Carris Hill along Posts Brook

Overview

This hike passes cascades and a waterfall and climbs Carris Hill, with a broad panorama to the east over the Wanaque Reservoir.

Details
Time:
3.5 hours
Difficulty:
Moderate to Strenuous
Length:
4 miles
Route Type:
Lollipop
Dogs:
Allowed on leash
Features:
Views, Waterfall
Location
Park:
Region:
County:
Passaic
State:
NJ
Publication
First Published:
03/25/2010

Updated/Verified:
03/25/2010
Submitter:
Daniel Chazin

Photo

Chikahoki Falls. Photo by Daniel Chazin.

Parking


View Carris Hill Parking in a larger map

Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates
41.037623, -74.345413
Driving Directions

Take I-287 to Exit 53 (Bloomingdale) and turn left onto Hamburg Turnpike. Upon entering Bloomingdale, the name of the road changes to Main Street. In 1.3 miles (from Route 287) you will reach a fork in the road. Bear right, and in another 0.1 mile turn right (uphill) onto Glenwild Avenue (following the sign to West Milford). Continue ahead for 2.4 miles to a small parking turnout on the right, by a yellow gate and a kiosk.

Description

You'll notice a triple yellow blaze, which marks the start of the Wyanokie Crest Trail. Proceed ahead on this trail, which briefly follows a fire road but almost immediately bears left and continues on a footpath. The trail climbs a little, crosses a woods road and a rocky area, then descends to Posts Brook. It crosses several branches of the brook on rocks (the crossing can be difficult if the water is high), then turns right onto a woods road, the route of the blue-blazed Hewitt-Butler Trail and the teal-diamond-blazed Highlands Trail. In 100 feet, the Wyanokie Crest Trail leaves to the left, but you should continue ahead on the blue- and teal-diamond-blazed trail.

After passing through a wet area, the trail crosses a tributary stream. This crossing can also be difficult if the water is high, and you may wish to bear left (uphill) to find a better crossing. Just beyond, you'll reach a junction with the white-blazed Posts Brook Trail. The Hewitt-Butler and Highlands Trails leave to the left, but continue ahead on the white trail, which closely parallels the cascading Posts Brook.

Soon, the trail reaches the top of Chikahoki Falls and descends to the brook, with a good view of the falls to the right. The trail closely parallels the brook for a short distance, then bears left and heads uphill, away from the brook.
In a quarter mile, you'll cross a seasonal stream, after which the trail bears right and once again heads towards Posts Brook. Just ahead on a tree is a sign which marks the start of the Lower Trail. Turn left and follow the Lower Trail, blazed with a black "L" on white, for a short distance to a junction with the yellow-blazed Carris Hill Trail. Here, you should turn left again, now following the yellow blazes.

After traversing a level, rocky area, the Carris Hill Trail crosses a seasonal stream and begins a rather steep climb. The grade soon moderates, but after a third of a mile, it again climbs steeply over rocks, reaching a viewpoint to the southeast from a rock outcrop to the right. The trail continues to climb to another rock outcrop, with a broader view. Here, it bears right and ascends to the left of a 40-foot-high massive rock face.

At the top, a short detour to the right leads to a magnificent east-facing viewpoint. The Wanaque Reservoir, contained by the Raymond, Wolf Den and Green Swamp dams, is in the foreground, with the Ramapo Mountains beyond, and a long viaduct of I-287 visible to the right. On a clear day, the New York City skyline may be seen on the horizon. This is a good place to pause and enjoy the spectacular view.

The yellow trail now climbs more gradually, soon reaching another viewpoint (partially blocked by trees), with a six-foot-high balanced glacial erratic silhouetted against the sky. The trail curves right and traverses open rock ledges with views to the south. After going through dense mountain laurel thickets, it reaches a fifth viewpoint -- this one to the southwest -- with pitch pines and a large glacial erratic. The trail continues on a level footpath through laurel and blueberry bushes and climbs slightly to end, on a rock outcrop with views to the north and west, at a junction with the blue-blazed Hewitt-Butler Trail and the teal-diamond-blazed Highlands Trail.

Turn left here, and follow the joint Hewitt-Butler/Highlands Trail to the southeast. After reaching another large rock outcrop, the trail begins a steady descent, eventually leveling off on a woods road. It bears right, leaving the road, and soon reaches a junction with the white-blazed Posts Brook Trail, which you encountered earlier in the hike. Turn right and follow the blue and teal diamond blazes westward, now retracing your route. When you reach the junction with the yellow-blazed Wyanokie Crest Trail, turn left, recross Posts Brook, and continue to the trailhead where the hike began.