Point Mountain Loop from Penwell Road

Overview

This loop hike follows mowed paths along cultivated fields, parallels the scenic Musconetcong River, and climbs to the summit of Point Mountain, with views of small towns, fertile farmland, and the Musconetcong River valley.

Details
Time:
3 hours
Difficulty:
Moderate
Length:
4.1 miles
Route Type:
Circuit
Dogs:
Allowed on leash
Features:
Views
Location
Park:
Region:
County:
Hunterdon
State:
NJ
Publication
First Published:
10/09/2003

Updated/Verified:
08/26/2012
Submitter:
Daniel Chazin

Photo

Muscontetcong River. Photo by Daniel Chazin.

Parking


View Musconetcong River Res in a larger map

Trailhead GPS Coordinates
40.777747,-74.89543
Driving Directions

Take I-80 to Exit 26 (Budd Lake/Hackettstown) and proceed west on US 46 for 7.4 miles to Hackettstown. Turn left onto NJ 182 and follow it for 1.0 mile, then turn right onto NJ 57. Follow NJ 57 for 6.2 miles and turn left onto Penwell Road (at a sign for "Penwell"). Proceed for 0.4 mile to a bridge over the Musconetcong River. About 0.1 mile beyond the bridge, turn right onto a gravel driveway just before a stone house (the small park sign at this location is difficult to see) and continue uphill for about 0.2 mile to the parking area.

Description

From the parking area, proceed south on the orange-blazed Ridge Trail, which follows a wide mowed path Ridge Trail following mowed path. Photo by Daniel Chazin.to the left of cultivated fields, with views of Point Mountain ahead in the distance. In about a third of a mile, where the orange-blazed trail turns left, continue ahead on the blue-blazed Riverwalk Trail. The blue-blazed trail turns right at the end of the field, follows along its southern end, then turns left and descends on a footpath to the Musconetcong River. After crossing a tributary stream, the trail widens to a woods road. When you reach a fork, bear right to continue along the blue-blazed trail.

In a third of a mile, the Riverwalk Trail reaches another fork. The trail ahead is also marked blue, but you should turn right, leaving the woods road, follow a footpath for 50 feet to the river, then turn left and proceed along the river, still following blue blazes. For the next half mile, the trail follows a footpath that closely parallels the scenic river, which features attractive cascades.

After passing a huge sycamore tree, the trail crosses Point Mountain Road and soon heads slightly inland, following a footpath through wild rose thickets. This trail section is often somewhaClimb to Point Mountain. Photo by Daniel Chazin.t overgrown, although it is well blazed and relatively easy to follow. After approaching the river once more, the trail bears left, away from the river, and begins to run through a deciduous forest. Soon, the trail bears sharply left and begins to head northeast, paralleling Musconetcong River Road, visible through the trees to the right.

About two miles from the start, the Riverwalk Trail recrosses Point Mountain Road and enters a parking area on the east side of the road. Here, the trail turns right and begins to climb on a rocky footpath, reaching a trail junction in 250 feet. Continue ahead, uphill, now following the orange-blazed Ridge Trail.  After the trail makes a sharp right turn, the climb steepens, and the trail continues to ascend on a rocky, rugged treadway, with rock and wood steps provided for part of the climb.

After bearing left in sight of a private home below to the right, the grade moderates, and the trail soon reaches a panoramic viewpoint over the Musconetcong River valley from a rock outcrop to the left of the trail. The tranquil view includes farms and small towns. This is a good place to take a break and rest from the climb – the one steep ascent on the hike.

The Ridge Trail now briefly descends to a junction with the yellow-blazed Overlook Trail. Here, it bears left and climbs to regain the ridge. Follow the orange-blazed trail as it continues along the ridge, with views through the trees on the left. Along the way, you’ll pass an interesting pointed Point Mountain view. Photo by Daniel Chazin.rock on the left. After about half a mile of ridgetop walking, the trail bears right and descends slightly to parallel an old stone wall. Here, the White Trail begins on the right, but you should continue to follow the orange-blazed Ridge Trail, which turns left and climbs back to the ridge.

