Saturday, August 4, 2012

Roland May Eves Mountain Inlet Sanctuary to Hopatcong Natural Area Preserve on the Highlands Trail, NJ

Roland May Eves Mountain Inlet Sanctuary - Borough of Hopotcong Recreation
Highlands Trail NJ 3: Route 181 to Route 206 - New York New Jersey Trail Conference
Hopatcong Natural Area Preserve - Tri-Community Trails Link Brochure

GPS Coordinates 40.970846, -74.640349

View Larger Map

Highlands Trail Sparta/Hopatcong/Bryam - New York New Jersey Trail Conference
Hopatcong Natural Area Preserve - Tri-Community Trails Hike Map (shows last part of this hike)
My rough sketch of the entire hike on the USGS Topo Map for Stanhope, NJ

HIKE DISTANCE:  10 miles total out and back (5 miles each way)

Wetlands across the street from the parking lot.  There is a bird blind to the left but not a whole lot to see from there due to overgrowth.
From the parking lot facing the road, turn right and walk along the road passing a house on the left.  Just beyond that house turn left on the gravel road at the post with "399" on it.  This is a gravel road that leads to other residences.  There are no blazes or signs.
The beginning of the teal/black-blazed trail to the Highlands Trail which is also sometimes blazed with a yellow band.
Bridge over Mountain Brook
The teal/black trail ends at the teal diamond-blazed Highlands Trail.
The Highlands Trail skirts around a swamp then goes through pretty woods with interesting rock formations.
Lots of signs as you cross into Hudson Farm property...
OK then, on we go, never leaving the trail, ever, even when...
...this huge sign came into view on the right off the trail.  I zoomed in with my camera to read it. 
Old water pump just before descending down to Bear Pond.
First glimpse of Bear Pond with a Great Blue Heron flying over.
Bear Pond
Rugged terrain around Bear Pond.
Cameras aren't the only thing watching on this hike.
Bear Pond is very scenic and for the most part is not surrounded by homes and docks.
The Highlands Trail is unmarked as it follows Aladdin Trail, a quiet residential street.
Then a short stretch on the not-so-quiet Route 607 before turning right into the woods just before the guardrail and the stop light warning sign.
This adorable little chipmunk sat still for a long time for having his picture taken.
When the yellow triangle-blazed Tri-Community Trail starts along with the teal-blazed Highlands Trail after crossing a woods road, you are leaving Hudson Farms property and entering the Hopatcong Natural Area Preserve.
What a work of art!  Fortunately this spider was smart enough to build off of the trail instead of across the trail.
The teal diamond/yellow triangle trail continues along a ridge above Route 206 through very pretty woods but unfortunately with the sound of Route 206 traffic noise in spurts.
Shortly after crossing a power cut the yellow/teal blazes continue along Route 206 but this was our turn around point.
One more sign at the end of Aladdin Trail heading back towards Bear Pond.  Per the Highlands Trail web site, it is OK to hike as long as you stay on the trail. 

[  0.00]  Facing the road, turn right and walk along Lakeside Avenue passing residence on left
[  0.05]  Turn left on the gravel road at the post with 399 on it (no signs or trail markers)
[  0.10]  Keep left at fork (no signs or trail markers)
[  0.15]  Turn left on footpath when gravel road veers right uphill towards homes; after a short distance cross footbridge around the bend; teal diamond with black center and yellow band blazes start (follow teal diamond with black center all the way to teal diamond Highlands Trail - watch for blazes as several woods roads cross over)
[  0.25]  Cross footbridge over Mountain Brook still following teal and black blazes
[  0.35]  Turn left at unblazed T-intersection (blazes resume after turning)
[  0.60]  Teal/black ends at teal diamond Highlands Trail; turn left on Highlands Trail
[  0.75]  Rockhop over creek
[  1.00]  Keep straight when woods road crosses over
[  1.25]  Hudson Farm boundary
[  1.30]  Woods road crosses over
[  1.40]  Highlands Trail turns left on a woods road that comes in from the right
[  1.45]  Highlands Trail leaves woods road to the right when the woods road continues
[  1.70]  Old water pump; trail veers left at pump and descends towards Bear Pond
[  1.85]  Trail follows along Bear Pond
[  2.45]  Highlands Trail leaves the pond to the right when an unmarked trail goes left
[  2.55]  Campsite and fireplaces on left
[  2.65]  Woods road becomes paved Aladdin Trail through residential area; follow Aladdin Trail (no blazes) to end
[  2.85]  Turn left on Route 607 (blazes resume but there are only a couple along Route 607)
[  3.05]  Turn right on woods road beyond chain barrier just before guardrail and flashing stop light warning
[  3.65]  Cross woods road; Hudson Farm property ends, Hopatcong Natural Area Preserve begins as yellow triangle trail begins and runs along with the teal diamond Highlands Trail
[  3.80]  Rock hop over creek
[  4.00]  Teal/yellow joins woods road coming in from the right briefly before leaving woods road to the right
[  4.35]  Trail switchbacks up sharply to the left
[  4.55]  Rock hop over creek
[  4.85]  Cross a couple of dry creek beds
[  4.95]  Cross power cut veering slightly to the right
[  5.00]  Teal/yellow turns left continuing along Route 206; retrace
[  5.05]  Cross power cut veering slightly to the right
[  6.00]  Teal/yellow joins woods road coming in from the right briefly before leaving woods road to the right
[  6.35]  Yellow ends at woods road, enter Hudson Farm property following teal diamond blazes  other side of woods road
[  6.95]  Pass under chain barrier and turn left on Route 607
[  7.15]  Turn right on paved Aladdin Trail (residential street) and follow to end, continue when paved surface becomes woods road then follows banks of Bear Pond
[  8.20]  Highlands Trail veers left away from Bear Pond
[  8.35]  Old water pump
[  8.55]  Left on woods road that comes in from the right for short distance then leave woods road to the right
[  8.70]  Woods road crosses over
[  8.75]  Hudson Farm boundary
[  9.10]  Cross woods road
[  9.50]  Cross woods road, a few steps later turn right on teal/black when teal continues straight
[  9.75]  Keep right at fork
[  9.85]  Cross footbridge over creek then keep right
[  9.90]  Keep right at fork
[  9.95]  Teal/black blazes end at footbridge; cross bridge and keep right on gravel road
[10.00]  Keep straight when paved road goes left
[10.05]  Turn right on paved Lakeside Avenue back to parking


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Bill! Unfortunately I somehow got a smudge on the lens about half way through the hike and did not notice until I got home. That ruined a lot of the pictures. I have to be better about checking for that while hiking!


  2. That's a lot of no trespassing signs!

    Reminds me of a hike near Camp Smith - think the trail is on the East Hudson map. There are signs saying something like don't go off the trail unless you want to be used for target practice as part of a military training exercise....

    1. Oh, so there is another place with signs like that? I have hiked to Anthony's Nose but from the other direction via the AT, not along Camp Smith, so I had not seen those.


  3. Nothing like having Big Brother along as an unwelcomed hiking companion! I wonder if the humidity and bugs were as annoying there last weekend as were those signs. (Great & appropriate accompanying soundtrack, btw on Shawnee's blog.) Good thing chipmunks can't read. :)

    1. Surprisingly, the bugs weren't annoying at all. Just the humidity and the signs, LOL.