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, climb stone steps, and follow this orange-blazed trail uphill on a moss-covered woods road, passing abandoned fields now starting to regenerate.
In 0.6 mile, after paralleling a wide stone wall on the right, 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, lined with hemlocks and pines and largely covered with moss - for 0.7 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, the Hamilton Ridge Trail comes in from the left. Continue straight ahead on the gravel road for another quarter mile until you reach the paved Old Mine Road. Turn left and follow the road for 400 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.
The trail winds through the magnificent Van Campens Glen under towering hemlocks and past rhododendron overhanging the brook. Along the way, you'll climb rock and wood steps and pass several beautiful cascades. Use caution, as this trail section is often wet, and the rocks, logs and tree roots can be slippery. In half a mile, after a flat section along the brook, you'll cross a footbridge over the brook, pass a scenic waterfall, and continue past more cascades.
The yellow-blazed trail ends at the abandoned Cutoff Road. Turn left and follow the paved road for about 300 feet. Just before a bridge over the brook, turn sharply right and continue on a level footpath that bears left and heads north, parallel to but some distance away from the brook. The trail soon returns to run alongside the brook, passing through tunnels of young hemlock. When you reach an abandoned paved road, turn left, cross a wide wooden bridge over the brook, and continue to Old Mine Road.
Turn right and follow the road north for about 500 feet. At stone gateposts with the inscription "Water Gate," turn right, go around the gate, and continue along a dam. At the end of the dam, continue ahead through the Watergate Picnic Area, then bear right onto a grassy road that curves left and parallels the brook. Follow this road along the brook, bearing right at each fork. After passing the old Millbrook Schoolhouse and other historic buildings, you'll reach the paved road at Millbrook Village. Turn left and follow the road to the parking area where the hike began.
To view a photo collection for this hike, click here.