear followed us for a short ways.\r\n
sue
06 Sep 2009, 17:59
I hiked from Rt 80 to Sunfish Pond this weekend and encountered a black bear. Next time, I will take a bear canister. A Good book to learn about routes in PA/NJ is "Hiking the Appalacian Trail -- Mid Atlantic Region"\r\n
james
31 Aug 2009, 20:04
http://www.purdes.com/njhiking/worthington/index.html
james
31 Aug 2009, 19:56
Bruce, Laura's suggestion is a good one. Parking for the Mt. Tammany via the Appalachian Trail hike to Sunfish Pond can be reached off of Route 80 West at the Dunnfield Parking lot. Sunfish Pond has adequate camping/latrine facilities for a scout troop. Be sure to use the bear boxes to store food. As Laura mentioned Dunnfield Creek has trout and Sunfish pond has sunfish and perch I believe. There are excellent views from Mt. Tammany and the trail levels off nicely after a brief uphill start. You can Google Worthington State Forest of more info.
Laura
24 Aug 2009, 19:00
Bruce,\r\nThere is lots of camping spots on the Mt. Tammany side of the Water Gap. That is NJ, and there is a parking lot there. The hill to get to the camp grounds is just a medium incline. There is a river that runs thru the mountains that has wild trout in it. Or you can hike over the the Delaware River.\r\n\r\nLaura
Bruce
24 Aug 2009, 17:54
Our Boy Scout troop was thinking about backpacking for an overnighter somewhere in the Delaware River Gap (pa or nj side ok) and I was wondering if anyone can give me suggestions on where we can go. We have approx 20 kids, several adults(a few not able to hike steep areas-kids are in better shape than the old men, LOL). Near water for fishing would be great.\r\nNeed access to trail map and where parking is permitted.\r\nThank you in advance for a quick reply.
Andrew
09 Aug 2009, 00:25
I hiked Mt Tammany Today. I hiked up the blue trail and was told that red trail is quite steep for hiking down, so we came down from blue trail. I suggest hiking up the red trail and down the blue trail for anyone interested. About 3 1/2 hour hike up and down the blue trail but we hang around mountain top and lookout points for half hour.
Megan
01 Jun 2009, 15:22
James, thanks for the info i was actually talking about one of my models who wants to have her pictures taken at this site. i needed to know if i have to get permission with a park ranger etc? I do not plan on harming or changing the environment in any way.
James
01 Jun 2009, 05:25
Megan, if the persons or subjects in the photographs are in out in public you do not have to have permission to publish or post. adding names and other information about the person or subjects is optional but considered good reporting and it is courteous.
Megan
31 May 2009, 17:28
I have visited the waterfall at Coppermine Trail and got some great photographs. Does anyone know who i have to get permission from to photograph models along the river that leads to the waterfall?
Laura
29 Apr 2009, 03:32
I love the scenery along the trail. Being an avid hiker and photographer, this is an excellent site for wildlife and nature. The trails are clearly marked and easy to follow. Deffinetly one of my favorite sites to hike in New Jersey. Also, I love the comment about crossing the fence just past Sunfish Pond. Very nice Detail lol.
James
22 Apr 2009, 01:26
Yes, you are permitted to camp within 50 feet of the Appalachian Trial. Open fires are not permitted in many areas so bring a backpack stove and fuel.
Lilly
14 Apr 2009, 09:22
Hi, do you know if it's permitted to go camping on the Appalacian trail?
Jane
05 Apr 2009, 12:19
Oops, forget to say I am coming from central NJ and need to know where to park for the blue dot trail? Want to hike it one weekend real soon.\r\nThanx,\r\nJane
Jane
05 Apr 2009, 12:17
Hi, would like to do the blue dot trail one weekend soon. Where exactly do I park?
John
09 Jan 2009, 15:35
Sorry Joseph, but bears in NJ don't truly hibernate. As quoted from the NJ Fish and Wildlife site:\r\n\r\n"New Jersey's black bears are not true hibernators and can be active all year long. Their heart rate and respiratory rate slow but do not drop as low as a true hibernator (such as wood chuck). There are some physiological changes: They stay in a torpor, typically do not defecate or urinate, and live off of their body fat. They are, however, fully capable of getting up and moving if disturbed or if weather is mild."\r\n\r\nMy hiking partners and I have had numerous on-foot encounters with bears in full snow cover in February in NJ. \r\n\r\nFor more details, check out the fish and wildlife site:\r\n\r\nhttp://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/bearq&a.htm
Chuck
26 Nov 2008, 12:14
We took a mountain bike tour in the park with Edge of the Woods Outfitters that was wonderful. The views and rolling hills made it a great half day adventure. We also booked a guided hike with them. Their website is bikedwg.com
Antonio
08 Jul 2008, 19:27
i need directions i want to hike from the interstate to sun fish pond i dont know what interstate it is or where it starts \r\nthanks
Guy
04 Jul 2008, 15:12
The Karamac trail is definitely not Wheelchair accessible, we could not use our babt stroller on it.\r\n
Tyler
05 Jun 2008, 11:33
bears in nj are not true hibernating bears they are out year round. especially now since the winters are warmer
Claire Lukas
02 May 2008, 19:55
Does anyone have information about becoming a trail guide in the Delaware Water Gap area? Thanks
Erik
15 Mar 2008, 10:27
Pretty sure they are. I'm going to head up there later today or tomorrow.
Flavio
13 Mar 2008, 18:44
Are the hiking trails open now?
Mary
28 Jan 2008, 06:11
Check out "Best Hikes with Dogs - New Jersey" by Mary Jasch. It has 52 great hikes with dogs across the state - all where dogs are welcome. Mary has done the homework for you and also lists little known places to hike with your dog as well as most dog parks in the state. You can get the book at any book store or on the web.
JOE AYALA
25 Jan 2008, 13:35
PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHERE I CAN HIKE WITH MY DOG
joe ayala
25 Jan 2008, 13:18
please send me info on areas where my dog is welcomed
Retha
21 Jan 2008, 21:35
Where would I look for information about Old Settlements around Mt. Tammany, N.J..in 1837-38 ? If there was \r\nSettlements there, would there be any written records ? Was there ever a Town by the name of Mt. Tammany, or County ?\r\nWhere would settlers in 1837-38 cross the Delaware River enroute to Philadelphia from Mt. Tammany area, \r\nNew Jersey ?\r\nAppreciate any help possible.\r\nThank you in advance for a prompt reply.
Joseph
28 Dec 2007, 15:50
The bears usually go to sleep in late November.
Marty
28 Dec 2007, 15:21
Does anyone know if the bears are still out?
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