ApproachThe Main entrance of Stoke State Forrest is on US Route 206 in Sussex County New Jersey. The Two main trail heads for Culver Ridge are the Appalachian Trail Parking Lot and the Stony Lake Day Use Area Parking Lot
To get to Stokes State Forest from I-80 take exit 25 and follow signs for 206 North
Follow 206 North through Andover, Newton, and Branchville.
Once you cross through Culver's Gap, follow signs for Stokes State Forrest Entrance. The Address is:
1 Coursen Road
Branchville, NJ 07826
Directions for Stony Lake Day Use Area Parking Lot:
Form the Main office of Stokes State Forest, proceed straight through a 4-way intersection and drive about 2 1/2 miles to a t-interection. Turn right. This road ends at the Stony Lake Day Use Area Parking Lot. The trails start near the parking lot entrance.
The Station Trail is a loop trail that connects 4 major trails in Stokes State Forest. To reach the Tower Trail follow the Station Trail away from the parking lot.
At 0.1 miles the Swenson Trail splits off to the left, continue straight.
At 0.2 miles the Station Trail splits to form a loop with its self take the trail to the right.
At 0.5 miles the Tower Trail starts on the right.
Route DescriptionSoon after starting on the Tower Trail crosses Stony Brook. There is no bridge over Stony Brook and crossing it can be hard in times of high water.
The portion of Tower Trail between the Station Trail and Sunrise Mountain Road In very gentle. It gains about 200 ft in a little less than a mile. Like most trails in this section of New Jersey, it is very rocky.
The easy part of the trail ends once you cross Sunrise Mtn. Road. The grade gets steeper and the trail is just as rocky.
The steepest climbing comes when the trail gains 150 ft in 0.15 miles. There are some short rock scrambles that are required in this section. These scrambles have very, very little exposure.
The trail blazes can be hard to follow near the top of the ridge because the blazes are very spaced out.
The trail ends near a trail register, which is in need of some repair. The tower is 200 ft to your right along the Appalachian Trail.
Essential GearBasic dayhike gear is all that is required for Tower Trail.
In Winter And SummerWinter:
The rock scrambles on the Tower Trail can be very dangerous in winter if snow is covering the rocks. Boots that have very good grip on wet rock are necessary. I do not think that in-step crampons would help very much. Careful placement of steps is the only way to prevent a fall off the 10-15 ft. cliffs that are along the steep section of Tower Trail.
To avoid the fee of parking at Stony lake you can park on Sunrise Mtn. Road where it crosses the Tower Trail.It makes the hike shorter and cheaper. You must; however, park on the RIGHT side of the road .