Iron Mines at Mount Hope
Directions to trailhead
Take I-80 to Exit 35 (eastbound) or Exit 35B (westbound) and proceed north on Mount Hope Avenue. In 0.5 mile, turn left onto Richard Mine Road. Continue for 0.7 mile and turn right onto Coburn Road (which becomes Teabo Road). The park entrance is 0.7 mile ahead on the left.
Mount Hope Historical Park was once a booming iron mining and processing site. It forms a part of the original Mount Hope Tract, first developed by John Jacob Faesch in 1772. Three separate veins of ore – each of which runs in a southwesterly-to-northeasterly direction – were mined on the property. The property was divided into three ownerships, which operated the Teabo, Allen, and Richard mines, respectively. Mining operations ended in 1958, and the park was opened in 1997. Second-growth woodlands have reforested the areas that once were cleared for mining operations.
From the trailhead at the east end of the parking area (at a kiosk and a sign for the “Richard Mine), follow an unmarked trail up a switchback. When you reach a trail junction under power lines, turn left onto the Red Loop Trail. After crossing a seasonal stream in a quarter mile, the pits of the Teabo #2 Mine – opened in the 1850s and abandoned by 1883 – may be seen on the left.
About 400 feet beyond the last mine pit, turn sharply right at a double blaze, leaving the mine road, and follow the Red Loop Trail in a counter-clockwise direction. This section of the trail departs from the main ore vein, so no mine pits are visible until a T-intersection is reached in another half a mile. Turn right here onto the Orange Loop Trail, which passes several small mine pits. In a quarter mile, you’ll reach a junction with the Green Trail. Turn right, continuing to follow the Orange Loop Trail as it heads northwest on a narrower woods road and soon begins to descend. Then, in 650 feet, you’ll come to a Y-intersection. The Blue Trail begins on the right, but you should bear left to continue on the Orange Loop Trail.
About 1.5 miles from the start of the hike, the trail curves sharply to the left. A short distance beyond, it passes the remnants of the Richard #6 Mine, opened in 1897. Several mine pits and stone foundations may be seen to the left of the trail. In another 500 feet, you’ll pass the site of the Richard #2 Mine – one of New Jersey’s most productive mines in the 1880s.
After crossing under power lines, follow the Orange Loop Trail as it bears left, leaving the wide woods road it has been following (the junction is marked by a double orange blaze and an arrow). The trail soon passes the stone-and-concrete foundations of several homes. Just beyond, the trail turns right under the power lines, then in 75 feet turns left onto a rocky woods road. After a short climb, the trail passes six shafts of the Allen Mine, first opened in the 1830s (the mine openings are atop a low ridge about 75 feet to the left of the trail).
Just beyond, you’ll reach a junction where the Orange Loop Trail turns left. Bear right, now following the Red Loop Trail, which passes several more trenches and mine pits of the Allen Mine on the left. Note the protruding iron bars, which were used to anchor machinery needed to operate the mines. One of the pits (the Smoke Stack Shaft) was excavated in the 1850s to provide ventilation for the Allen Tunnel, which extended south to Teabo Road (the tunnel is not visible from the trail). As the trail swings to the left, a huge pit of the Allen Mine may be seen on the right.
Just beyond, you’ll reach the start of the loop of the Red Loop Trail. Bear right and follow the Red Loop Trail back to the trail junction under the power lines, then turn right and continue to the parking area where the hike began.