Coppermines Trail to Kittatinny Ridge

Overview

This loop hike passes an old copper mine, goes through a magnificent gorge, and climbs to the ridge of the Kittatinny Mountains, with several panoramic viewpoints.

Details
Time:
5 hours
Difficulty:
Moderate to Strenuous
Length:
7.8 miles
Route Type:
Lollipop
Dogs:
Allowed on leash
Features:
Views
Location
Park:
Region:
County:
Warren
State:
NJ
Publication
First Published:
07/31/2003

Updated/Verified:
06/30/2011
Submitter:
Daniel Chazin

Photo

Lower Mine. Photo by Daniel Chazin.

Parking


View Coppermines DWGNRA in a larger map

See also
Trailhead GPS Coordinates
41.03246,-75.036535

Driving Directions

Proceed west on I-80 to the Delaware Water Gap and take Exit 1 (Millbrook/Flatbrookville), the last exit in New Jersey. Bear right at the bottom of the ramp and head north along the Delaware River on Old Mine Road. The road is only one lane wide for about half a mile, and a traffic light has been installed to regulate the two-way traffic. Continue for 7.5 miles to the Copper Mine Parking Area, on the left side of the road (the parking area is 0.5 mile beyond milepost 7 on Old Mine Road). Park here and walk across the road to the trailhead.

Description

From the trailhead, head into the woods on the red-blazed Coppermines Trail. Just past the trailhead, you’ll come to a fork. Bear left and follow a branch trail that parallels a cascading stream and leads in 750 feet to the sealed-off entrance of the lower mine – a relic of Dutch explorations for copper in the 1600s.

Retrace your steps to the fork and bear right, soon passing the ruins of a stone building to the left -- the remnants of a mill that was built in the early 1900s to process the copper ore from the mines. This mining venture was not commercially successful, and it ceased operations in 1911.

The trail now begins a steady ascent on a woods road. In 0.2 mile, a blue-blazed spur trail that leads to the Kaiser Trail begins on the right, but you should continue ahead on Footbridge Over Gorge Below Cascade. Photo by Daniel Chazin.the red-blazed Coppermines Trail. In another 400 feet, the barricaded entrance to the upper mine is to the right of the trail. The trail now narrows to a footpath and soon levels off, with a cascading brook in a deep ravine on the left.

After crossing the brook on a wooden bridge below a cascade, the trail begins to climb again. It ascends a switchback and then follows directly along the magnificent gorge, with its series of waterfalls, below on the right. The trail passes attractive stands of rhododendrons, but most of the hemlocks, which once were dominant in the gorge, have been killed by the wooly adelgid.

Just beyond the end of the gorge, another spur trail on the right leads to the Kaiser Trail. This trail, blazed red/blue, will be your return route, but for now, continue along the red-blazed Coppermines Trail. The Coppermines Trail levels off, twice recrosses the brook, and proceeds through open woods with an understory of blueberry, crossing several seasonally wet areas on puncheons. Soon, the trail resumes a gradual climb, continuing through stands of dense young saplings.

After passing through dense mountain laurel thickets, the Coppermines Trail reaches a rocky area at the crest of the rise, and it descends a short distance to end at the white-blazed Appalachian Trail (A.T), with Yards Creek and Camp Road visible to the left. You’ve now gone a little over two miles from the start of the hike. Turn right at this junction, and climb steadily along the A.T., steeply in places, up the ridge of the Kittatinny Mountains. In about half a mile, you’ll reach a limited east-facing viewpoint to the left of the trail. The A.T. now ascends more gradually, then levels off.

Lower Yards Creek Resevoir. Photo by Daniel Chazin.In another mile, you'll come to a series of open grassy areas, with panoramic east-facing views. Lower Yards Creek Reservoir is visible directly below, and the northern end of Mt. Tammany may be seen to the south. The A.T. continues south along the ridge, with more views to the left of the trail.

 In half a mile, the A.T. descends briefly, then levels off. Here, the blue-on-white-blazed Kaiser Trail joins from the right (the junction is marked with a sign). This trail will be your return route, but for now, continue ahead on the A.T. for another 0.7 mile. When the Kaiser Trail (also designated as Kaiser Road) leaves to the left in a third of a mile, you should continue to follow the A.T., which climbs briefly, descends a little, then begins a steady climb.