Soon, the trail begins a steady descent from the ridge. After crossing a stream, it turns left and follows a woods road downhill. Near the base of the descent, the White Trail goes off to the right. Continue ahead on the orange-blazed trail, which emerges onto a field and follows a mowed path along its left side. At the end of the field, it bears left and reaches a junction with the blue-blazed Riverwalk Trail, which begins on the left. Turn right and follow the orange-blazed trail along the right side of fields, retracing your steps to the Penwell Road parking area, where the hike began.

Comment: Please be relevant, civil, non-commercial.

Very nice hike!

 As the previous poster stated this hike has a lot of variety & few people .  Did it today & found our way easily, great blazing job!

This hike has a bit of everything

This hike has a bit of everything - farm fields, a flat river walk, a rocky climb up a mountain. The area between the two road crossings is very overgrown - lots of prickers. Otherwise, a lovely hike. We saw a lot of people in the river fishing for trout, and a farmer tilling the fields. Unfortunately, quite a bit of broken glass around the summit. Nice view from the summit. http://agiletrekker.blogspot.com/2013/05/point-mountain-loop-from-penwell-road.html

I live within 5 minutes of Point Mtn.

I live within 5 minutes of this area. I would normally park in the Point Mountain Road lot just across the bridge going uphill (it fits about 4-5 cars) but I have parked off Penwell road before, and yes you can easily miss the driveway. I always thought it was the driveway for another house behind the stone one. I've hiked every path in the park, including the White trail that ends abruptly on the side of Penwell Road uphill, where there is a private driveway across the street that has a street sign that reads "Hermits Lane" - careful, this road can be busier than it looks at times and people don't go 25mph as they should. You can walk around the corn fields for extra distance if you hike for endurance and cardio workouts like I do. The white trail goes from that end by Penwell road, crosses a river tributary stream, and heads up a small ridge to meet up eventually with Orange just after Orange leaves the corn fields. (a few small areas tend to be overgrown with thorny bushes to where it's barely more than the width of your feet). Orange goes up and over the ridge to the lookout and back down to Blue as written, White heads off eventually into the woods from Orange and crosses Point Pointain Road further uphill, (Yellow does as well, as many people park along the road and make the short, but steep walk up directly to the overlook) Yellow crosses from where people park along the road into the swampy wooded area near some houses. Eventually Yellow ends at White and White heads off through the woods and some overgrown sections to eventually lead to a clearing and an area that most likely used to be working farmland, as it abuts a farm that still has a few cows grazing. Be careful here, it's just a big open field here with TALL grass and weed (bring anti-tick spray here) and the path itself looks like it's mowed in early spring and not again for the rest of the warm seasons , as it was significantly shorter. Watch out for bees. I walked right past a downed wasp nest and never knew it and the clover here is usually very attractive to bees.  The trail isn't blazed here but it is still the White trail as it is marked at the head along Mountain Top Road (they claim there's parking here, I wouldn't as it just seems like a pull off and the local residents might think you're just abandoning your car and poking around in the area)   Back at the river, when you take Blue across Point Mtn Road, be careful, as of 2012, most of that loop of Blue is heavily overgrown, though the blazes still exist to show where the path goes. Maybe it's due to the fact so little people use it that nobody pays attention or the park system doesn't have the time/money to keep it up, i don't know, just I wouldn't hike that section of Blue if you hate thorny bushes and gnats.   It's a nice place to get a couple hours hike in during the week, you can do 6 miles, easily if you follow all the paths (Blue, Orange, White and Yellow exist now), there might be some backtracking though to get all of it in.

I hiked this trail on 8/10/2010

This is an overall nice trail, pretty easy to follow, the directions given were still accurate even though they were posted several years ago. The driveway REALLY looks like a house driveway, it is right before a stone house and it goes up and back away from the road where you can't see it, but don't be fooled-it is the correct parking area. The start of the hike is easy, actually all of it is easy until you cross the road into the 2nd parking lot and start to climb the mountain, then it gets difficult. Of course I picked a day that had a heat index of 102 degrees, so that could of had something to do with it. The river is beautiful, the trail is clearly marked and easy to follow and the view isn't bad either. Bring water, wear bug spray and boots and have fun!