Highlands/Roomy Mine Trails Loop from West Brook Road
Directions to trailhead
Take Skyline Drive to its northwestern end at Greenwood Lake Turnpike (County Route 511). Turn left and proceed south for 1.6 miles to West Brook Road. Turn right onto West Brook Road and cross the Wanaque Reservoir on a causeway. At the next T-junction, turn left and continue for 0.4 mile to Townsend Road. Turn left onto Townsend Road and proceed for about 500 feet to a small parking turnout on the right side of the road, opposite a house. Park here.
Just north of the parking turnout, you’ll notice a "no hunting or trespassing" sign. Follow the Highlands Trail into the woods. The trail climbs steadily on a footpath.
Near the top of the climb, the orange-blazed Roomy Mine Trail begins on the right. This will be your return route, but for now, continue ahead on the teal-diamond-blazed Highlands Trail, which ascends to a high point, marked by a balanced boulder. The trail descends a little and continues for about half a mile over undulating terrain, with many short ups and downs. This trail section is particularly scenic, featuring varied and interesting terrain and vegetation, passing many glacial erratics and crossing a number of rock ledges.
After reaching a long, flat balanced rock, the Highlands Trail begins to descend. It climbs a little to cross an open rock ledge, then descends steadily. At the base of the descent (after passing a pile of mine tailings on the left), it reaches a junction with the red-on-white-blazed Wyanokie Circular Trail and the yellow-on-white-blazed Mine Trail. Turn left for 150 feet (do not cross the footbridge), and you’ll come to the Blue Mine, filled with muddy water. This mine, named for the dark blue color of its ore, was discovered by Peter Hasenclever about 1765 and was worked extensively in the 1800s. A large concrete pad at the entrance to the mine, with protruding iron rods, once served as a base for steam-operated equipment.
Retrace your steps to the joint Wyanokie Circular/Mine Trails and proceed north (again, do not cross the footbridge). Continue past the junction with the Highlands Trail, following the red-on-white and yellow-on-white blazes along a rocky woods road. In another 200 feet, bear left at the fork and cross a small stream on rocks. When the yellow-on-white blazes diverge to the right, continue to follow the red-on-white blazes of the Wyanokie Circular Trail.
In about 600 feet, you’ll notice three orange blazes on a tree to the right, which mark the start of the Roomy Mine Trail. Turn right and follow this trail, which climbs gradually. In another 500 feet, you’ll come to the main opening of the Roomy Mine (on the hillside, to the left of the trail). Named for Benjamin Roome, a local land surveyor, the mine was opened shortly after 1840 and worked until 1857. The mine shaft, which can be entered, extends about 60 feet into the hillside (the mine is closed from September 15 to April 15 to protect hibernating bats).
Continue ahead on the orange-blazed Roomy Mine Trail, which descends slightly. In 200 feet, the Roomy Mine Trail turns left, joining the yellow-on-white-blazed Mine Trail. Both trails head uphill to a south-facing viewpoint from a rock ledge over Wyanokie High Point and Carris Hill, with the Wanaque Reservoir visible to the left through the trees. Here, the trails turn sharply left, climb to another rock ledge, then continue north along the ridge, passing an open cut of the Roomy Mine on the right. Just beyond, you’ll reach an open area, with west-facing views over Wyanokie High Point, Assiniwikam Mountain and Saddle Mountain.
After passing another mine opening (with a large pile of tailings) on the left, the two trails diverge. Continue to follow the Roomy Mine Trail, which turns right and descends, first on switchbacks and rock steps, then more gradually. After crossing a stream on rocks and then a woods road, the Roomy Mine Trail climbs slightly to end at a junction with the teal-diamond-blazed Highlands Trail.
Turn left onto the Highlands Trail and follow it downhill to Townsend Road, where the hike began.