Know the New Hiking How-tos
Orchard/Pioneer Trails and Van Campens Glen Loop from Millbrook Village
Directions to trailhead
Take I-80 west to Exit 12 (Hope/Blairstown). At the bottom of the ramp, turn right and continue for 4.7 miles on County Route 521 north. When the road ends at a T-intersection with Route 94, turn left and continue for 0.2 mile to the next traffic light. Turn right at the light and proceed straight ahead (do not bear sharply right onto Route 521 north). At the top of the hill, turn sharply right, then make the first left onto Millbrook Road. Proceed for 7.0 miles to an intersection at Millbrook Village, turn right, and park in the parking area to the right.
Cross the road at the northern end of the parking area. On the opposite side, enter the woods at a sign for the Orchard Trail and follow this orange-blazed trail uphill, passing abandoned fields now starting to regenerate.
In 0.6 mile, the Orchard Trail ends at a junction with the Hamilton Ridge Trail. Turn left and follow the Hamilton Ridge Trail - a paved road, now closed to vehicular traffic and largely covered with moss - for 0.8 mile. As the road begins to descend, look carefully for a sign on the right, which marks the start of the orange-blazed Pioneer Trail.
Turn right onto the Pioneer Trail and follow the orange blazes downhill on an old woods road. In 0.1 mile, the trail turns right and continues on a footpath. Just beyond, an old stone limekiln may be seen about 50 feet to the right.
Soon, the trail turns sharply left and levels off, paralleling an old stone wall to the right. After a while, it resumes its descent and begins to parallel a ravine on the left. Near the base of the descent, it bears right, levels off, then turns left and continues to descend.
A mile from its start, the Pioneer Trail turns left and heads south along a bluff that overlooks the Delaware River below. It follows the crest of the bluff for a quarter mile, then swings left and climbs gradually on an old woods road, largely overgrown with vegetation (from here on, the trail is unmarked). After crossing under power lines, the road levels off and reaches a branch road that descends to the right. Continue straight ahead on a well-used gravel road, passing several abandoned farmhouses.
In two-thirds of a mile, where the Hamilton Ridge Trail comes in from the left, continue straight ahead on the gravel road. In another 500 feet, you'll notice a guardrail on the right side of the road. Just before the start of the guardrail, a path leads to the right. Follow this path a short distance to the historic Depue Cemetery, where some graves are over 200 years old.
Return to the road, turn right, and proceed a short distance to the paved Old Mine Road. Turn left and follow the road for 500 feet, then turn right into the Van Campens Glen Recreation Site. At the northwest corner of the parking area, turn left onto the yellow-blazed Van Campens Glen Trail. Note: As of May 2020, the southern end of the Van Campens Glen Trail is closed for repairs. Hikers should continue north on Old Mine Road for another mile, then turn right at the entrance to the parking area for the Upper Glen. Just beyond the bridge over the brook, bear left and continue north along the brook (directions for the hike continue in the second paragraph below).
The trail winds through the magnificent Van Campens Glen under towering hemlocks and past overhanging rhododendron. Use caution, as this trail section can be slippery when wet. In half a mile, you'll cross a footbridge over the brook, pass a scenic waterfall, and continue past more cascades.
When you reach the abandoned Cutoff Road, turn left and follow the road for about 500 feet. Just before a bridge over the brook, turn right and follow the trail along the brook. The terrain now becomes flatter, and the trail moves away from the brook. It soon returns to the brook, crosses an abandoned road and goes under power lines. It recrosses the brook on a footbridge and emerges at the grassy Watergate Picnic Area.
Proceed straight ahead through the grassy area, then bear right onto a gravel road that curves left and parallels the brook. Follow this road for half a mile, passing various historic buildings, to Millbrook Village, where the hike began.
To view a photo collection for this hike, click here.