Soon, you’ll reach a sign marking the boundary between the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and Worthington State Forest. Just beyond, you’ll come to a panoramic west-facing viewpoint over the Delaware River, with Poxono Island visible to the north, and Smithfield Beach directly across the river in Pennsylvania. Proceed ahead on the A.T. to the wide-open crest of Mt. Mohican (also known as Raccoon Ridge), marked by a large cairn. From here, there are spectacular views to the west, east and north.

Mt. Mohican (Raccoon Ridge) Hikers. Photo by Daniel Chazin.After enjoying the vista, retrace your steps back to the first junction with the Kaiser Trail (now on your left), and follow this blue-blazed trail downhill. For much of the way, the trail is a grassy woods road, but in places it has narrowed to a rocky footpath. After about a mile of relatively easy walking, you'll come to a trail junction at a huge log, with a sign for a spur trail to the Coppermines Trail. Turn right and follow this short red/blue-blazed trail. After crossing two brooks, you’ll reach a junction with the red-blazed Coppermines Trail. Make a left here, retracing your steps as you descend through the gorge, and follow the red blazes back to the trailhead, where the hike began.

Comments

Not my favorite choice of hike

I'm sorry, but the first mile on the RED was ok if you are looking for something physical to do, but the scenery wasn't there. I saw only one mine just before you reached the creek bridge and that was IT. The creek was all dried up mostly from the lack of rain so that added to the disapointment. It was only 2 miles per the internet map, but the RED went on and on and on with nothing reallly to see. Maybe I should have hung some Blair Witch stick figures for the next hikers coming in. I thought about taking the BLUE halfway in, but decided not to venture without a physical map and I already wasted almost 2 hours of daylight. Apparently the BLUE would have lead to the AT and then the Catfish tower which was one on my main reasons for taking this trail. Again to me it was a waste of a days hike. I should have known when I saw an empty parking lot when I arrived.

LOST & FOUND-A/T TRAIL @ WATER GAP/WORTHINGTON BOUNDARY MARKER

9/30/12-While retutning from a hike,heading east on the A/T from Sunfish Lake, I noticed a Gray womans hoody drying on a rock. We had rain & hail storms today,I got wet too.This is in the vicinity of the boundary marker signs for the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area & Worthington State Forest. The right hand pocket had pink plastic dog waste disposal bags inside it.Hope this is helpful to someone,its a nice jacket...

RED COPPER MINES TRAIL TO KITTATINNY RIDGE & A/T TRAIL

The 1st mile or so along the gorge is beautiful & worth seeing. But the rest of the hike was dissapointing,with one or two caveats. It's a long boring multi mile hike to get to the A/T. Once you get to the ridge,your walking in the center,with 100-200 yards to either side of faces with views. Unfortunately you cant see these views along the hike for miles-VIEWS LIMITED.Once you get to the view point @ the top,yes the view is good,but not spectacular.

Going beyond the Water Gap into Worthington,toward sunfish lake,there are some views to the north of the Delaware that you can see THANKS TO SOME VOLUNTEERS?? who had the foresight to cut what looks like a new trail,along the edge of the ridge,so you can actually see something..THATS THE POINT!!!

From my perspective as an avid hiker,theres nothing worse than being bogged down in the woods for miles,while theres a great view,that your not able to see...Who knows...Maybe better in winter....

Hunting

Is hunting allowed there? I know last year the area by Millbrook Village was closed to hikers.

I tried looking online but wasn't finding a clear answer. Also some areas don't allow hunting on Sundays.

Hunting in DWGNRA

Copper Mines Trail in the Spring

The Copper Mine trail is great! I did a slightly different version heading north on the AT around to Rattlesnake Swamp. Here are pictures and the description of the route I took: http://gonehikin.blogspot.com/2010/04/delaware-water-gap-copper-mines-at...

Especially great in winter

Did this on January 16, 2010. Beautiful views with the leaves off the trees. Not icy at all along the top of the ridge on the AT because of the sunshine. I took the second, longer connector trail back to Coppermines from the Kaiser for more of a loop, and it was quite steep right before hooking back in.

See http://www.flickr.com/photos/kleepet/tags/copperminestrailtokittatinnyridgehike

Great photos!

Nice photos!

I was up along this portion of the ridge this past fall, and it's great to see the difference when there aren't any leaves on the trees.

Thanks for sharing your experience!