Remember: The safest place right now is at home.
June 12, 2017
Great hike, great directions
Hiked on 2017-06-10 following Daniel's excellent (accurate, helpful) directions. Park staff was friendly. Trails, blazes are all well-maintained. Recommend visiting the fire tower. Watch out for ticks.
September 01, 2016
Hike description has been updated
Thank you very much for posting your comment. I have just updated the hike description to include the new blue-on-white-blazed Blue Mountain Loop Trail, which was blazed in 2015. As for the Trail Conference map, we are about to come out with a new edition of our Kittatinny Trails map set that corrects the various errors that you mention.
August 31, 2016
variety is the spice of the hike
Did the hike today (8/31/16). If you're looking for a hike with variety, this is for you! The part north of Sunrise Mtn Road is quite level, leaving you with a peaceful walk through a pleasant woods landscape. Going up the the ridge on the Cartwright Trail is what I would call a moderate climb. (The westward views on this section, indicated on the NY/NJ Trail Conference map 122, are pretty blah.) Note that the initial part of the hike (Swenson, and then Cartwright Trails) are now co-aligned with the Blue Mountain Loop. Not mentioned in Mr. Chazin's excellent writeup, is that the Blue Mountain Loop doesn't (or at least no longer) goes all the way up to meet the AT. At N 41º13'24.4" W 074º43'03.8", there is an intersection, with the blue-blazed Blue Mountain Loop going left to ???. You stay straight on the Cartwright Trail, which now has its brown-red blazes combined with blue blazes with the black dot in the center. The AT section is mostly quite level. The viewpoint to the SE (incorrectly indicated on the Trail Conference map; it's really about 0.07 miles further SW than the map shows it) is really quite stupendous. As Mr. Chazin points out, the viewpoint from the CCC pavilion is not as good. The view from the tower near the intersection of the AT and the Tower Trail is probably quite spectacular during the autumn. As indicated in the writeup, the first 0.2 miles of the descent on the Tower Trail is quite steep (with several rock-scamble sections), so take it slow. A final note: As you approach Stony Lake on the Tower Trail, there appears to be a mistake on the Trail Conference map (2012 edition), which shows 2 parallel trails after the sharp left turn at N41º12'14.3" W074º45'56.3", whereas, in reality, both the Tower (G) and Stony Brook Trail (Br) are co-aligned on the more southerly of the 2 trails shown on the map.
July 02, 2016
I did this hike this morning; was beautiful, and directions were easy to follow! Even though a holiday weekend, the trails from and to Stony Lake were empty - except me, which is why I like to start early (7am). Saw many hikers on the AT of course. The views are spectacular, especially those looking to the west. Tower Trail is the strenuous part, especially if you were to go up that way (I came down Tower Trail, according to directions here). Thank you for this amazing trail resource! I've been following your directions here for the past 6 years since moving to NJ.
August 26, 2015
Nice hike !
Did this hike on 8/23/15 and loved it. The views to the west are as pristine and vast as any. Not a road or a structure to defile the landscape as far as rhe eye can see. The Swensen Trail is well maintained and wide enough for use by ATVs ( not that I saw any). There are some rocky sections but its mostly gentle grade changes. The Cartwright Trail is where you will encounter some uphill hiking...if you don't miss the turn off like I did. The trail marker had been bent in half and the triple blaze was off to the right. I wound up at Croger Rd and added an extra mile or so after back tracking to the Cartwright trail. The AT was a rockier endevour than the Swansen trail and I did not enjoy the eastern views as much as the western ones . It is not as pristine. I had been taking my time and it was a hot day, so I took the Stoney Brook Trail as my return route forsaking the tower views. If I had not had to back track, I would not have encountered a soul along the Swanson Trail and then it was only one lone hiker. It's when I hit the AT that I ran into people at the parking area and Pavillion but no one after that all the way back to the start.
August 19, 2014
I've done this hike a bunch of times as my son attends an outdoor activity nearby. Typically I enter at the Tinsley Trail near the School of Conservation (adds 1 1/2 miles to the hike and no charge for parking). There are a lot of positives about this hike. It's challenging in sections though not really difficult. 2 real steep areas on the Cartwright and Tower trails. Expect to not see many people except during the AT section. Wear bright colors if you go out in winter as there's hunting in this area part of the year.