Morris County High Point Trip Report

1 area in Mahlon Dickerson Reservation (1,395 ft)

Date: October 21, 2000
Author: Dan Case

Following Mike Schwartz's report, I did merely this point (the one previously known as "1 area, 1380+', 1000' southwest of spot elevation 1,388'." (Well, the trail passes right by spot 1,388', but I didn't bother with Bowling Green Mountain). I believe he and the county are correct about this area being the one true highpoint, and future visitors can skip the other two.

I followed Mike's directions, accurate as usual. Unlike him, though, I didn't feel the parking near the beginning of the yellow-blazed woods road was ample enough. So, consulting the park map, I went further on to the trailer area and found it to my liking. Near the split in the loop road and the rest rooms, a sign still indicates the Pine Swamp Trail's start even though it has been officially rerouted. I parked in one of the empty trailer slots (I suspect this explains the relocation) and headed along through woods bathed in the orange and gold of mid-autumn.

The trail, an old road, is still easy to follow and used even though the blazes have been painted out with a too-obvious gray. It dips down near a swamp, then up again to the junction Mike mentioned where the woods road he took, blazed with yellow mountain-biking disks, comes in from the left and a sign still points back to the trailer area.

From this direction, bear right and follow the white blazes plus aforementioned yellow disks and blue horse disks to the next fork, almost immediately, and bear left (do not follow the white-and-green blazed trail to the right - this is the rerouted Pine Swamp Trail).

With the leaves all or partially down, you'll be aware of a rise off to the west. The trail appears to head at first down and away from it, but then switches back after passing a big rock bluff and then goes up the hill with the highpoint on it.

It takes a couple of more switchbacks to get to the area with the sign and (Mike didn't mention this, but I love it) a somewhat dilapidated log bench on the other side of the trail. This is where to leave for the (obvious) true high ground. I thought I detected a faint animal use path as I made my way through the woods (now even more passable without the undergrowth) to a very visible five-foot high pointed glacial erratic to the southwest about 200 feet.

This isn't the highpoint boulder, but it's a nice landmark. When you get to it, you'll see the summit clearing at the west. Mike's split chestnut oak with the high rock, though, is not as obvious from this angle since you're looking at it in such a way that both trunks almost overlap and the tree is a little north of the apparent HP. If you still don't find it, go into the summit clearing (some dead logs) and look again. The cross he scratched is barely visible on the boulder - perhaps a register or cairn might be better?

The trip back to the car was as smooth and uneventful as the trip up. I would say this route adds a little distance (roughly 0.75 mile from where I parked) but might save some of the minimal vertical (about 200 ft max).