Friday, December 30, 2011

Bear Mountain State Park, NY - Appalachian Trail to Hessian Lake


ABOUT THE PARK:
Bear Mountain State Park - Palisades Park Conservancy
Bear Mountain State Park - NY State Office of Parks and Recreation
Rebuilt Section of Appalachian Trail at Bear Mountain - NY/NJ Trail Conference

DIRECTIONS:
GPS Coordinates 41.304258, -74.01571

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A narrow paved drive leads from Seven Lakes Drive to a hiker parking lot with room for about 10 cars.  This is a no fee parking lot where fees are charged for other Bear Mountain State Park lots.

TRAIL MAP:
Northern Harriman Bear Mountain Trails Map #119 - NY/NJ Trail Conference
Bear Mountain Day Hikes Map (free map) - NY/NJ Trail Conference

HIKE DISTANCE:  8 miles

APPALACHIAN TRAIL SECTION HIKING:
TrailHeadFinder.com - AT section miles 1379.7 to 1383.4

PEAK BAGGING:
Bear Mountain - Peakery.com

THE HIKE:
During the winter Perkins Memorial Drive to the top of Bear Mountain is closed so there is no traffic and no crowds.

Facing the barrier at the end of the parking lot, turn left on the 1777W Trail which will merge with the white-blazed Appalachian Trail and left just before the Appalachian Trail crosses over Seven Lakes Drive.
The Appalachian Trail ascends Bear Mountain on foot paths, old paved roads and steps.

The mountains of Harriman State Park from the Appalachian Trail.
The Hudson Valley from Bear Mountain.
The Appalachian Trail is handicapped accessible at the top of Bear Mountain.
Perkins Tower
The New York City skyline from in front of Perkins Tower.
A deer on Bear Mountain.
Bear Mountain Bridge seen descending on the Appalachian Trail.
Hessian Lake
A Pileated Woodpecker near Hessian Lake.
The ice skating rink is visible from the yellow-blazed Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail.



HIKE SUMMARY:
[  0.00]  Facing barrier at end of lot, turn left on 1777W trail
[  0.10]  White-blazed AT joins in from right
[  0.20]  Left on white-blazed AT when 1777W trail leaves to the right
[  0.25]  Cross Seven Lakes Drive
[  0.80]  Cross paved Perkins Memorial Drive (closed in winter)
[  0.85]  AT changes from woods road to old paved road
[  1.10]  AT leaves old paved road to left up steps
[  1.65]  Keep straight when the blue-blazed short cut trail goes right
[  2.00]  AT becomes handicapped accessible; keep straight on AT when shortcut to Major Welch trail goes left
[  2.30]  Perkins Tower
[  2.65]  Cross paved Perkins Memorial Drive
[  2.95]  Turn right at Perkins Memorial Drive and follow road
[  3.20]  At circle, AT leaves to the right
[  4.20]  At bottom of steps, AT follows old gravel/paved road to the left
[  4.35]  Yellow-blazed Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail comes in from right; turn left on red circle on white Major Welch Trail
[  4.70]  Major Welch Trail leaves paved path to the left, keep straight on paved path around Hessian Lake
[  5.55]  Appalachian Trail comes in from the left and continues on paved lake path
[  5.75]  Left on yellow-blazed Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail when white-blazed AT goes right
[  6.05]  Rock hop over creek
[  6.60]  Cross Seven Lakes Drive
[  7.20]  Yellow trail turns right at Doodletown map sign; few steps ahead keep right on 1777W when yellow goes left
[  7.75]  Appalachian Trail joins 1777W from the right
[  7.90]  Appalachian Trail leaves 1777W to the left
[  8.00]  Back at parking lot

Monday, December 26, 2011

Mountainside Park, Pequannock, NJ


ABOUT THE PARK:
Pequannock Received Grants for Mountainside Park Improvements - NorthJersey.com
Although the park sign says no dogs are allowed, the township web site says dogs are allowed.  The Director of Parks and Recreation did confirm via email that leashed dogs are allowed in the park.

DIRECTIONS:
GPS Coordinates 40.971152, -74.325497

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Parking for about 7 cars.

