Thursday, December 4, 2014

Kittatinny Valley State Park, NJ

Kittatinny Valley State Park - NJ Department of Environmental Protection
Although this park allows hunting, hunting is not permitted between Goodale and Limecrest Roads (everything in green on the trail map which includes more than half of the park and most of the hiking trails) making this a good choice for hiking during hunting season.

GPS Coordinates for Sussex Trail parking off Route 206: 40.999665, -74.747051

View Larger Map
I like parking at the Sussex Branch Trail off Route 206 at the very southern tip of the park because it cuts a few miles off of the drive and allows me to do a loop hike without passing by my car.  This parking lot is not shown on the map.

Kittatinny Valley State Park Map - NJ Department of Environmental Protection
Kittatinny Valley State Park, NJ at EveryTrail

HIKE DISTANCE: 6.1 miles

Start on the Sussex Branch Trail at the parking lot.
Turn right at the second trail which is blazed orange but not shown as an orange trail on the map.
White's Pond
Yellow-blazed park road.
Coming up on Lake Aeroflex and Aeroflex Airport
We hiked here in the summer about 5 or 6 years ago and sat on the bench watching airplanes take off and land.  No air traffic today and too cold to sit.
Turn left towards Lake Aeroflex ...
... to the post with the white blaze - this is where the white trail along the lake begins.
Lake Aeroflex and the "But why can't I go in the water?" look.
She is sizing up that wall and has already decided she is not attempting that jump.  No worries, a trail goes around to the left.
Looking back at the dock.
On the white-on-black trail.
Somebody wants a snack.
Meeting back up with the white trail which now runs parallel to Goodale Road from higher up.
Coming up on one of the parking lots just off of Goodale Road.
For as many cars as there were, everyone was walking on the park roads.  I did not run into another person on the trails during the entire hike.
Cross the parking field, turn left at the woods, then right on the ...
... red trail.
This red-bellied woodpecker was hamming it up for the camera.  This is only about half of the shots of got of him.
The tufted titmouse allowed me one shot and this was it.
Back on the blue trail but not the same part we did before.
Then to a different red trail.
The Sussex Branch Trail ...
... back to the parking lot.
Way across a field, a turkey vulture sunning himself.

Here is Shawnee in motion, about 3 months shy of turning 14 with slow spreading cancer, a partial cruciate ligament tear/arthritis in her right knee, arthritis in her spine, 5 weeks after being completely incapacitated with vestibular disease, and at the end of a 6-mile hike.   Pretty darned good for an old girl!

[  0.00]  Sussex Branch Trail north to second right on orange; keep right on unmarked at intersection
[  0.50]  Right on blue at White's Pond
[  1.00]  Right on yellow-blazed park road; continue on gravel then paved road towards lake/airport
[  1.35]  Left across grass before lake towards beginning of white trail (white blaze on post before bench)
[  2.70]  Left on unmarked at letters C and A on yellow/red markers with arrows on tree
[  2.75]  Right on white on black
[  3.25]  Left on white
[  3.80]  Cross parking lot and park entrance road veering to the right, cross parking field towards "Authorized Vehicles Only" sign; continue straight
[  3.90]  At the woods turn left on woods road briefly, then right on red-blazed foot path into woods
[  4.60]  Right on blue
[  5.00]  Left on yellow-blazed park road briefly then right on red
[  5.95]  Left on orange
[  6.00]  Left on Sussex Branch Trail
[  6.10]  Back at parking


  1. So great to see Shawnee back out there!! What a remarkable dog to be able to continue hiking after facing so many difficulties. Wish you guys much good health and many good hikes!!

    1. Thanks, Colin! Makes you wonder if it is because of the hiking that she is able to bounce back like she does.


  2. Glad to see our buddy Shawnee and you back out together!

    1. Thanks! I am beyond thrilled to have her back with me.


  3. I'll say 'pretty darn good'!!!!! Shawnee's recovery and stamina is one heckuva a Christmas gift or any-time gift for that matter. Thanks, btw, for the info on what looks like a good, enjoyable hunting-free hiking zone we can take advantage of during the week. Also looks like a good snowshoeing opportunity if and when. Linda

    1. It's the only gift I need! The if and when might come sooner for that park - I was surprised at how much snow was there. Not one single flake at my house or most of the way there.


  4. Hooray for Shawnee! She is such a trooper! At her age it's amazing. I wish you both the best. I walk at Sussex Branch Trail once or twice a week but I start at the other end on Waterloo Rd. It's a nice place to walk. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks! That is great that you are close enough to go there often! I can't believe I hadn't been there in so many years.


  5. Great to see Shawnee! My dog is the same age and maybe she can do a mile. Do you have to lift her into the car, or does she jump in?

    1. A mile is good! I am sure that one mile gives her great joy. I haven't let Shawnee jump into the car on her own since we found out about the arthritis about 1.5 years ago. Although she still could jump in at the time, I started keeping a sling in the car and would hoist her back end in with the sling as she jumped to save wear and tear on her knee and back. She was no longer able to do that at all with the vestibular disease so I bought some portable steps but she did not like them at all. Now that she is better, she is back to jumping in with assistance.