Sunday, February 6, 2011

Brendan T. Byrne State Forest, NJ - Mt. Misery Trail

ABOUT THE PARK:  Brendan T. Byrne State Forest - NJ Division of Parks and Forests

Pakim Pond picnic area parking lot:
GPS coordinates 39.880188, -74.533664

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This park used to be called Lebanon State Forest and the map currently in use is still the Lebanon State Forest Trail Map.  There were trail maps available in the kiosk at the trailhead but that might not always be the case.  I could not find the map online so this is a scan of the Mt. Misery Trail (white-blazed trail) portion.  Click on the image to enlarge.
The yellow trail on the map, which shown as a bike trail, is actually the same as a paved road (Shinns Road) which goes through the park.  This road was plowed and drivable from the park office to Pakim Pond during snow cover, but not plowed much beyond Pakim Pond.  The map made more sense to me once I figured out that the yellow trail, Shinns Road and the paved road I kept crossing over were one and the same. 

The white-blazed Mt. Misery Trail is 8.5 miles but it does not form a complete loop so there is an additional mile of hiking to form a loop of 9.5 miles total.

Facing Pakim Pond, go to the far left corner of the parking lot to access the trails.  A short distance ahead, rest rooms are to the right (open in the winter), veer left following white/red/pink trail markers to the split.  Where the pink-blazed Batona Trail goes left, turn right on the white-blazed Mt. Misery Trail.
Pakim Pond
When there was no snow, much of the Mt. Misery trail was covered with pine needles.
White trail along road through densely packed trees.
Old wrecked car along trail.
Trail is marked with plastic posts and white blazes on trees, some new but most old and faded.

Cranberry Bogs
White trail follows sand roads through cranberry bogs and reservoirs.

[  0.00]  From the far left corner of parking lot, access white/pink/red trails which will veer left
[  0.15]  Turn right on the white-blazed Mt. Misery Trail at the split where pink goes left; take boardwalk over Pakim Pond
[  0.85]  Trail turns left on to a wider trail
[  1.00]  Trail crosses over wider road with yellow blaze to the left and green blaze to the right (not shown on map)
[  1.10]  Keep straight where unmarked trail goes right - tree has both white and orange blaze
[  1.15]  White trail goes right at plastic post marker; white and orange blaze on tree
[  1.50]  A few steps beyond a green blaze on tree, white trail turns left on foot path
[  1.85]  Turn left at T-intersection (unmarked) just before the paved (orange trail) road
[  2.15]  White trail turns left and joins paved (orange trail) road
[  2.30]  Cross intersection with composting toilet on right; turn white on white trail just beyond intersection
[  2.50]  Right on white trail when unmarked trail goes left (not on map)
[  2.55]  Up and over hill, turn left (no blazes or markers indicating left turn); continue through pit, uphill out of pit then turn right (marked)
[  2.90]  Pass ruins of old car along right side of trail; trail turns right shortly beyond car
[  3.20]  White trail turns right on the paved (orange trail) road
[  3.30]  White trail leaves paved (orange trail) road to the left on foot trail at "Mt. Misery 2 miles" sign
[  3.70]  White trail turns left along paved (orange trail) road
[  3.75]  White trail leaves paved (orange trail) road to the right on a foot path
[  4.30]  Cross woods road (not on map)
[  5.20]  Arrive at Mt. Misery - three white blazes on tree indicate end of trail but this is not the case; cross road, veer to left behind brown house with NO TRESPASSING sign, turn left on white trail (by orange/yellow/blue blaze on tree)
[  5.25]  White goes left where blue/orange go straight (not on map)
[  5.35]  Jog right then left on to wider woods road
[  5.45]  Right at fork (not on map)
[  5.90]  White trail leaves woods road to the right
[  6.40]  Trail turns left at marked T-intersection (not on map) then right
[  6.60]  Cross over paved (orange trail) road
[  6.65]  Veer left as another trail merges in from the right
[  7.05]  Follow white trail through cranberry bogs
[  7.50]  Turn left on white trail at the end of the bog; keep right at split
[  7.65]  Left at split beyond field with electric fence
[  7.70]  Atlantic White Cedar Restoration sign on left
[  7.80]  White trail turns right on woods road
[  8.05]  Cross woods road to other side of brown wooden barrier and continue straight
[  8.50]  End of white-blazed Mt. Misery trail; turn left (not well blazed but will be red trail)
[  9.15]  Keep straight when pink Batona Trail joins the red trail
[  9.50]  Cross road and turn right beyond guardrail; pass Mt. Misery trailhead walking towards restroom building, turn left before restrooms back to parking lot


  1. thanks for the description :) :) :)

  2. Thanks for the map! Been here before and loved it. Hoping to hike the entire Mount Misery trail this time.

  3. Thanks for the helpful trail notes! Hiked the whole 9.5 miles.
    Trail is difficult to follow at certain points. However, the entrance to each new section is marked so be sure to find the brown metal marker with a white rectangle.
    Miles 3 thru 5 suffered a forest fire recently; the markers have melted and fallen down but interesting to see the effects of the fire.
    Lots of diversity and lovely to walk on a soft carpet of pine needles:)

  4. My wife and I walked the entire trail...its was fun and different...its ashame about the fire..