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Blue Mountain Lake, Hemlock Pond via Woods Roads
This loop hike circles Blue Mountain Lake, passes scenic Hemlock Pond, and climbs to a rocky viewpoint over the Poconos, following old roads for most of the way.
Allowed on leash
Take Interstate Route 80 west to the last exit in New Jersey (just before reaching the bridge over the Delaware River). Continue north on Old Mine Road, which parallels the Delaware River, for about 10 miles, until you reach Millbrook Village. Bear left at Millbrook Village, and continue 1.5 miles north to a large white house (where snacks and refreshments may be available). Turn right at this house, following the sign to Blue Mountain Lake, and continue for 1.3 miles to the parking area on the left.
From the northeast end of the parking area, near the directory, follow the road for about 40 feet, then turn right onto a footpath heading downhill. Continue straight ahead where the trail joins a road which comes in from the right. Keep to the right at the clearing, where the gravel road climbs a little and then parallels Blue Mountain Lake, below it on the left. In about an mile, you will come to a junction where the trail splits (the arrows on the brown wand point in both directions). Turn right here and head uphill until you reach a T-intersection.
Turn left at this intersection and follow the road downhill, then steadily uphill. You will be passing through an oak, birch and maple forest, with an understory of mountain laurel and blueberry bushes. After the trail levels off and then descends slightly, you will pass a swamp. The road then swings to the left and reaches another T-intersection. Turn left again, and then make the next right onto a path that leads to Hemlock Pond, whose entire shoreline is dominated by evergreens. This is a good place to stop and take a break.
Return to the main trail and turn right, continuing up and then downhill to a junction. Turn right at the junction, and continue for about 300 feet to the dam of Hemlock Pond, which offers another view of the pond. Retrace your steps to the main trail, turn right, and continue for about a mile through an area dominated with young black birch trees, with a wall of boulders on your left. After passing a lane on the right, you will arrive at a fork in the road. Turn right here and, in about 300 feet, turn right onto a footpath that leads up to slabs of glacially polished bedrock. Continue across this rock to an excellent viewpoint, with stunted pitch pines. This rocky outlook, known as Indian Rocks, offers views over the Delaware River valley and the Pocono plateau in Pennsylvania.
After savoring this view, return to the fork in the road, bear right, then immediately turn left and descend on a side trail. When you reach the bottom, turn right and follow an old road past the remains of former residences (the houses in this former residential community were demolished when the federal government acquired the property for the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area) and along two lakes (the first one is dry, having been drained by the park in 1995). After about a mile, you will come to a junction with a footpath, near where you began the hike. Turn right onto the footpath, and continue to the parking area.