Assiniwikam Mountain Loop from Camp Wyanokie
Directions to trailhead
Take Skyline Drive to its northwestern end at Greenwood Lake Turnpike (County Route 511). Turn left and continue for 1.7 miles, then turn right onto West Brook Road and cross the Wanaque Reservoir on a causeway. Turn left at the next fork. In 0.5 mile, you will reach an intersection with Snake Den Road, which begins on the left. Do not turn left here. Continue for another 2.4 miles to a second intersection with Snake Den Road (marked by a large sign on the right, and shown on the Trail Conference map, but not on the sign, as "Snake Den Road West"). Turn left here onto Snake Den Road, immediately cross a bridge over a stream, and continue for 0.8 mile to Camp Wyanokie. Park in a small parking area on the right side of the road, just before reaching a water pump.
From the parking area, continue ahead on Snake Den Road, passing Boy Scout Lake on the left. You are following the red-on-white blazes of the Wyanokie Circular Trail, which continues through a residential area.
At the end of the residential area, follow the red-and-white blazes as they bear left, leaving the road, and continue on a footpath. Soon, the trail crosses a stream and begins to climb (if the water is high, it might be easier to cross the stream about 100 feet upstream). In a short distance, you’ll notice a triple-pink blaze on a tree to the left. This will be your return route, but for now, proceed ahead on the Wyanokie Circular Trail, which levels off, then bears left and continues to climb.
Near the top, the trail passes rock ledges on the left. About 200 feet beyond the ledges, you’ll come to a trail junction. On the right, a triple-yellow blaze marks the start of the Wyanokie Crest Trail; on the left, a triple-pink blaze marks the start of the Will Monroe Loop. This mile-long trail, blazed by Trail Conference volunteers in 2003-04, is named for Professor Will S. Monroe of the Montclair State Normal School (now Montclair State University), who laid out most of the trails in the Wyanokies in the 1920s.
Turn left and begin to follow the pink blazes. After a short climb to the crest of a rise, the trail turns right, descends into a shallow valley, then climbs to open rock ledges that offer limited views through the trees to the west and north. The trail bears right and continues along the ledges. Although this part of the hike is not particularly difficult, you’ll need to use your hands in a few places. Soon, you’ll come to another viewpoint – this one to the south – at a balanced rock..
After a short stretch in which the trail leaves the ledges, it turns left and begins to head north. Just beyond, you’ll notice a very distinct but unmarked side trail on the right. Turn right and follow this trail for about 150 feet to a spectacular east-facing viewpoint from a rock ledge. The Wanaque Reservoir is visible to the east, with Wyanokie High Point to its right, and Windbeam, Bear, Board and Horse Pond Mountains may be seen to the northeast. On a clear day, the New York City skyline is visible in the distance to the southeast.
After taking in the view, return to the marked trail and turn right. The trail climbs over rocks to the summit of Assiniwikam Mountain (1,200 feet), then reenters the woods and descends slightly. Soon, the trail reaches another ledge, with an interesting balanced boulder, that offers a limited east-facing view.
A short distance beyond, the trail leaves the rock ledges and begins to descend through the woods. Along the way, it passes huge boulders on the left. Of particular interest is a massive fractured boulder with a large tree growing out of a crack in the rock. The Will Monroe Loop continues to descend, rather steeply in places, until it ends at an intersection with the red-on-white blazed Wyanokie Circular Trail. Turn right and follow the Wyanokie Circular Trail for half a mile, retracing your steps to the parking area at Camp Wyanokie where the hike began.