Deer Park Trail to Deer Park Pond
Directions to trailhead
Take I-80 West to Exit 19 (Hackettstown/Allamuchy/Andover). Turn left at the bottom of the ramp and continue south on County Route 517 for 2.1 miles to Deer Park Road (there is a brick house on the left at this intersection). Turn left onto Deer Park Road and continue for 0.7 mile to a parking area at the entrance to the park.
This hike traverses the Allamuchy Natural Area of Allamuchy State Park, following old woods roads with gentle grades. The area was once part of a private game preserve on which deer were introduced (hence the name Deer Park). The trails used by this hike are open to mountain bikes and are maintained by the Chain Gang Mountain Bike Club. Trails are blazed with painted metal markers, but some old paint blazes remain. You should follow the new metal markers and ignore the old paint blazes.
To begin the hike, find a sign for the Deer Park Trail at the end of a grassy clearing on the side of the parking area opposite the kiosk. Follow the white-blazed Deer Park Trail into the woods, immediately crossing a concrete bridge over the outlet of a small pond to the right of the trail. A short distance beyond, there is an interesting large red oak tree, with five trunks, about 50 feet to the right of the trail. Along this section of the trail, you will see some old yellow trail blazes, which you should ignore.
The trail climbs gently to the crest of a hill, crossing under two power lines along the way. It passes an open field to the left and bends to the right, continuing through an area with a dense understory. Soon, you'll reach a junction with the yellow-blazed Birch Trail, which begins to the right. You should bear left to continue along the white-blazed Deer Park Trail. In the next section of the trail, you'll pass a large rock outcrop to the right and, some distance beyond, parallel a large stone wall to the left. There are some old red paint blazes along the trail in this section (which should be disregarded).
In half a mile, you'll come to a T-intersection with a woods road. You should turn left, continuing along the white trail. The red-blazed Barberry Trail begins to the right in another third of a mile, but you should continue ahead, remaining on the white trail. Soon, you'll pass a knoll to the right that is the highest point in this section of Allamuchy Mountain State Park (but offers no views).
Nearly a mile after the intersection with the Barberry Trail, you'll pass to the left of a huge boulder. Here, the trail climbs briefly on a rocky footpath and then descends slightly. A short distance beyond, you'll notice an unmarked path that goes off to the left, passing through a gap in a chain-link fence. Follow this path, which leads in about 500 feet to a rest area and overlook off of the eastbound lanes of I-80. Although you'll have to share this spot with motorists from the Interstate highway, it offers a panoramic west-facing view over the Delaware Water Gap and is well worth the short detour.
After taking in the view, return to the white trail and turn left. The trail soon curves to the right, heading away from the sounds of I-80. In another quarter of a mile, you'll come a T-intersection where you turn right to continue on the white trail. Soon, the trail begins a steady descent on a rocky treadway. After crossing a stream, you'll reach a Y-intersection. Here, the white trail takes the left fork, but you should bear right and continue on the blue-blazed Lakeview Trail, which begins here.
The Lakeview Trail soon descends to reach another woods road near the shore of Deer Park Pond. From this junction, you will be heading right (west) on the red-blazed Barberry Trail. But you'll first want to stop at a viewpoint over the pond. So turn left at the junction, then almost immediately turn right and follow an unmarked path down to the shore of the pond. This is a good place to take a break.
After enjoying the view over the pond, return to the main trail, turn left, and continue ahead on the red-blazed Barberry Trail, which heads west along the shore of the pond. You'll cross Deer Park Pond's inlet stream (with a small pond to the left) and begin to closely follow the shoreline. Deer Park Pond is the site of much beaver activity, and you should be able to notice several beaver lodges in the pond.
At the end of the pond, the trail begins to head uphill, and it soon reaches a junction with the white-blazed Deer Park Trail. Turn left onto the white trail, which you will follow back to the parking area where the hike began, retracing your steps for a mile and a half. Be sure to turn right at the first junction you reach, in a third of a mile, then bear right at the next junction, where the yellow-blazed Birch Trail begins.