TRAIL MAP:
Mountainside Park Free Trail Map - NY/NJ Trail Conference
Jersey Highlands Central North Region Trail Map 125 - NY/NJ Trail Conference

HIKE DISTANCE:  3.7 miles

THE HIKE:
The blue-blazed trail starts up the steps next to the kiosk at the far end of the parking lot.
I-287 below provides traffic noise which eventually decreases in volume.
The blue trail leads to the mountaintop in the distance.
Bridge crossing at boy scout shelter.
A bench off to the side along the way overlooking I-287.
At the top of the mountain where white, yellow and blue trails come together, 360 degree views.
Looking back at the mountaintop overlook after descending.
Just before the parking lot the red trail follows along a creek as a woods road.
The end of the red trail at the parking lot and I-287.


HIKE SUMMARY:
[  0.00]  Take the blue trail up the wooden steps next to the kiosk at the far end of parking lot
[  0.20]  Keep right on blue/red when red joins in from the left
[  0.25]  Keep left on blue when red leaves to the right
[  0.65]  Left on orange when blue goes right (random blue blazes along this trail also)
[  0.80]  Cross bridge towards shelter on orange/blue when blue joins in from the right; keep left on blue when orange continues straight
[  0.95]  Straight on blue as orange crosses over at gravel road
[  1.20]  Keep left on blue where bench sits off to the right
[  1.40]  Kiosk and benches at 360 degree overlook; continue on yellow trail at opposite side of kiosk
[  1.80]  Keep straight on yellow as orange crosses over as woods road
[  1.90]  Keep left on yellow/orange as orange comes in from the right
[  2.00]  Stay on yellow/orange across bridge over creek
[  2.25]  Turn right on orange when yellow leaves to the left; red joins in from left
[  2.30]  Continue on orange/red crossing pipline
[  2.45]  At bench turn left on red when orange goes straight towards boardwalk
[  3.05]  At bench turn left on orange when red/orange goes right
[  3.35]  Bench on left
[  3.55]  At woods road turn left on red along creek
[  3.70]  Cross metal gate back to parking lot

Ringwood State Park, NJ - Cooper Union and Manor Trails


ABOUT THE PARK:
Ringwood State Park - NJ Department of Environmental Protection
Ringwood Manor - The Forges and Manor of Ringwood

DIRECTIONS:
GPS Coordinates 41.130536, -74.241810

View Larger Map
Paved parking lot by bridge with room for about 5 cars.  This is a free parking area - seasonal fees are charged to park in most other lots.

TRAIL MAP:
North Jersey Trails Map 115 - NY/NJ Trail Conference

HIKE DISTANCES:
Cooper Union Trail - 5.9 miles
Manor Trail Loop - 6.3 miles
Cooper Union Trail and Manor Trail Loop - 11.4 miles

THE HIKE:
Start on the white-blazed Crossover Trail at the other side of the bridge from the parking area.
At the beginning of the white trail there were huge blowdowns with berries and a ton of birds that stayed to be photographed.  (White-throated Sparrow and female Cardinal)
Another find on the yellow-blazed Cooper Union Trail
The Cooper Union Trail splits and loops back around in 1.6 miles.  To the left is steeper than straight.
The Cooper Union Trail ascends Governor Mountain.
View from the Cooper Union Trail.
On the combined white/red rectangle on white trail, cross Sloatsburg Road, hop guardrail then proceed across two bridges over Ringwood River towards the parking lot.
Walk along the park road towards Ringwood Manor
Ringwood Manor
Although there are no yellow trail blazes for a while, the trail continues beyond Ringwood Manor between the free standing gates.
Old cemetery on the left off of the blue-blazed Manor Trail.
The blue-blazed Manor Trail starts out as an unattractive gravel road but turns into a pleasant foot trail with several creek crossings.
Seasonal views from Cupsaw Mountain


HIKE SUMMARIES:

