Updates since Publication - Hiking the Jersey Highlands

Due to the ever-changing nature of trails, our guidebooks, even if accurate when published, may not show new or relocated trails that have been established after the book was printed.  Any changes, omissions, or other updates that are not included in the published book and that are important for hikers to be aware of will be posted here.


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Surprise Lake Loop

Distances were pretty accurate (surprisingly) in the book.  However, I would rate this due to the strenuous nature of this hike at 4 to 4.5 hours depending on how long you want to spend at the various viewpoints along the way and for breaks while climbing.  It would be 3.5 hours if you didn't stop along the way. There are a few problems with the map in the book.  It lists the Highlands Trail on it but it should be the Appalachian Trail instead.  Also it is missing an indication of the rapid up/down nature of the Blue Trail between the AT and the junction with the Yellow Trail (for me this was actually the most difficult part of the hike!)

Ghost Lake Loop

My GPS gave me about 1 mile longer than is stated in the book. I got 5.6 miles.  So as the hike progressed the distances in the book got progressively different from mine.  It still took 3.75 hours though.

Carris Hill Circuit

I did this hike this past Sunday and the length and time of this hike as listed in the book are off by about half a mile and about half an hour.  I estimate this is now a 4.5 mile hike and you should allow yourself about 4 hours to do it with breaks for lunch and taking in the views and the falls.  The mileage estimates in the book are accurate up to the point before you reach the top of Carris Hill.  I got a distance of 1.8 miles to the summit (the book says 1.7 miles).  From that point on I consistently got distances that were about 0.2 miles longer than in the book right up until the point where you cross back over the Yellow Wyanokie Crest Trail as you start climbing steadily back up to the Otter Hole.  I got 0.6 miles from the Yellow Trail junction to the crest (the book says its 0.4 miles) for a total of 4.2 miles to get to the crest above Otter Hole.  Another 0.3 miles back to the parking lot from there gives a total of 4.5 miles in total for this hike.  This matches the length of this hike as described by Dan Chazin here: http://nynjtc.org/hike/carris-hill-loop-otter-hole though he does the circuit in a counter-clockwise loop whereas the book does it in a clockwise loop.

Big Beech Mountain Turnaround

According to Daniel Chazin of the NYNJTC this hike is not safe to do until the State of NJ replaces the bridge over the Wanaque River which was washed away during Hurricane Irene in August 2011.

Allamuchy Boundary Loop

I did this hike yesterday and there are some significant differences from the description in the book.  The most important is that the hike is much longer than listed.  Instead of it being a 6.1 mile hike this is a 7.2 mile hike.  It will most likely take more than the four hours George has it listed for.  You can do it in four but you won't have much time for stopping. The next most important difference is that one of the turn directions is wrong.  It says at 1.3 miles you come to a T-intersection and you should turn left.  At 1.3 miles you do come to a T-intersection but you should turn right here.  If you go left you'll be heading off towards the Allamuchy Pond and the Silver trail.  This is where the distances in the description start to go wrong.  You will eventually come to what he describes as being at 1.3 miles but instead you will find it at 1.6 miles (you make a left here and continue to follow the white trail).  You meet the Barberry Red Trail at 1.9 miles instead of at 1.6 miles.  The trail to the Rt. 80 overlook is at 2.84 miles (not 2.4 miles). Here are the rest of the significant intersection mileages: (assuming you walk to the scenic overlook and back as I did yesterday) 3.45 - intersection with old woods road 4 - intersection with Blue Lakeview Trail (take this trail) 4.35 - intersection with Red Barberry Trail (take this trail) (I walked down the Blue Trail a little farther looking for the trail to the lake he mentions but couldn't find it, so my mileages are a little longer from here due to that) 4.8 - Beaver Lodges, place to rest and have a snack 5.3 - back to White Trail, make left here and follow White Trail back to Parking Lot 5.65 - make right turn here, if you go straight you'll be back to the Blue Lakeview Trail 5.9 - make left to go uphill, going straight brings you to the Allamuchy Pond and Silver Trail 6.4 - intersection with Yellow Birch Trail, stay on White Trail 7.2 - Back to Start of Trail, Parking Lot just beyond

Split Rock Loop South

Just hiked this today and found a few discrepancies to be aware of.  The mileages for the high point of the hike and "the rock" are really off.  My GPS had the high point at 0.5 miles and "the rock" at 0.8 miles.  I didn't see any of the cairns mentioned in the hike description.  However there is a HUGE glacial erratic which George does not mention but is probably why the spot is called "The Rock"!  I found Cedar Point to be at 1.4 miles. George has this hike listed as being part of Farny State Park but from the Trail Conference Map it seems instead to be in the northern section of the Wildcat Ridge WMA.  In fact a great point of reference for your compass bearings when hiking this trail is the communications tower right next to the Hawkwatch on Wildcat Ridge.

