Monday, February 22, 2016

Stokes State Forest, NJ - Deep Root and Criss Trails

Stokes State Forest - NJ Department of Environmental Protection

GPS Coordinates 41.23400, -74.75716
This appears to be a brand new (LARGE!) parking lot that is not on any of the maps.  We ended up here only because of road closures that prevented me from getting to the trail head I wanted to start at so the hiking route was modified from this parking lot.  Behind the kiosk is Grau Road so this picture is from the far end of the lot.

Northern Kittatinny Trails Map 122 - NY/NJ Trail Conference
Stokes State Forest Trail Map North - NY/NJ Trail Conference free map

HIKE DISTANCE:  7.8 miles

We missed hiking last weekend with the -25 degree wild chill so Shawnee was totally stoked about hiking at Stokes with some family!
My son, his fiancee and Shawnee's soon-to-be cousin Sebastian came along.  Sebastian can be not so friendly towards other dogs on the trail (he loves Shawnee) so I picked a remote part of Stokes State Forest to hike where I thought we would not run into other dogs.  Turns out we had the place to ourselves the entire time.
The gated woods road that runs along the side of the parking lot from Grau Road is Degroat Road.  This is where we started our hike.
The Kittatinny Ridge with the Appalachian Trail, where the rest of the world is hiking, off to the right.
This is where the Criss Trail merges with Degroat Road briefly.  We'd be coming by here again later in the hike when on the Criss Trail.  For now, onward on Degroat Road.
Chicken jerky break.
Passing Rock Oak Trail.  I had intended to start on that trail and come out here but could not get to the other end of the trail because Grau Road was closed for the winter right at the lot where we parked.
Passing by the Deep Root Trail.  We could have turned left here but decided to continue on Degroat Road first to a pond shown on the map.
This is (was?) the pond.
Retracing back to the Deep Root Trail.
And time for another break.
The Deep Root Trail starts out as a woods road but becomes more narrow as it winds along.
Getting ready for ...
... a group photo.
Nice winter views of the Kittatinny Ridge.
I was lagging behind taking pictures so poor Shawnee was conflicted about who to stay with and how to keep her flock together.  She logged some extra mileage with all the back and forth.  Oh, the life of a herding dog.
It's a steep descent down to ...
... Criss Brook.
Just after rock hopping Criss Brook, a left on the Criss Trail.
The Criss Trail becomes very rocky in places.
Break time again.
Back on that short stretch of Degroat Road where the Criss Trail joins in.
This time we left Degroat Road and stayed on the Criss Trail to the right.
Thank goodness we went this way because I found my balloon!
The Criss Trail comes out on Grau Road and because it is gated and closed right now, no traffic.
Losing steam but almost at the end.
The barrier up ahead...
... with the parking lot on the right.


  1. What a great time, and nice to she Shawnee had a friend to hike with too! Cheers,

    1. She loves hiking with a friend, frustrating as it is for her to keep us all together.


  2. Beginning to think all those balloons are being planted specifically for you to spot! Recently we packed out a rather large, semi-burnt up, hot-air luminarie while snowshoeing. Good thing woods weren't drier. Could have caused a fire on its descent. Would have made a great accent piece for your collection though.:) Thanks for another great hike suggestion. Love to Shawnee. Linda

    1. I always think the same thing but then most times even I don't know where I will be hiking until the night before. My son and his fiancee didn't see it and they were ahead of me. I wasn't even thinking about it and it caught my eye immediately. You'll have to start a hot air luminaire collection. Shawnee sends her love back :)


  3. For years, we belonged to a gym. Now we like to get our exercise on the trails. The scenery and fresh air make you feel energized and happy after a long trek like the one you had. If we can find a spot by a lake or river, it's even better.

    1. I agree. Always something interesting in the outdoors and you don't even realize you are exercising!

  4. Very nice....nice to see you had company and another dog for Shawnee. Joanne

    1. She really does seem to enjoy the company.