Cooper Union and Manor Combined
0.00    From parking lot walk along road across bridge; turn right on white-blazed Crossover Trail just after bridge
0.30    Left on white/yellow when the yellow-blazed Cooper Union Trail comes in from the right
0.40    Keep left on yellow when right leaves to the right
0.45    Cross paved Morris Road
0.55    Keep straight when unmarked trail not on map comes in from left
0.80    Cross pipeline
0.85    Keep right on yellow when unmarked comes in from left (make note of this intersection for return route - very easy to miss going the other way)
           Be sure to stay on yellow as it intersects with several unmarked trails along the way
1.00    Cross small creek on a log
1.70    Rock hop over creek
1.85    Cross paved Carletondale Road
2.00    Cross creek on small bridge, building on left
2.10    Turn left at trail split (left side is steeper than right side if you prefer steeper ascent and more gradual descent)
2.80    Short side trail to left to view
2.95    View to left at top of steep ascent
3.70    Keep straight on yellow at completion of loop
3.80    Cross creek on small bridge, building on right
3.95    Cross paved Carletondale Road
4.85    Cross small creek on a log
5.00    Yellow trail turns left at blowdown - easy to miss
5.10    Cross pipeline
5.45    Cross paved Morris Road
5.50    Left on white when white/yellow goes right
6.00    Left on white/red rectangle on white as red rectangle on white comes in from left; cross Sloatsburg Road, hop guardrail, cross two bridges
6.05    Turn left on paved road and walk on road parallel to creek
6.15    Keep left on pavement at yield sign
6.30    At DO NOT ENTER sign straight ahead, turn right between 2 pillars towards parking lot and large tree with 3 yellow blazes; turn left at tree towards mansion
           No yellow blazes in mansion area but continue straight beyond mansion between 2 free standing iron gates; blazes pick up again after crossing creek on gravel road; after crossing creek turn left on blue when yellow goes right
6.65    Old cemetery on left
7.00    Blue trail turn right on gravel road other side of gate
7.30    At house on left, blue trail leaves gravel road to the right on woods road
7.80    Blue trail turns right and crosses woods road just to the right of a power cut
8.10    Blue trail turn right at creek and follows creek
8.15    Rock hop to left over creek
8.20    Straight on blue when yellow crosses over
8.60    Cross swampy area on log then rock hop over creek
8.70    Rock hop over 2 creeks
9.00    At woods road turn left on white when blue goes right
9.25    White trail rejoins woods road
9.45    White trail leaves woods road to the right
10.05    White trail ends at parking lot, take white/red rectangle on white trail across 2 bridges, hop guardrail, cross Sloatsburg Road
10.20    Turn left on red rectangle on white as white goes right
10.45    At top of ascent, turn right on yellow when red rectangle on white goes left
10.75    Rock outcrop with seasonal view to left as yellow trail turns right
10.95    Keep right at large boy scout sign when blue goes left
11.00    Left on white when white/yellow goes right
11.40    Back at parking

Cooper Union Trail Only:
0.00    From parking lot walk along road across bridge; turn right on white-blazed Crossover Trail just after bridge
0.30    Left on white/yellow when the yellow-blazed Cooper Union Trail comes in from the right
0.40    Keep left on yellow when right leaves to the right
0.45    Cross paved Morris Road
0.55    Keep straight when unmarked trail not on map comes in from left
0.80    Cross pipeline
0.85    Keep right on yellow when unmarked comes in from left (make note of this intersection for return route - very easy to miss going the other way)
           Be sure to stay on yellow as it intersects with several unmarked trails along the way
1.00    Cross small creek on a log
1.70    Rock hop over creek
1.85    Cross paved Carletondale Road
2.00    Cross creek on small bridge, building on left
2.10    Turn left at trail split (left side is steeper than right side if you prefer steeper ascent and more gradual descent)
2.80    Short side trail to left to view
2.95    View to left at top of steep ascent
3.70    Keep straight on yellow at completion of loop
3.80    Cross creek on small bridge, building on right
3.95    Cross paved Carletondale Road
4.85    Cross small creek on a log
5.00    Yellow trail turns left at blowdown - easy to miss
5.10    Cross pipeline
5.45    Cross paved Morris Road
5.50    Right on yellow/white when white goes left
5.60    Right on white when yellow leaves to the left
5.90    Back at parking lot
 

