Warren County High Point Trip Report

2 points 1 mile west of Mount Vernon (1600+ ft)

Date: June 15, 2000 (revisit)
Author: Michael Schwartz

This was my first visit since the 1980s. The two high points are located within the property of the Yards Creek pumped storage reservoir. At night, when electricity demand is low, water is pumped from the lower reservoir up to the higher reservoir on the mountain top. During the day, water is released downhill and generates hydroelectric power when it is most needed.

Visitors are welcome to hike the property. To reach the area, drive about six miles northeast on NJ 94 from I-80. A large sign, "Yards Creek Pumped Storage Generating Station--entrance 3 miles," directs you onto Walnut Valley Road. Reach a gatehouse at 2.3 miles, and check in with the guard. The area is open to cars from 8-8 daily, and from 8-5 in winter. One could walk in from below the gate at other hours, but the guard advised that cars will be locked in after hours. Drive to the upper parking lot at a picnic area, and hike up the paved road. Just before it ends at the reservoir fence, bear left onto a dirt road that runs below the berm. This road eventually climbs to the level of the reservoir and passes a corner of the fence, where a sign directs hikers along the fence line toward the Appalachian Trail. At this point, instead, take a grassy trail away from the reservoir toward the southerly of the two high points. High ground is reached quickly to the left of the trail. Backtrack to the fence corner and follow the fence line left until a substantial rise leads to the northerly point, which is very close the fence line. The vegetation here consists of head-high laurel and oak scrub, making for difficult bushwhacking. Mercifully, both points are near trails.