Start off the hike with a little warm-up loop around an attractive pond, located in Washington Crossing State Park. Continue beyond the barrier at the parking area (not the end of the gravel road going into the park) and proceed between two ponds, a smaller one on the right, and a larger pond on the left. About ¾ of the way around the larger pond come out onto a field with a faint path that...
Start off the hike with a little warm-up loop around an attractive pond, located in Washington Crossing State Park. Continue beyond the barrier at the parking area (not the end of the gravel road going into the park) and proceed between two ponds, a smaller one on the right, and a larger pond on the left. About ¾ of the way around the larger pond come out onto a field with a faint path that leads to the right towards Church Road. Follow that path, cross Church Road and head into the Ted Stiles Preserve at Baldpate Mountain on a trail marked with red squares. Beware of posted hunting days as this are is sometimes closed for hunting except on Sundays.
In a quarter of a mile cross a footbridge over Fiddlers Creek and continue to the right following the creek as an unmarked trail to the left leads to a hunter’s blind. At the first intersection with an orange-blazed trail, keep following red. At the second intersection with orange, turn left on the orange trail and cross over an unmarked trail. At the next junction, turn right on the blue-blazed trail.
Be careful to follow the blue trail to the left when an unmarked trail goes straight. One mile into the hike, the blue trail ends at a power cut. Follow the trail in the power cut to the left, shown as an orange trail on the map but not actually blazed. The trail is easy to follow and ends in .2 mile at a large parking lot. Keep left through the lot towards the information board. Trails are not blazed in this area but take the trail to the right of the information board heading west. This will be a wide, easy trail along the ridge, blazed in white, although you will not see a blaze until .3 mile along when an orange trail leaves on your left. This orange trail will be the return route but for now stay on the white-blazed trail which will bring you to an abandoned farm.
As you approach the old farm buildings, an arrow appears to direct you to turn left into the farm area. You should, however, veer right as that arrow is for those coming in the opposite direction indicating that direction of travel on the trail. You may visit the farm area now but you will be walking directly through it later in the hike. The trail will now become paved for just a bit then gravel. Leave the gravel road and pick up the red-blazed trail to the right. This trail will take you downhill and back up again over 1.2 miles.
When the red trail appears to end at an intersection, turn left. The trail to the right is unmarked and is not on the map. It dead ends down the hill at a gate to a quarry. Just a few steps after turning left continue straight ahead when a yellow trail goes to the right.
At the next intersection, turn right on the white trail, the same white-blazed trail you were on earlier but the very end of it, bringing you to an open mountaintop meadow with views of the Delaware River to the south. Make your way across the meadow over to the paved road that runs through the former Kuser Estate (now a visitor center) between two split rail fences.
At the end of the paved road continue beyond the “no vehicles allowed” sign and follow the road as it veers left. Watch for a blue-blazed trail just around the bend and follow that trail to the right.
In .35 mile when you come to an arrow instructing you to make a sharp right turn to stay on the blue trail, turn left instead on a well-defined unmarked trail. In just a tenth of a mile, this trail brings you back to the abandoned farm with a small pond on your right. Proceed uphill between two brown buildings towards a while cinder block building up ahead, the first building you saw earlier in the hike at the confusing arrow. Just beyond this house turn right on white-blazed trail. You’ll now be repeating the white-blazed ridge trail in reverse until you reach the orange trail you noted earlier in the hike, now on your right.
Turn right on the orange trail. This trail will descend steeply downhill. Shortly after you pass the foundation of an old house with the fireplace and chimney still standing, stay on orange as blue goes left, then a short distance later, turn right on red. Stay on red now as you meet up with the section you hiked previously along Fiddlers Creek, then across the footbridge, then over the hill back to Church Road where you car awaits you on the other side of the road.
While in the area, you might want to drive a short distance to Goat Hill Overlook, a hike of under a mile with great views of the Delaware River.
