Sussex County High Point Trip Report

High Point 1,803 ft (also NJ state highpoint)

Date: April 16, 2000
Author: Dan Case

OK, I'm embarrassed about this one. I grew up in NJ, yet never visited it until well after I moved out of state. I drove almost all the way to the top when I meant to hike it (well, I still could). But mainly, I wasn't even planning to do a CHP, much less an easy choice like this one.

On the other hand, I at least extended my glob into another state. That came about because I drove over there (thanks to I-84, it's about a half-hour away from where I live) and meandered up NJ 23 figuring mainly on scouting it out ... I had believed that it cost you money to drive into the park.

My original intent had been to gain a better appreciation of this by hiking up the AT and Monument trails from Mountain Road, a mile south of the state line. And even from the park entrance, I scouted out the shorter stretch of AT that runs very close to the summit. But then I took an exploratory spin up the entryway, figuring I'd turn around when I was asked to pay. But the gates were opened, the booths were shut, and by following the signs to "Monument" I ended up parked a hundred feet away from the big obelisk visible for some distance away (as far as some areas of Newburgh).

I cringed as I passed a couple of guys with full packs and told them that's how I should have gotten here. Making conversation with them, I learned that they had parked near Marcia Lake and just walked the trail system in the area, ending up here.

At the highest natural point, there is a sort of above-treeline feel as the scrubby vegetation gives way to nearly bare rock. There are views in all directions, but it was somewhat limited by that day's hazy weather. Nonetheless, some directions were impressive.

The farms and fields of the upper Wallkill Valley stood out clearly ("upper" being sort of funny as, some distance to the north, I can watch the lower Wallkill tumble over a dam as I type). The Delaware-Neversink confluence and the cities of Port Jervis and Matamoras were all sprawled out to the northwest, and most striking was the long ridgeline that is Kittatinny in NJ and Shawangunk in NY.

Showers to the north prevented any view of the Catskills, Mohonk or Schunemunk, however. But I'll go back with a camera on the next beautifully clear day that I can. Even (or especially if) I have to hike it.