Monday, May 28, 2018

Stokes State Forest, NJ - Red Maple Trail with Tillman Ravine

Stokes State Forest - NJ Department of Environmental Protection

GPS Coordinates 41.183957, -74.811662
Lake Ashroe Parking

Northern Kittatinny Trails Map 122 - NY/NJ Trail Conference
Stokes State Forest Trail Map South - NY/NJ Trail Conference free map
Older versions of the maps do not show the newer extension of the Red Maple Trail to Tillman Ravine.
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HIKE DISTANCE:  11.75 miles

To see Lake Ashroe there is a glimpse from the break in the fence at the far end of the parking lot.
Red-winged Blackbird
Through the break in the fence at the center of the parking lot and to the right, a bridge ....
... to a full view of Lake Ashroe.  Although the trail will go along the lake, the view is obstructed with foliage.  Only campers are allowed along the other access points of the lake.
Common Yellowthroat
The start of the Red Maple Trail is the gravel drive to the left of the parking lot.

On the gravel road heading towards the campground.
Leaving the campground area, the trail becomes a more rugged uphill footpath.
A memorial in the woods.
An old Red Maple marker, probably from when this was a boy scout camp.
The little red efts were everywhere so I really had to watch my step.
When the trail turns right at the cairn with the red painted top ...
... the Steffen Trail joins in from the left.
Pink Lady's Slippers
Now on just the Red Maple Trail which is an easy woods road for about the next 2 miles.
The Steffen Trail ends and the Red Maple Trail continues on a woods road for about 2 miles.
Coming up on a swamp on the right.
Looks like this was a paved road at some point.
To the left is a gated Brink Road that leads to the Appalachian Trail.
We turned right and went a short distance to where Brink Road is flooded to get a view of the swamp.
The frogs in this swamp were LOUD!
Back on the Red Maple Trail.
The Red Maple Trail turns right leaving the woods road.
A Brodie-approved rock hop over Tillman Brook, the outlet of the swamp, water heading towards Tillman Ravine where we would be meeting back up with it later.
Tillman Brook flows down to the left, more heard than seen for a while.
This is a particularly pretty section of woods.
After a while the trail descends and follows more closely along Tillman Brook.
An old stone farm wall in the woods.
Tillman Brook
More Pink Lady's Slippers.
The end of the Red Maple Trail where we continued on to the Tillman Ravine Trail.
First the lower route, the upper route on the way back.
It had been 4 years since I had been here and there were no steps back then.
Bridges much have been added also because I recall having rock hop across Tillman Brook and getting my feet wet because the rocks were under water.  Not any more, several bridges bring you over and back high and dry.
Heading on to the Teacup.
Picking up some litter at the Teacup so we can enjoy a litter-free break spot.

Taking a break at falls at the Teacup in Tillman's Ravine:

Now heading back in the direction we came from after a break at the Teacup.
A crop of Pink Lady's Slippers.  I had never seen so many as on this hike.
Now taking the upper route.
Back at the Red Maple Trail to retrace. 
Coming back up on the woods road part of the trail.
After about 2 miles, the Steffen Trail joins in.
Leaving the Steffen Trail at the cairn with the red top.
Heading downhill back to Lake Ashroe.
Back at the parking lot.