Farny Highlands

I should have noted that even though this hike is not part of Farny State Park it is considered part of the area known as the Farny Highlands.

Wyanokie High Point/Iron Mines Loop

Just did this hike yesterday and as to be expected things are somewhat different now then when this was written.  The biggest change is that you can't finish the hike the way it is described in the book.  When you come down off Ball Mtn you should take the orange trail to the yellow dot trail to the blue trail to the green trail back to your car.  See the latest map for details: http://www.nynjtc.org/news/trailhead-closed-mine-trailwyanokie-circular-norvin-green-state-forest Also, forget the mileage info in the description.  I found them to be very off from what my GPS told me my distance was. Finally, due to the different ending of this hike it is considerable longer than described.  This is now a 5 mile hike and will more than likely take between 3.5 to 4 hours to complete.

Wawayanda Mtn Turnaround (Pinwheel Vista)

Just did this hike yesterday and there are a few changes from what is in the book: 1) The road shown in the map and described in the book as Grant Price Rd. is now called Prices Switch Rd. 2) The Parking lot is just before Prices Switch Rd. when driving North on 94 or just after it if you are driving South.  It is easy to miss the lot as the sign for it is not very prominent but there is plenty of roadside parking right beside the lot if it is full (which it usually is, it only holds about 5 cars). 3) Its listed as a 2 hour hike but that is only accurate if you don't plan on spending much time at Pinwheel Vista.  You could easily spend an hour there taking in the view, eating lunch, and resting your legs.  So, I would list this as a 3 hour hike. 4) The ridge in the immediate foreground is Pochuck Mountain.  It is considered geologically part of the Highlands. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pochuck_Mountain

Ryker Lake Loop Hike

If you do the Ryker Lake Loop Hike there are a few things you should note.  1) There are no blazes to help you get across the inlet near the north end of the lake as it seems to be an unmaintained trail.  Be prepared to get your feet wet/muddy.  2) Where the HT exits left near the end of the hike stay along the shore of the lake even though there is a lack of blazes there.  Just follow it to the bridge over the dam.

Buckabear Pond Loop

The Buckabear Pond Loop hike in the book is no longer a Highlands Trail hike since the HT was re-routed to avoid the Buckabear Pond Dam crossing.

Buckabear Pond Trail is closed

The Buckabear Pond Trail has been closed since the by-pass trail was created. The bypass is the rerouted Bearfort Waters/Clinton Trail with the co-aligned Highlands Trail.  The beaver activity and the large dam have forced closure of this trail as well as the old section of BW/C Trail.  There is no longer a loop possible using the former trail across the dam.

Buckabear Trail (Red)

If you do this Buckabear Pond Loop hike in the book you'll need to be extra vigilant to follow the Red Trail back to your car at P3 from the Dam near the Pond.  It goes through some heavy, swampy brush and laurel and the blazes can be hard to see (if at all) near the Pond.  Be prepared to get your boots muddied a bit near the Pond.

Wynokie Torne Loop Hike alternate trail head

The book mentions an unmarked trail leading to the intersection of the red and blue trail.  It seems this is now a blazed trail.  I was just there yesterday and the red trail seems to have been extended all the way to the road now.  There is a post on the side of the road with a red blaze and some planks to cross the ditch.  This alternate start to this hike is now very easy to find.

Echo Lake West Trail - Pequannock Watershed

Echo Lake West Trail hikes as described in this book are not accurate.  Echo Lake West trail was abandoned some years ago.  Only the Highlands Trail parallels the West shore of Echo Lake for 1.8 miles before turning west.  The Northern end of the old trail, now unmaintained, is mostly flooded due to extensive beaver activity. 

Echo Lake West Turnaround Hike

You can follow this hike description up to the point where it says to cross the brook at the north end of the lake.  As Estelle says you can no longer cross the brook and you cannot get to the spot pictured on the cover of the book anymore.  However, there are some very pretty rocky spots along the lakeshore near where the highlands trail leaves the shore of the lake to stop for a break before turning around.  Here's some photos from a few weeks ago: http://opa.cig2.usa.canon.com/s/t/HnBykhfLeLh