Warren County High Point Trip Report

two points one mile west of Mount Vernon (1,600+ ft)

Date: November 16, 2001
Author: Michael Schwartz

The easy route from GPU Energy's pumped storage facility at the Yards Creek Reservoir has been closed to the public since 9/11/01, and the guard I spoke to was very emphatic about no exceptions being granted. I asked for the name of the facility manager and was told that the manager has been bombarded with requests for exceptions and has told his employees not to release his name or phone number.

New, legal approach: Take I-80 westbound and use the last exit in NJ, for Millbrook and Flatbrookville, just before the toll bridge into PA. From PA, take the first exit in NJ and backtrack about 1/2 mile, going under the bridge approach. Once on Old Mine Road, which runs along the Delaware River, reach a traffic light that controls one way traffic on the next 1/4 mile stretch. From this light, go 2.8 miles to the Worthington State Forest HQ, and pick up a useful map of the state forest. The folks there had no clue about the Warren County HP, thinking it was somewhere on the Appalachian Trail. Drive on to the 3.8-mile point and park at the Douglas parking lot, which has camping and rest room facilities.

Directly across Old Mine Road is the Douglas trailhead, which you do not want, and some 100 feet to the left along Old Mine Road, across a small bridge, is the orange blazed Garvey Springs Trail. Take this excellent trail, with a few jogs and junctions, to the mountain crest and a T-junction with the white blazed Appalachian Trail (AT). Go right on the southbound AT for a short distance to a left turn onto the Turquoise Trail, blazed in, you guessed it, turquoise. Sunfish Pond, a glacial lake that narrowly escaped becoming another pumped storage reservoir several years ago, is in plain view. There is a great lunch spot in full view of the pond along this stretch of the trail. The trail now climbs south from the pond, jogs and runs on a fire road for a short distance, then veers right onto a footpath. This drops about 200 feet into a ravine, crosses an almost invisible Dunnfield Creek, and climbs again to the southern edge of Kittatinny Mountain.

At a T-junction with a two track fire road, go left, with occasional views, and climb gradually NE near the edge of the ridge. You pass very near the southern high point, but save visiting it for the return. Do a little up and down, then descend to the jog in the reservoir fence described in previous reports where a faded wooden sign directs hikers along, but outside the fence line, toward the AT. Work along the fence line as best described by Dan Case, until you make a short, but significant climb. High ground is very near utility pole #NJ94YC, also numbered B72. Look for the boulder about 15 feet into the woods, which I have now marked with a small cairn. Bearings taken toward the reservoir spillway and the island in the reservoir verify this is the right place.

For the southern area, observe the ridge line to the southeast and see the bump nearer the reservoir, a dip, and then higher ground southwest of that bump. Backtrack to the fence corner, and head up the fire road from which you approached the reservoir. You will quickly reach the bump misidentified by me as the southern high point. This bump is to the left of the fire road and has two clumps of boulders on top. Drop down, then climb again to clearly higher ground. When the road crests, bushwhack right into very thick oak scrub, maybe 100 feet, to a flat knob. At the top, views start to open up to the northwest. Look for a bleached, branchless, dead tree trunk that is taller than the oak scrub, around which I tied some pink surveyor's ribbon. This entire route is on public property and never crosses the fence line onto restricted reservoir property. Total gain probably exceeds 1500 feet now, triple that of the old route. Trail map #15, South Kittatinny Trails, available from the NY-NJ Trail Conference is well worth buying, as very few of the trails show on the topo, and are not as clearly shown on the state forest map.

Times: Trailhead to the northern highpoint was 1 hour 45 minutes. 30 minutes back to southern point and complete the bushwhack. 1 hour 5 minutes from the southern point back to trailhead.

The entire area is open to hunters in season, and hikers should wear orange.