Near the entrance to the parking area, you will see a sign for the Tammany Trail (also known as the Red Dot Trail). You will be taking this red-on-white-blazed trail all the way up Mount Tammany. Follow the trail up wooden steps and bear left when you reach junctions with several side trails that lead to another parking area. The trail briefly levels off on a wide path, but it soon reaches stone steps that mark the start of a rather steep climb. Passing through a dense forest of hemlocks and deciduous trees, the trail ascends steadily on a rocky footpath.
After climbing over rock outcrops, you’ll reach the first panoramic viewpoint, from open rocks just to the right of the trail. You can see up and down the Delaware River, with Arrow Island in the river to the left, and Mount Minsi directly across the river in Pennsylvania. You’ve climbed about 400 vertical feet to reach this point, and you’ll want to rest from the steep climb and take in the view.
When you’re ready to continue, follow the trail upwards on a more gradual grade through an open forest, with an understory of blueberries. In about 10 minutes, the trail bears right to cross a streambed (often dry), and the climb steepens. You’ll go up a set of rock steps and continue through a talus field. Just beyond, there is a short level stretch, but the steady climb soon resumes.
As you approach the top of the mountain, the grade moderates, and there are views through the trees to the right. Finally, you’ll reach the end of the Red Dot Trail, marked by a triple blaze. Turn right and follow a rock outcrop downhill for about 100 feet to another panoramic viewpoint over the Delaware River and Mount Minsi, with the rolling hills of Pennsylvania in the background. You’ve now climbed nearly 1,200 vertical feet, and you’ll want to take another break here.
After you’ve rested from the climb, retrace your steps to the trail. Just ahead, you’ll see a triple-blue blaze that marks the start of the Blue Dot Trail. Follow this trail, which heads northeast along the ridge of Mount Tammany on a rocky but relatively level path. In a quarter mile, it turns sharply left at a wooden sign for the “Blue Trail” and soon begins a rather steep descent on a rocky, eroded woods road. After a while, the descent moderates somewhat, but the road remains quite rocky for most of the descent. Towards the base of the descent, sections of the trail have been relocated off the eroded road and onto a parallel footpath.
A little over a mile from the summit, you’ll arrive at a junction with the green-blazed Dunnfield Creek Trail. Turn left and follow the joint blue and green blazes, which follow a wide path parallel to Dunnfield Creek. Just ahead, you’ll notice an open area with a bench that overlooks an attractive waterfall on the right. Continue ahead a short distance until you reach a wooden footbridge that spans the creek. Here, a short unmarked trail on the right leads to the base of the waterfall (if it’s hot out, you might want to dip your feet in the water!). This is another good spot to take a break.
When you’re ready to continue, cross the footbridge and continue along the trail, which parallels the creek on a wide path. This is the most scenic portion of the hike, as you pass through the narrow gorge of Dunnfield Creek, studded with rhododendrons, with the waters of the cascading creek below to your left.
In another quarter mile, the Blue Dot and Dunnfield Creek Trails end, and you continue ahead along the creek, now following the white-blazed Appalachian Trail. Soon, the trail bears left, leaving the wide path, and crosses Dunnfield Creek on a steel bridge with a wooden deck. Just ahead, you’ll reach the parking area where the hike began.
To view a photo collection for this hike, click here.
Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazinon 07/29/2005updated/verified on 08/22/2011
This loop hike steeply climbs Mount Tammany, with panoramic views, and follows scenic Dunnfield Creek.
Near the entrance to the parking area, you will see a sign for the Tammany Trail (also known as the Red Dot...
Whether you are going for a day hike or backpacking overnight, it is good practice to carry what we call The Hiking Essentials. These essentials will help you enjoy your outing more and will provide basic safety gear if needed. There may also be more essentials, depending on the season and your needs.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
Water - Two quarts per person is recommended in every season. Keep in mind that fluid loss is heightened in winter as well as summer. Don't put yourself in the position of having to end your hike early because you have run out of water.
Map - Know where you are and where you are going. Many of our hiking areas feature interconnecting network of trails. Use a waterproof/tear-resistant Tyvek Trail Conference map if available or enclose your map in a Ziplock plastic bag. If you have a mobile device, download Avenza’s free PDF Maps app and grab some GPS-enhanced Trail Conference maps (a backup Tyvek or paper version of the map is good to have just in case your batteries die or you don't have service). Check out some map-reading basics here.
