Suffolk County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: April 2001
Author: Lanny Wexler

The highest point in Suffolk County is Jaynes Hill which is located at latitude 40 degrees 48 minutes 833 seconds north and longitude 73 degrees 25 minutes and 275 seconds west on the Topo USA 2.0. Jaynes Hill appears to be another name for High Hill which is in the exact same location as Jaynes Hill when you view the Topo USA 2.0 CD. Jaynes Hill is located in West Hills County Park in the West Hills section of the Town of Huntington, west of Route 110 and the nearby home of the poet Walt Whitman. During the winter there is a limited view through the trees to the southeast of Great South Bay. Jayne Hill and the surrounding West Hills were created by glacial moraine when the glaciers last visited Long Island.

To reach Jaynes Hill you leave Route 110 just south of the Walt Whitman Mall, proceed west on West Hills Road and where West Hills road turns right (north) you continue west and steeply uphill on Reservoir Road for about 0.5 mile before it dead ends. Before Reservoir Hill dead ends, just after it passes Ridge Rd, it to bears right (north). You leave your car and walk west and uphill on a wide dirt path. You go through an opening in a fence and pass the South Huntington Water District blue water tank and a chain link fence on your right. You very shortly see the large boulder and a park bench straight ahead which is at the summit of Jaynes Hill. This is all just a 2 minute walk from your car.

As a life long resident of Long Island, NY and only living about 6 miles from Jaynes Hill, I note that Suffolk County lists the elevation of Jaynes Hill at 401 feet. However when I check the USGS topo map the best I could find at Jaynes hill is a 380 foot contour line. With the highpoint in that contour line it could be anywhere from 380-399 feet. DeLorme's Topo USA 2.0 showed 386 feet. Now there is a large glacial erratic (boulder) at the high point which used to have a plaque mentioning this was the highest point on Long Island and the elevation is 401 feet. Unfortunately, as of my last visit the plaque was removed. One thing though could be that the people who listed the elevation could have measured from the top of the boulder which stands some 5 feet high above the ground. Now I'm just speculating that as a matter of local civic pride these people wanted to make Long Island seem higher than it was by using the boulder as an excuse to make the elevation over 400 feet.

While I was up there I determined the elevation was 390 feet according to my altimeter which measures in 10 foot increments. It seemed accurate because after I left the high point I immediately drove to a beach on Long Island Sound, some five miles to the north and got a reading of 0 feet.

It is officially recognized by Suffolk County as the highest point in Suffolk County and on Long Island and is marked by a large boulder and a plaque. The boulder is located just south of Reservoir Road which curiously is not shown by the DeLorme Topo USA 2.0 map. In fact the topo lines seem to descend going south from there. Only living a mere 6 miles from Jaynes Hill and having been a life long resident of this area I can say that DeLorme's map is in error. A small parking area for Jaynes Hill is located at the west end of Reservoir Road. Then you head south from the parking area for a short, steep climb to the summit of Jaynes Hill. However, DeLorme only shows this area as 355 feet and, in fact, Topo USA 2.0 shows the land decreasing in elevation as you walk south from the end of Reservoir Road instead of increasing.

The second highest point in Suffolk County, NY is very close in elevation and distance to Jaynes Hill. Just across Sweet Hollow Road immediately west of Jaynes Hill and on wooded private property (houses) at the highpoint, is another unnamed hill which on the USGS map is called the H.L Stimson Estate. It to has a 380 foot contour on it. Topo USA 2.0 showed 375 feet. The difference is that the Jaynes Hill has a number 10 triangle on it as shown on the USGS map. I still think it is the high point and the USGS seems to indicate so, and Suffolk County had it marked with a plaque that was unfortunately vandalized.

A third possible candidate is about a half mile to the west just to the west of Mt. Misery Road and north of High Hold Drive. The USGS map shows a 379 elevation, though Topo USA 2.0 showed 385 feet, which is some 16 feet shorter than Jaynes Hill. This one is probably the one shown in the County Highpointers Guidebook as being 1,000 feet west of High Hill.

Nevertheless, these three high points being in close proximity to one another and being close in elevation should be checked to ascertain for sure which is the true high point. I still believe it's Jaynes Hill but I'm not 100 percent sure now that I believe the 401 foot elevation was inflated; why else would the USGS show the 380 ft contour circle. Jaynes Hill is the only point of the three high points on public land.