Blue Dot/Red Dot Loop to Summit of Mount Tammany
Directions to trailhead
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.)
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.