Sunday, August 22, 2010
Appalachian Trail - Millbrook Road to Crater Lake, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
ABOUT THE PARK: Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
TRAIL MAP: NY/NJ Trail Conference Southern Kittatinny Trails Map #121
I-81 to exit 12 (Route 521-Blairstown); left on NJ-94 South to stop light; right on Bridge Street; right on High Street briefly on to Millbrook Road.
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GPS coordinates: 41.059215,-74.963497
There are a few parking options - I'll go into detail here since parking is limited.
Parking for two cars at the northbound A.T. trailhead where this hike starts:
Parking along Millbrook Road facing east - black car at southbound AT trailhead; red car at gravel pull-off. (These would be on your left heading west.)
HIKE DISTANCE: 12 miles out and back including loop around Crater Lake
Views are limited along this section of the AT. You catch glimpses of both east and west views between the trees so I would imagine views would be much better all along the ridge when the leaves are down. Much of this hike is fairly level with some ups and downs. You are starting out up high at 1250 feet with the highest elevation around 1490 feet.
Start northbound on the white-blazed Appalachian trail where it reenters the woods after following Millbrook Road west for a short distance.
At .4 miles arrive at Black's Pond which has a beaver lodge.
At .7 miles arrive at a power cut with views to the east and west, although marred by towers and power lines.
For the next 3 miles you will be walking along the ridge. The trail turns to smooth, easy woods road about half way along the ridge.
At 3.2 miles, a view over Fairview Lake to the east:
At 3.9 miles there will be a water pump to the left. Stay to the right, cross over Blue Mountain Lakes Road, turn right at the AT sign. Follow the road briefly and reenter the woods to the left at the next AT sign.
At 5.1 miles turn right on the orange-blazed trail which will bring you to the east side of Crater Lake. There are side trails to the lake, closer to the north end you will find picnic tables at the lake.
Because cars can drive up to the lake, there will be other people around. At the north end of the lake is a parking lot with surprisingly decent restrooms.
I could find no orange trail blazes at all in this area. To continue around Crater Lake, take the service road from the parking lot (across from the restrooms):
A short distance ahead the service road curves to the right, the orange-blazed trail goes to the left (blazes on tree). From this point the trail is again poorly blazed and several unmarked trails branch off. I did not do this correctly but did end up back on the A.T. which is what you want. I stayed left at the first fork, right at the second fork and that brought me to the white-blazed A.T. - turn left on the A.T. A short distance ahead is a view to the west.
From here stay on the white-blazed A.T. back to where the hike began.
NOTE: As you start to hike away from Crater Lake at the southern end, you will come to an intersection where the orange-blazed trail begins at triple blazes on the right. In this area, the orange trail loops around and crosses over the A.T. again a short distance ahead. If you continue straight ahead on the A.T. you will need to descend very steeply down an escarpment. If you prefer to avoid this section, take the less steep orange trail detour to the right, then right on the white-blazed A.T. when the trails intersect again.