Food - Snacks/lunch will keep you going as you burn energy walking or climbing. Nuts, seeds, and chocolate are favorites on the trail.
Sunscreen and insect repellent
Rain Gear and Extra Clothing - Rain happens. So does cold. Be prepared for changing weather. Avoid cotton--it traps water against your skin and is slow to dry. If you are wearing wet cotton and must return to your starting point, you risk getting chills that may lead to a dangerous hypothermia. Choose synthetic shirts, sweaters and/or vests and dress in layers for easy on and off.
Compass - A simple compass is all you need to orient you and your map to magnetic north.
Light - A flashlight or small, lightweight headlamp will be welcome gear if you find yourself still on the trail when darkness falls. Check the batteries before you start out and have extras in your pack.
First Aid Kit - Keep it simple, compact, and weatherproof. Know how to use the basic components.
Firestarter and Matches - In an emergency, you may need to keep yourself or someone else warm until help arrives. A firestarter (this could be as simple as leftover birthday candles that are kept inside a waterproof container) and matches (again, make sure to keep them in a waterproof container) could save a life.
Knife or Multi-tool - You may need to cut a piece of moleskin to put over a blister, repair a piece of broken equipment, or solve some other unexpected problem.
Emergency Numbers - Know the emergency numbers for the area you're going to and realize that in many locations--especially mountainous ones, your phone will not get reception.
Common Sense - Pay attention to your environment, your energy, and the condition of your companions. Has the weather turned rainy? Is daylight fading? Did you drink all your water? Did your companion fail to bring rain gear? Are you getting tired? Keep in mind that until you turn around you are (typically) only half-way to completing your hike--you must still get back to where you started from! (Exceptions are loop hikes.)
Check the weather forecast before you head out. Know the rules and regulations of the area.
Take Interstate Route 80 west towards the Delaware Water Gap. Immediately beyond milepost 1, take the exit for "Dunnfield Creek/Appalachian Trail” and bear left at the fork. Continue past the underpass to the left and turn right into a parking area at signs with "P" and "hiker" symbols. (If you miss the exit from Route 80, take Exit 1, turn left at the end of the ramp, and continue on the service road parallel to Route 80 past the visitor center. Turn left at the underpass, go under Route 80, turn left again, and turn right at signs with "P" and "hiker" symbols.)
Hiked Mt. Tammany for the first time this early morning/late afternoon. Although it wasn't difficult to navigate through, the description to this hike is very much accurate and super helpful. I did this hike in about 3 hours. Not much foot traffic on a Wednesday which was nice for some much needed solitude. The weather was partly cloudy/mostly sunny with a high of 50 degrees. The view was spectacular! Once descending down the blue trail, a small sheet of ice/snow covered most of the trail with a whole lot of rocks peeping through. I actually broke out my microspikes and going down was breeze. The waterfall, bridge, and hiking along Dunnfield Creek was a great way to end a moderate to strenuous hike. It was like looking at a Bob Ross painting! Definitely a go to hike!
September 11, 2016
Did this hike yesterday (9/10/16), although the temperature and humidity were way up there, so it was a good thing that I had lots of water with me. This was a weekend, so there were a ton of people on the trail (shades of Breakneck Ridge on a weekend!). As noted, it's a steep climb, but no rock-scrambling, unless you count the talus slope part of it. The only addition I'd make to Mr. Chazin's description is that there are two different spots near the top of Mt. Tammany with good views, not just the one that he mentions, which is just a few yards before the end of the Red-Dot Trail. The other is about 0.06miles earlier/lower, where there is a rocky clearing, and you have to go downhill to the right of the blazed trail about 0.03miles. Both have good, but different views, with the one at the top giving a more unobstructed view of Mt. Kinsi. I went up Mt. Kinsi a couple of weeks ago, and I found the views from Mt. Tammany better.
June 30, 2016
Red Dot Trail
Hiked Mt. Tammany yesterday early morning. We did see a black bear cub near the first scenic lookout, about a 1/2 mile in. Just a reminder to play it safe on the trails. Instagram selfies with a bear in the background may get you likes, but it is not safe. This comment is just a reminder to educate yourselves on what to do if you see a bear.