Turn By Turn Description:
[ 0.00] Cross paved Church Road and take red trail into Ted Stiles Preserve
[ 0.25] Cross footbridge over creek, keep right along creek when an unmarked trail goes left
[ 0.40] Keep right on red when orange goes left
[ 0.50] Turn left on orange, cross over unmarked trail
[ 0.55] Turn right on blue
[ 0.70] Turn left on blue/red when red comes in from the right; right on blue when red leaves to left
[ 0.80] Keep left on blue when unmarked goes right
[ 1.00] Turn left at power cut on unmarked trail shown as orange on map
[ 1.20] Turn left in parking lot towards information board; take trail to right of information board (unmarked at this point but is the white trail)
[ 1.50] Keep straight when orange goes left; first white marker comes into view
[ 1.70] Keep straight on white when unmarked crosses over
[ 2.30] Keep right at abandoned farm buildings; trail becomes pavement briefly then gravel
[ 2.40] Turn right on red leaving gravel road
[ 2.60] Keep left on red when white goes right
[ 3.55] At T-intersection turn left (right not on map - dead ends at gated quarry); continue straight when yellow goes right; at T-intersection turn right on white
[ 3.65] Keep right through orchard at former Kuser estate towards split rail fence; turn left on paved road
[ 3.90] Go beyond "no vehicles allowed" sign, follow road to the left
[ 3.95] Turn right on the blue trail
[ 4.30] At arrow indicating sharp right turn on blue, turn left on an unmarked footpath
[ 4.40] Old abandoned farm buildings from earlier in the hike, pond on right, veer right uphill towards white building
[ 4.55] Turn right on path which is white trail (look behind you to see markers)
[ 5.10] Keep straight on white when unmarked crosses over
[ 5.35] Right on orange when white goes straight
[ 5.70] Pass chimney and fireplace ruins on right
[ 5.75] Keep left on orange when blue goes right
[ 5.80] Keep left on orange when unmarked goes right (not on map)
[ 6.05] Turn right on red
[ 6.15] Turn right on red/blue, stay left on red when blue leaves to the right
[ 6.20] Straight on red when orange goes left
[ 6.30] At multi-trail intersection, left on red/orange briefly, then keep right on red when orange goes straight
[ 6.55] Cross footbridge over creek
[ 6.75] Cross over paved Church Road and take path through field towards parking lot
[ 6.80] Parking lot at ponds
Hike along the ridge of Baldpate Mountain (former Kuser Mountain) passing old abandoned farm buildings and the former Kuser estate with mountaintop views of the Delaware River.
Whether you are going for a day hike or backpacking overnight, it is good practice to carry what we call The Hiking Essentials. These essentials will help you enjoy your outing more and will provide basic safety gear if needed. There may also be more essentials, depending on the season and your needs.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
Water - Two quarts per person is recommended in every season. Keep in mind that fluid loss is heightened in winter as well as summer. Don't put yourself in the position of having to end your hike early because you have run out of water.
Map - Know where you are and where you are going. Many of our hiking areas feature interconnecting network of trails. Use a waterproof/tear-resistant Tyvek Trail Conference map if available or enclose your map in a Ziplock plastic bag. If you have a mobile device, download Avenza’s free PDF Maps app and grab some GPS-enhanced Trail Conference maps (a backup Tyvek or paper version of the map is good to have just in case your batteries die or you don't have service). Check out some map-reading basics here.
Food - Snacks/lunch will keep you going as you burn energy walking or climbing. Nuts, seeds, and chocolate are favorites on the trail.
Sunscreen and insect repellent
Rain Gear and Extra Clothing - Rain happens. So does cold. Be prepared for changing weather. Avoid cotton--it traps water against your skin and is slow to dry. If you are wearing wet cotton and must return to your starting point, you risk getting chills that may lead to a dangerous hypothermia. Choose synthetic shirts, sweaters and/or vests and dress in layers for easy on and off.
Compass - A simple compass is all you need to orient you and your map to magnetic north.
Light - A flashlight or small, lightweight headlamp will be welcome gear if you find yourself still on the trail when darkness falls. Check the batteries before you start out and have extras in your pack.
First Aid Kit - Keep it simple, compact, and weatherproof. Know how to use the basic components.
Firestarter and Matches - In an emergency, you may need to keep yourself or someone else warm until help arrives. A firestarter (this could be as simple as leftover birthday candles that are kept inside a waterproof container) and matches (again, make sure to keep them in a waterproof container) could save a life.
Knife or Multi-tool - You may need to cut a piece of moleskin to put over a blister, repair a piece of broken equipment, or solve some other unexpected problem.
Emergency Numbers - Know the emergency numbers for the area you're going to and realize that in many locations--especially mountainous ones, your phone will not get reception.
Common Sense - Pay attention to your environment, your energy, and the condition of your companions. Has the weather turned rainy? Is daylight fading? Did you drink all your water? Did your companion fail to bring rain gear? Are you getting tired? Keep in mind that until you turn around you are (typically) only half-way to completing your hike--you must still get back to where you started from! (Exceptions are loop hikes.)
Check the weather forecast before you head out. Know the rules and regulations of the area.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles
- Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
- Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
- Repackage food to minimize waste.
- Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
- Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
- Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
- In popular areas:
- Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- In pristine areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
- Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
- Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
- Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
- Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
- Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
- Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
The Trail Conference is a 2015 Leave No Trace partner.
(c) Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org.