Manor Trail Loop Only:
0.00    From parking lot walk along road across bridge; turn right on white-blazed Crossover Trail just after bridge
0.30    Left on white/yellow when the yellow-blazed Cooper Union Trail comes in from the right
0.40    Right on white when yellow goes left
0.90    Left on white/red rectangle on white as red rectangle on white comes in from left; cross Sloatsburg Road, hop guardrail, cross two bridges
0.95    Turn left on paved road and walk on road parallel to creek
1.05    Keep left on pavement at yield sign
1.20    At DO NOT ENTER sign straight ahead, turn right between 2 pillars towards parking lot and large tree with 3 yellow blazes; turn left at tree towards mansion
           No yellow blazes in mansion area but continue straight beyond mansion between 2 free standing iron gates; blazes pick up again after crossing creek on gravel road; after crossing creek turn left on blue when yellow goes right
1.55    Old cemetery on left
1.90    Blue trail turn right on gravel road other side of gate
2.10    At house on left, blue trail leaves gravel road to the right on woods road
2.70    Blue trail turns right and crosses woods road just to the right of a power cut
3.00    Blue trail turn right at creek and follows creek
3.05    Rock hop to left over creek
3.10    Straight on blue when yellow crosses over
3.50    Cross swampy area on log then rock hop over creek
3.60    Rock hop over 2 creeks
3.90    At woods road turn left on white when blue goes right
4.15    White trail rejoins woods road
4.35    White trail leaves woods road to the right
4.95    White trail ends at parking lot, take white/red rectangle on white trail across 2 bridges, hop guardrail, cross Sloatsburg Road
5.10    Turn left on red rectangle on white as white goes right
5.35    At top of ascent, turn right on yellow when red rectangle on white goes left
5.65    Rock outcrop with seasonal view to left as yellow trail turns right
5.85    Keep right at large boy scout sign when blue goes left
5.90    Left on white when white/yellow goes right
6.30    Back at parking

Friday, December 23, 2011

Wells Mills Park, Ocean County, NJ


ABOUT THE PARK:
Wells Mills Park - Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation

DIRECTIONS:
GPS Coordinates 39.795622, -74.276569

View Larger Map

TRAIL MAP:
Wells Mills County Park Trail Map - Ocean County Parks Department

HIKE DISTANCE:  8.4 miles

THE HIKE:
The park requires hikers to sign the trail register.  The latch is up underneath the top of the trail register box - the door with the handle comes down

Although hunting is not allowed in this park, the trails are closed certain days due to hunting on neighboring properties.  Call 609-971-3085 to check.  This picture shows 2011 dates.
Beginning of the Penns Hill Trail between the Visitor Center and Wells Mills Lake.
Wells Mills Lake
The Penns Hill Trail winds along Wells Mills Lake through cedar forests.
Many bridges and boardwalks lead over swampy areas and they can be very slippery when wet or icy.
Hilly terrain in the otherwise flat Pine Barrens.
Pine trees of the Pine Barrens.
Bench at Penns Hill summit.
Fence crossing where yellow/green/white trails merge together.
Combined white/green/yellow trails.
Bridge over Oyster Creek.
Oyster Creek

HIKE SUMMARY:
[  0.00]  Start white-blazed Penns Hill Trail other side of Visitor's Center
[  0.30]  Straight on white over foot bridge when blue goes right
[  0.40]  Keep straight on white when yellow/green crossed over 
[  0.45]  Cross unmarked sand road
[  1.15]  Cross unmarked trail
[  1.85]  Two mile marker 
[  2.00]  Cross unmarked sand road
[  2.50]  Summit of Penns Hill at bench 
[  2.80]  Laurel Hill 
[  3.50]  White joins green and yellow to the right on sand road other side of fence 
[  3.60]  White/yellow/green turns sharply left at scout reservation 
[  3.80]  Cross Oyster Creek on bridge 
[  3.85]  Trails veer left when woods road comes in from right
[  4.00]  White leaves as foot path to left when green/yellow continue on sand road between park signs
[  4.70]  Five mile marker 
[  6.00]  Cross over yellow/green 
[  6.40]  Cross woods road 
[  6.70]  Seven mile marker 
[  7.60]  Cross woods road
[  8.20]  White turn right on woods road joining green/yellow  
[  8.30]  Cross wide bridge over Oyster Creek 
[  8.35]  Keep straight on white/yellow/green as pink Cold Brook Trail goes right; Wells Mill Lake on left
[  8.40]  Visitor Center