Saturday, August 20, 2011

Worthington State Forest, NJ: Appalachian Trail - Sunfish Pond - Dunnfield Creek Loop

Worthington State Forest - New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

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GPS Coordinates to Dunnfield Parking: 40.971797, -75.125589

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Southern Kittatinny Trails Map #120 - NY/NJ Trail Conference

HIKE DISTANCE:  9.1 miles

APPALACHIAN TRAIL SECTION HIKING: - AT section miles 1,279.3 to 1,283.8

Pick up the white-blazed Appalachian Trail which goes through the parking lot and to the left of the porta-potty.
The hike starts along scenic Dunnfield Creek.
Dunnfield Creek
Veer left on the A.T. - the Dunnfield Creek Trail on the right will be the return route.
A very foggy morning on the Appalachian Trail.
Beyond the backpacker camping area, fire damage from the forest fire of August 7, 2010 on the left side of the AT, the right side of the AT untouched by the fire.
Sunfish Pond was full of huge tadpoles becoming frogs.
Continue following the Appalachian Trail to the left of the pond skirting along the water on boulders.  At the far end, continue a short distance then turn left on the orange-blazed Springs Trail.  A short distance ahead, enter the far end of a clearing on the left and look for an unmaintained trail which leads up a hill to a view into Pennsylvania.  There are several trails back in there, just pick whichever is easiest to follow up to the top of the hill.
It was still cloudy and hazy so can't say how nice the view would be otherwise.
Return to the A.T., turn right and start watching for the turquoise trail on the left.  The blazes are high up, faded and there are multiple unmarked trails so you need to look carefully.
Turn left on the turquoise-blazed trail.
A short distance ahead, a view of Sunfish Pond from the opposite side.
When the turquoise trail turns left on the Sunfish Pond Fire Road, turn right and follow the unmarked fire road to the green-blazed Dunnfield Creek Trail on the left.
The green-blazed Dunnfield Creek Trail starts out rocky and descends to Dunnfield Creek.
Arriving at Dunnfield Creek.

For the last 3 miles of the hike, this is pretty much what you will be seeing and hearing.  Nice! 

You won't have to worry about this bag of garbage detracting from your view of the waterfalls in Dunnfield Creek.  I packed it out, brought it home, pulled out 12 plastic bottles for recycling and put the rest (Subway wrappers) in my trash can.  So hard to believe 12 people had lunch here and not one of them could carry out their trash.

[  0.00]  Pick up white-blazed Appalachian Trail to the left of the porta-potty in the parking lot
[  0.10]  Cross bridge over Dunnfield Creek
[  0.40]  Keep left on the AT at the fork; the right fork will be the return route
[  1.40]  Keep straight on the AT when the red-blazed Holly Springs Trail goes right and the yellow-blazed Beulahland Trail goes left
[  2.90]  Keep right on AT when the blue-blazed Douglas Trail goes left at the backpacker campsite
[  3.50]  Turn left at the Sunfish Pond sign; pond view to right, keep left on AT along pond
[  4.20]  Turn left on orange-blazed Springs Trail
[  4.30]  Turn left into far end of open area, take unmaintained trail up hill to view; retrace
[  4.50]  From clearing, right on orange-blazed trail
[  4.60]  Turn right on the white-blazed Appalachian Trail
[  4.75]  Turn left on the turquoise-blazed trail
[  4.80]  View of pond on right
[  5.00]  At fire road when turqoise turns left, turn right on unmarked fire road
[  5.50]  Turn left on green-blazed Dunnfield Creek Trail
[  6.35]  Trail starts to parallel Dunnfield Creek
[  7.50]  Keep left on green-blazed Dunnfield Creek Trail when red-blazed Holly Springs Trail goes right
[  8.60]  Keep straight on green-blazed trail when blue-blazed trail comes in from the left
[  8.80]  Left on white-blazed Appalachian Trail
[  9.10]  Back at parking lot


  1. What a great job with your photos and descriptions! And good job carrying all that garbage out.

    This looks like EXACTLY what I want to do next weekend. I'll be flying into Newark from Chicago with a backpack & tent, kidnapping my daughter and making our way here. Can you tell me where we could put up a tent? Would love to hike Saturday and Sunday. THANKS!!

    1. Thanks!

      There is a campsite near Sunfish Pond. Here is a link with info: While in that area, be sure so swing over to Mt. Tammany for great views. This is the link for that hike: The weather is looking great for this weekend - I am sure you will have a great time!


  2. Hi.. thank you for the beautiful photos. I am fairly new to the region and am planning to do a solo hike to this place. My concern is black bears. I have no experience with them. Are they dangerous? I have heard there are many in the vicinity of this area.

    1. Thanks, Israd. There are a lot of bears in NJ and I have encountered them on several occasions. Mostly they run away and all you see is a black flash go by. Other times they stand their ground and your only option is to change your route and back away slowly. Most importantly, don't be afraid of them but respect them, always remember you are a guest in their home, never scream or run from a bear and keep yourself informed about how to act when around bears. There is lots of information available.