Highlands/Roomy Mine Trails Loop from West Brook Road

Overview

This hike climbs to several viewpoints and passes openings of the Blue Mine and the Roomy Mine.

Details
Time:
2.5 hours
Difficulty:
Moderate
Length:
3.1 miles
Route Type:
Circuit
Dogs:
Allowed on leash
Features:
Views
Location
Park:
Region:
County:
Passaic
State:
NJ
Publication
First Published:
06/18/2009

Updated/Verified:
09/28/2009
Submitter:
Daniel Chazin

Photo

Balanced rock

Parking


View West Brook Road in a larger map

Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates
41.210688,-74.465332
Driving Directions

Take Skyline Drive to its northwestern end at Greenwood Lake Turnpike (County Route 511). Turn left and proceed south for 1.6 miles to West Brook Road. Turn right onto West Brook Road and cross the Wanaque Reservoir on a narrow causeway. At the next T junction, turn left and proceed for 0.3 mile to a pullout on the left, with cement blocks and a gate. Despite the "No Trespassing" signs, hiker parking is permitted here. Leave a note reading "Hiker" on your dashboard, and do not block the gate.

Description

Ahead, beyond the gate, you will see a pine tree with the teal diamond blaze of the Highlands Trail. Turn right and follow the trail route through a grassy field, heading west (parallel to West Brook Road). After crossing a stream on a narrow footbridge, turn left at Townsend Road and continue along the paved road for about 400 feet. At a wooden post, turn right and enter the woods, continuing along the Highlands Trail, which climbs steadily.

Near the top of the climb, the orange-blazed Roomy Mine Trail begins to the right. This will be your return route, but for now, continue ahead on the teal-diamond-blazed Highlands Trail, which ascends to a high point, with views both east and west through the trees. The trail descends a little and continues for about half a mile over undulating terrain, with many short ups and downs. This trail section is particularly scenic, featuring varied and interesting terrain and vegetation, passing many glacial erratics and crossing a number of rock ledges.

After reaching a balanced rock, the Highlands Trail begins to descend. It climbs a little to cross an open rock ledge, then descends steadily. At the base of the descent (after passing a pile of mine tailings to the left), it reaches a junction with the red-on-white-blazed Wyanokie Circular Trail and the yellow-on-white-blazed Mine Trail. Turn left for 150 feet (do not cross the footbridge), and you'll come to the Blue Mine, filled with muddy water. This mine, named for the dark blue color of its ore, was discovered by Peter Hasenclever about 1765 and was worked extensively in the 1800s. A large concrete pad at the entrance to the mine, with protruding iron rods, once served as a base for steam-operated equipment.

Retrace your steps to the joint Wyanokie Circular/Mine Trails and proceed north (again, do not cross the footbridge). Continue past the junction with the Highlands Trail, following the red-on-white and yellow-on-white blazes along a rocky woods road. In another 200 feet, bear left at the fork and cross a small stream on rocks. When the yellow-on-white blazes diverge to the right, continue to follow the red-on-white blazes of the Wyanokie Circular Trail.

In about 600 feet, the Wyanokie Circular Trail ends, and you should turn right onto the orange-blazed Roomy Mine Trail. In another 500 feet, you'll come to the main opening of the Roomy Mine (on the hillside, to the left of the trail). Named for Benjamin Roome, a local land surveyor, the mine was opened shortly after 1840 and worked until 1857. The mine shaft extends about 60 feet into the hillside, but it is presently closed to the public.

Continue ahead on the orange-blazed Roomy Mine Trail, which descends slightly. In 200 feet, the Roomy Mine Trail turns left, joining the yellow-on-white-blazed Mine Trail. Both trails head uphill to a south-facing viewpoint from a rock ledge over Wyanokie High Point and Carris Hill, with the Wanaque Reservoir to the left. Here, the trails turn sharply left, climb to another rock ledge, then continue north along the ridge, passing an open cut of the Roomy Mine on the right. Just beyond, you'll reach a west-facing viewpoint over Wyanokie High Point and Saddle Mountain in an open area.

After passing another mine opening (with a large pile of tailings) to the left, the two trails diverge. Continue to follow the Roomy Mine Trail, which turns right and descends, first on switchbacks and rock steps, then more gradually. (This trail section was recently constructed by a Girl Scout for her Gold Award.) After crossing a stream on rocks and then a woods road, the Roomy Mine Trail climbs slightly to end at a junction with the teal-diamond-blazed Highlands Trail.

Turn left onto the Highlands Trail and follow it downhill, turn left onto Townsend Road, then turn right and proceed across the grassy field to reach the parking pullout where the hike began.

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Highlands/Roomy Mine Trails Loop from West Brook Road

We did this hike at the last minute on March 21, 2010. Easy to find, and an easy trail to follow. It was very scenic, though I suspect when the leaves are out, some of the views will be blocked. Some decent rock scrambles scattered throughout.